It is a sad truth that Arabic is facing huge challenges today. Less and less Arabs are speaking it, writing it or reading it. This is especially true in a country like the United Arab Emirates, where English has become the dominant language.
Realizing this threat, the government of the UAE has taken some serious steps to preserve Arabic, emphasize its importance and restore its status as the official language.
Let’s take a look at some of the UAE’s initiatives to save Arabic:
1. Arabic on all invoices and receipts
This year, the Department of Economic Development launched an initiative that requires all commercial establishments in the UAE to use Arabic while issuing invoices and receipts at reception desks and call centers. These establishments must apply those new rules before the beginning of 2017.
2. Arabic on school tablets
“Lughati” (Arabic for My Language) is an initiative approved by the ruler of Sharjah Dr. Sheikh Sultan Bin Mohammad Al Qasimi. It aims to distribute tablets with specially designed Arabic language educational programs and applications to students and teachers of government schools in the emirate.
3. The Arabic Language Charter
In 2012, Sheikh Mohammed bin Rashid announced the creation of an Arabic language charter. It is to be used as a frame of reference for all policies and laws related to preserving the Arabic language and promoting its use in public life.
4. Encouraging non-Arabs to learn Arabic
The UAE set up an Arabic learning institute at the Zayed University for non-Arabic speakers. This aims to cooperate with specialized universities around the world to allow international students to study Arabic in the UAE.
5. An Arabic translation hub
The Faculty of Translation has been established at the American University in Dubai. It aims to make the UAE a hub for Arabic translation of science and knowledge in the region.
6. The International Arabic Language Conference
The conference was first held in 2012 under the patronage of Sheikh Mohammad Bin Rashid. It's part of his aspiration to enhance the importance and position of the Arabic language. The conference is also part of the UAE Vision 2021, which strives to make the UAE a centre of excellence for the Arabic language
7. Million's Poet
This poetry TV show, which has aired on AbuDhabi TV since 2007, is another great example of how the UAE is encouraging young Arabs from all over the Middle East to use the Arabic language. The show features Arab youth creating beautiful poems in different Arabic dialects. The immense popularity of the show is an indicator of how people are still interested in Arabic and Arabic poetry.
8. The Society for the Protection of the Arabic Language
This Sharjah-based society works hard to preserve Arabic language through workshops, language courses and competitions.