Attitudes towards Standard Arabic: A Case Study of Jordanian Undergraduate Students of English

Turki Ahmad Ali Bani-Khaled


This qualitative study explored the attitudes of Jordanian learners of English towards Standard Arabic (henceforth SA) as a mother tongue. It sought to categorize the attitudes held among these students in terms of ranked themes. The sample participants of this study were selected from two major state universities in Jordan. All students were taking English major courses during the first semester of 2013-2014. The total number was (366) students from all year levels. The students were both female (n=275, %=75.1) and male (n=91, %=24.8) students and between (19-22) years old. Data was collected over a period of four weeks. The students' responses came through short-essay composition tasks, i.e. answering the question: How do you personally feel about Standard Arabic? The results showed that it was possible to identify at least ten themes under which students' attitudes could be categorized in ranking order. These categories were: (1) status and future of SA; (2) the lexical gap; (3) affective feelings; (4) intra-linguistic aspects of SA; (5) inter-cultural impact; (6) the religious dimension; (7) perceived imperialism; (8) identity 'crisis'; (9) losing faith in SA; and (10) literacy and education. These themes are discussed with particular reference to the context of Arab / Jordanian EFL learning.

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