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Volume :26 Issue : 101 2008      Add To Cart                                                                    Download

Ethnic Mother-Tongue Maintenance Among Arabic-Speaking Immigrants in New Zealand

Auther : Morad A. Al-Sahafi, Gary Barkhuizen

Maintenance of the ethnic mother tongue represents one of the major challenges faced by immigrant minority groups in their host country. This paper reports on a study which investigated patterns of language maintenance and shift among Arabic-speaking immigrants living in Auckland, New Zealand. The focus is on the participants’ reported levels of language proficiency, patterns of language use in a range of contexts, and attitudes towards Arabic (L1) and English (L2). Data were collected from the participants (N = 63) by means of a self-report questionnaire and semi-structured interviews. The findings show that although the participants rated their proficiency in Arabic and English highly, younger respondents (under 35) were less confident in their Arabic skills, particularly in the areas of reading and writing. Arabic is reported to enjoy a high frequency use in such private domains as the home and religion whereas English is more widely used in the public domain. With respect to language attitudes, the respondents reported high positive attitudes towards both Arabic and English. Based on the findings, a number of factors influencing Arabic maintenance in the context of Auckland are discussed.

 

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