A couple of weeks ago, I went to visit my grandmother. We became immersed in our conversation, recounting our activities and endeavors in the past few weeks, as we haven’t really had a conversation for a long time.
Midway through our conversation, my Blackberry notified me of a message. My friend had replied to the message that I sent him earlier. I found it so funny and entertaining that I decided to share it with her. It was written in Arabic, but she couldn’t read it.
You might be wondering why she wasn’t able to read it. Oh, I forgot to mention, it was written in 3arabeezy (a new form of speaking which mostly consists of English, with a couple of Arabic words here and there, used in texting language with English alphabets and numbers). She’s fluent in Arabic but she wasn’t taught English.
Sheikh Zayed once said, “Whoever has no past has neither a present nor a future”. Let’s stop and think for a moment. Amidst all this mass development and the sophistication of our lives, our culture and heritage, in a way, has failed to maintain a strong presence. Who is to blame? The British? The Americans? No, us! Nobody but us. Yet, we dare to blame globalization. Countries such as Germany and Japan are far more globalized, but they still converse in their mother tongue.
We thought it was cool and “trendy” to converse amongst ourselves in 3arabeezy. It has resulted in nothing but the loss of language and heritage amongst its native speakers, the Arabs.
I’m not claiming perfection. I’m not claiming that I never converse or text in 3arabeezy, but the state that we are currently in worries me. How many of your younger siblings, nephews or cousins speak fluent Arabic even in the Emirati dialogue, without adding in English words to the sentence?
From travels to Germany and India, I noticed one thing; nearly every single citizen that I passed by and overheard spoke in their mother tongue amongst themselves. A nation’s culture will not be preserved by books and records, but rather by its members making an effort to preserve it. A nation’s culture and heritage will be preserved when its members take pride in it. And what better way to express your pride for your culture than by speaking in its mother tongue?
I know that it’s ironic of me to state this in English, but Arabic truly is a beautiful language. It has an extensive vocabulary; a word for every thing, emotion or category you can think of. Why disregard a language of such eloquence and articulacy?
As we move forward, we must ensure that our foundation is right. As we introduce newer dialects and forms of speaking and writing, we mast ensure that our basic foundations in that language are of an acceptable standard. Just as all fields of life, progress won’t be made, unless the foundations are strong.
In math, you wont be capable of solving simultaneous equations unless you excel in basic numerical problems, and you wont be able to balance chemical equations unless you have a competent understanding of the Periodic table for instance, just like the tall and majestic skyscrapers won’t be as majestic unless their foundations are properly put in place.
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