Exploring Saudi English Departments’ Beliefs on Language Use at Department Level: When and Why?

Suliman Mohammed Nasser Alnasser


In Saudi Arabia, staff members in higher educational English departments communicate with one another and with students outside the domain of the classroom on a daily basis using English (L2) and/or Arabic (L1) languages in different departmental encounters. The existence of English Language Policies (henceforth ELPs) in Saudi English departments is expected because of the nature of the work and the likelihood of the presence of non-Arabic-speaking members. The literature does not offer any account of the existing beliefs of staff members in Saudi English departments regarding the reasons for the timing and contexts in which English and/or Arabic should be used. This serves as the purpose of the current study. This study adopted a mixed method approach. The total number of participants comprised 216 staff members affiliated to the Saudi higher educational English departments. They were of different specialties, ranks, genders, ages, and from different regions. A total of 208 participants responded to an online survey, which was composed of a background section and five questions. Furthermore, semi-structured interviews comprising two questions were conducted with eight interviewees (seven male department chairpersons and one female vice chair). The main conclusions of the study include that majority of staff members prefer to use English on every possible occasion. However, they also believe Arabic should not be banned from use at department level. Other findings, implications, and recommendations for future research are provided.


Language Policy, English Departments, Beliefs, Reasons, Use

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.7575/aiac.alls.v.9n.3p.128


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