Monday, February 21, 2011

English in Dubai

Randall, M., & Samimi, M. A. (2010). The status of English in Dubai. English Today, 26(1), 43-50.

Abstract: A transition from Arabic to English as a lingua franca. The developing economies of the Gulf states have relied heavily on expatriate labor at all levels to support the spectacular development which has taken place over the last 50 years; so much so, that in most of the Emirates expatriates outnumber locals. Nowhere is this more true than in the UAE, and in Dubai in particular. This situation has had fundamental socio-linguistic implications, one of which is the emergence of English as a lingua franca at all levels of the society. As is the case in Singapore, where English has replaced Malay as the lingua franca over the last 50 years, English in Dubai is replacing Arabic. This paper discusses this situation in general and looks in particular at the language needs and attitudes towards English amongst government employees in the police force. It uses data collected as part of a needs analysis survey which was conducted to determine the learners' needs, expectations, aspirations, and feelings towards English language learning which can illuminate its role as a lingua franca in the UAE. The data was collected from regular commissioned and non-commissioned police officers and cadets enrolled in courses in Dubai Police Academy as well as on-duty police officers from various police departments, divisions, and sections in Dubai. The data is discussed in relation to wider socio-linguistic issues within the UAE.

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