Arab youth discuss future of Arabic language at Riyadh International Book Fair

ABU DHABI, 23rd March, 2018 (WAM) — The UAE pavilion at the Riyadh International Book Fair held a session for Arab youth, titled, “The Current State of the Arabic Language.”

The session was organised by the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development, in partnership with the Mohammed bin Salman bin Abdulaziz Foundation, “Misk Foundation”, and the Arab Youth Center.

The session, which was moderated by Ahmed Al Shatri and attended by Ali Al Shaali, Head of the Judges Committee of the Arab Reading Challenge, and Dr. Abdullah Al Washmi, Secretary-General of the King Abdullah bin Abdulaziz International Centre for the Arabic Language, discussed the challenges facing the Arabic language, explored ways of tackling them, and reviewed various language preservation methods from around the world.


Al Shaali noted that current statistics show promising developments in the areas of translation and literature while stating that the Arabic language is used more today than in previous years. He added that the preservation of the Arabic language is a collective responsibility for the whole community.

Dr. Al Washmi stated, “We must view the Arabic language as an essential part of our identity and preserve it regardless of whether it is essential to our careers.”

Among the challenges facing the Arabic language mentioned by the participants is the lack of Arabic online content on the internet, which accounts for less than 1 percent of the world’s total online content. Despite the fact that Arabic speaking people make up 4.5 percent of the world’s population, only 6 percent of Arabic publications are translated internationally.

The discussion highlighted the weakness of the Arabic language among new generations and the role of teachers in cultivating an Arab identity among students, through the use of traditional and modern platforms, such as social media and technology.

The session noted the globalisation of the English language in technology, science and innovation, making it a significant challenge for the Arabic language. It also reviewed French and Chinese methods to preserve their languages, through creating appropriate laws and establishing relevant organisations and institutions.

The session concluded with a series of recommendations, which advised that everyone should continue to preserve the Arabic language, through discussions, seminars and cultural initiatives.

Since the launch of the Riyadh International Book Fair, the Ministry of Culture and Knowledge Development has organised a series of cultural seminars, which were attended by many senior dignitaries and officials from the UAE and Saudi Arabia.

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