3arabizi - When Local Arabic Meets Global English

Authors

  • Robert Michael BIANCHI Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.4312/ala.2.1.89-100

Keywords:

Arabic, English, script, CMC, globalization

Abstract

Arabic is the official language of Jordan. Yet, English is a language of prestige among many upwardly mobile Jordanians. Sakarna (2006) dubs a hybrid language comprised of a mixture of these two languages “Englo-Arabic”. In online contexts, a similar hybrid language has emerged. Often popularly labeled “3arabizi” or “Arabish”, a blended word based on the words “Arabic” and “English”, this mixed code is the most commonly encountered form of language for composing forum messages on the popular Jordanian website, Mahjoob.com (http://www.mahjoob.com). The most striking feature of 3arabizi is that it is written in Latin script and uses arithmographemics i.e. numbers as letters to represent Arabic sounds that do not occur in English. This article presents the key orthographical features of 3arabizi and discusses its topical occurrence when compared to both Arabic and English as observable within a purposive sample of web forum messages collected from Mahjoob.com.

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Author Biography

Robert Michael BIANCHI, Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar

Robert Bianchi holds a PhD from Lancaster University in Applied Linguistics. He is an assistant professor in the English Department at Virginia Commonwealth University in Qatar, where he teaches literature, freshman composition, and discourse analysis. He has been teaching for over 20 years. An avid language learner, Robert has varying degrees of proficiency in some 15 languages. His research interests include bilingualism, code-switching, script-switching, diglossia, and identity-related language use. Robert is particularly interested in localized linguistic responses to globalization, especially the emergence of mixed codes in online contexts. He has lived in both East Asia (Japan) and West Asia (Oman, UAE, and Qatar) and has visited many spots in between.

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Published

22.05.2012

How to Cite

BIANCHI, R. M. (2012). 3arabizi - When Local Arabic Meets Global English. Acta Linguistica Asiatica, 2(1), 89–100. https://doi.org/10.4312/ala.2.1.89-100

Issue

Section

Research articles