Cross-linguistic media usage and attitude in the United Arab Emirates

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Asian Englishes


This study, examining the relationship between different language user groups and media behavior, breaks new ground in the UAE. Emanating from a public-private consortium comprising Zayed University, the International Advertising Association, Dubai, and Dubai-based Pan Arab Research Center (PARC), partner of the Gallup organization, this research considers media usage and attitudes of individuals from different language user groups living in the UAE. The survey differentiated different language user groups in the UAE contextualizing national varieties according to the ‘Three Circles Model’ instituted by Kachru (1982 and ff.). Uncharacteristically, the tables shown in this study first take cognizance of Language User Groups relating to Arabic(s), followed by the Outer, then the Expanding and finally the Inner Circle Users of Englishes. In addition, bearing in mind the existence of different varieties similar to ‘Englishes’ might pertain to more than English language varieties, the terms “Arabics”, “Hindis”, “Urdus” and “Malayalams” are introduced. Analysis shows that media usage patterns and media penetration are tied to language background. People from particular language backgrounds use different media for the same information – ‘Al Jazeera’ is the primary source for breaking news among Users of Arabics, whereas it is ‘BBC World’ for Users of Englishes. Language facility and the perceived value of various languages vary across different linguistic groups. For example, in this Arabic speaking country, 20–32% of the Inner-Circle English Users and Outer-Circle Indian English Users agree with the statement that understanding Arabic was “not important at all”. © 2009 ALC Press, Inc.

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