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JustHere | November 15, 2017

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Non-native speakers, be careful of how you use Arabic in public.

Non-native speakers, be careful of how you use Arabic in public.

If you are a non-native Arabic speaking expatriate residing in Qatar, there would have been innumerable occasions where you would have attempted speaking the few words in Arabic that you know.

But the next time you are not sure if the words are right or wrong, be careful.

There’s a draft law being considered which would make the “use of improper Arabic language in public an offence”, The Peninsula has reported.

The law has been drafted by the Doha-based International Organisation for the Advancement of Arabic Language. According to the report, the draft law aims to “preserve the purity of the Arabic language” which is the national language of Qatar. Language experts in the country have expressed concern over the influence of foreign languages on the use of Arabic due to the large influx of expats into the country.  The new law will therefore encourage the appropriate usage of Arabic among residents.

If sanctioned, the law would include the following enforcements:

  • Arabic cannot be mixed with any other dialects of Arabic or foreign words when used in public – be it at schools, universities, offices or in the media.
  • Shops and businesses would need to use Arabic in entire accuracy for their signboards.
  • The law would also promote research to develop technical and scientific terms in Arabic that could be applied in modern technology.

What do you think about the law? Is it a positive move, or would it discourage you to speak in Arabic?


  1. John

    There are MANY IMPORTANT issues Qatar needs to address, THIS IS NOT ONE OF THEM.

  2. Fred

    At first sight, it seems discouraging but, considering that most non-native speakers (like me) learn fussha which I understand is a very “pure” form of Arabic, there can’t be any risk of using it if the law is enforced.
    Besides, I can suppose that the law will distinguish “transient” mistakes (those you make while speaking, which you can correct as soon) from “permanent” mistakes (on signs, advertisements, posters, etc.).
    Now the final question is : will the law be respected ? Other countries have similar legislations and it does not prevent them to absorb high quantities of foreign words, mostly English.

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