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Linguists: Arabs have Abandoned their Mother Tongue | ASHARQ AL-AWSAT English Archive 2005 -2017
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Cairo – In its 2012’s session, UNESCO’s Executive Council decided to dedicate the 18th of December as a World Arabic Language Day, selected to correspond with the day on which the U.N. General Assembly decided to include the Arabic language as one of its official languages in 1973.

What are the obstacles facing the Arabic language? Did the scientific term become part of the Arabic language? Which role can be played by dictionaries to protect this language? Why don’t we have a modern dictionary like the French Larousse or the British Oxford?

Why did Arabs abandon their mother language to use others languages as English? Linguists have sought to answer many questions regarding the Arabic Language and the challenges and problems facing it.

The Academy of the Arabic Language in Cairo will celebrate this day on the 19th of December to focus on many subjects like the adoption of a new law to protect the Arabic language in Egypt. This Academy was established on the 13 of December 1932 in Cairo during the era of King Fouad and started its work in 1934; its establishment’s decree stipulated that the academy should include 20 members of professors known with their expertise in the language – ten of them should be Egyptian along with ten others from Arabs and Orientalists; Taha Hussein was among the members of the academy.

Speaking about the importance of this day, Dr. Ahmad Foad Basha, member of the Academy said that the main problem is not in the language but in its speakers; according to Basha, this decent language has been the language of Quran and the base of the Arabic civilization, which flourished with science and art then witnessed a significant deterioration.

He added that the Arabic language is an incubator for innovations and that Arabs can recall their civilization through this language and not another. Basha sees that the retrogression of the language was caused by the plurality of education systems among private, governmental, and international schools where they speak foreign languages; in this concern, the academy member blamed foreign educational institutions in Egypt for neglecting Arabic despite that the Arabic language tops the local universities’ requirements.

He also considered that the media’s neglect for the mother language and officials’ speeches addressed in foreign languages were also one of the main reasons behind this deterioration.

As per solutions, Basha said that a sovereign decision from the government is needed to urge people to stick to the Arabic language in universities, schools, and institutes even in scientific materials and majors, because teaching sciences in foreign languages has unfortunately negatively impacted the language.

Dr. Mohammad Shafiddine, also member of the academy said that the cultural colonialism and the adoption of western approaches led the new generations to denounce their mother tongue and to neglect its sciences.

It is worth noting that the Academy of the Arabic Language in Cairo holds an annual 15 days-meeting to discuss research papers featuring all language-related issues and to adopt those which will be taught and distributed all over the year.