The 6,000 adults surveyed scored 26.7 per cent in level of comprehension and use of simple Arabic among non-native speakers.
At least six in 10 non-Arabic speaking residents in Abu Dhabi would like to learn the language, according to new research.
To meet this demand, the Abu Dhabi Arabic Language Center (ALC) has been rolling out various programs, while carrying out in-depth studies about the use of Arabic.
An extensive study — conducted from mid-2021 until the end of June 2022 among 6,087 adults in Abu Dhabi — looked into the general impressions of Arabic as a language of knowledge, culture, and creativity. And in a number of indicators, it scored higher than English.
The analysis indicated that Arabic came first in people’s impressions – ahead of English – on the creativity metric, which takes into consideration the aesthetics of the language and the extent of its use in creative content.
Arabic also came out on top on the culture metric, which focuses on historical and cultural heritage. Meanwhile, English excelled in the knowledge metric, given the availability and scope of scientific and research content.
“Comparing the Arabic and English languages on the overall index reveals that the general impression of both languages is somewhat similar,” said ALC chairman Dr Ali bin Tamim.
“This is the result of the inclusive and diverse demographic structure in Abu Dhabi, where Arabic-speaking citizens and residents from other Arab countries live side-by-side with people who speak other languages.
“With that in mind, it is only natural that the two languages have a similar general perception. However, the differences in the composition of the index have provided deeper and very useful insight into cultural, creative, and intellectual factors.”
The study also assessed the level of comprehension and use of simple Arabic among non-native speakers, which scored 26.7 per cent in the Emirate of Abu Dhabi.
Bin Tamim added: “These results form a solid foundation for us to launch our strategic programmes targeting non-Arabic speakers. These include ‘We Speak Arabic’, which was launched at the beginning of the year to teach simplified Arabic to non-Arabic speakers of all ages in Abu Dhabi. The program uses digital platforms to enable learners to pick up some Arabic vocabulary quickly and easily.
“Since the launch of the programme, the results of the index indicated the increase of 3.4 decimal points. Our research indicates that 64 per cent of non-Arabic speaking residents in the emirate would like to learn Arabic.”
The ALC aims to promote the Arabic language and strengthen its global status across various fields of use, from knowledge to science, culture, and creativity.
To that end, the center has launched a range of programs in the emirate, including the Kalima Project for Translation, which aims to support translation efforts for literary and intellectual works in the Arab world.
The project targets publications from various global languages in a bid to offer Arab readers a wide set of options for reading.
The ALC also aims to drive research in Arabic, and has recently launched a research grant program that focuses on the language. The first of its kind, it aims to promote impactful scientific research in various fields of culture and knowledge, as well as to encourage the study of Arab heritage.
The ALC additionally launched the Al Markaz: The Journal of Arab Studies published in collaboration with the Brill Foundation in early 2022.