Is Arabizi Weakening Arabic Language?

by · December 16, 2012

It was fun to join YouTube Arabic Tweetup!  last night. This dynamic forum took place at the Qatar National Convention Center, and gathered quite a few active Arabic tweeters who came together to share thoughts and insights on how to grow relevant digital Arabic content. Taghreedat organized the forum in collaboration with Google, YouTube, Twitter, QCRI along with some other regional movers and shakers, like Telfaz 11, the creators of one of the most viewed Saudi YouTube channels,  La Yekthar. It was a big deal event as this is the first time some of these companies shared the same stage in the Middle East.

Our new staffer, Maaria Assami, shares her eye-opening moments of the event. For example, did you know that the number of Arabic tweets per month is half a billion? That means that there are 17 million tweets in Arabic per day! This whopping number could have been even higher if one out of four tweets wouldn’t get typed in Arabizi.

Arabizi, or Roman-character based Arabic language slang, has been proclaimed an enemy number one by both Twitter and Google in spite of the fact that Google has recently created a tool that automatically translates Arabizi back into Arabic script.

This trend doesn’t seem to be liked by most, yet somehow people still use it whether for the sake of convenience, or fear of misspelling words in Arabic. Some argue that Arabic is more complex than English, and others often confess that they tend to make typos when using Arabic script, or can’t find words to express themselves.  I say – if this trend continues, it can potentially weaken Arabic language. This might be a wakeup call encouraging the Arabic youth to create and share content in their language in order to preserve rich Arabic heritage.

What do you think? Over to you.

Post By Julia Astashkina (25 Posts)

Julia Astashkina is heading the Marketing and Outreach Section at the Ministry of Information and Communication Technology in Qatar. She runs organization’s multiple communications and marketing initiatives and is a guest blogger of the Digital Qatar blog. Julia has extensive experience in strategic marketing, communications, and social innovation. She has an MBA and other degrees from Georgetown and ESADE, and is the community lead for Creative Commons Qatar.

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Discussion1 Comment

  1. Laine Stogden says:

    Really enjoyed reading this and wanted to say thanks. Keep up the good work :)

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