Language Maintenance and Core Values among Second Generation Arabs in the USA

Mona Turjoman


This sociolinguistics study investigated the maintenance of the Arabic language among three migrant Arab Muslim families, who have been living in the USA for at least ten years, particularly among the children. Each family has children between the ages of 10 to 15 and they attend American public schools. Arabic is essential in the religious rituals of the Muslim society. Yet living in an English-speaking environment makes it challenging for these families to maintain fluency in Arabic and English. The families live in Muncie, Indiana where the only means of formal teaching of Arabic is through a Sunday school held in the Mosque and parental attempts to teach them at home. Data were collected by using semi-structured interviews and participant observation over a six-month period and analyzed according to Smolicz’s (1981) Core Value theory. The findings of the study indicated that all three families are aware of the challenges of maintaining the Arabic language and therefore emphasize the use of Arabic at home, to supplement the Arabic lessons in the Sunday school.



Sociolinguistics, language maintenance, Arab Americans, core value, Arabic

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