Non-Arab expats must learn Arabic

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Non-Arab expats must learn Arabic

Al-Riyadh daily

I have noticed that several government agencies and businesses make spelling and grammatical mistakes in Arabic and sometimes in expressions. These mistakes prove that whoever writes these words and sentences has weak grammatical knowledge and could be someone who does not speak Arabic as a first language. Most of the people who are involved in service provision come from non-Arab backgrounds and tend to use weird expressions that do not belong to the Arabic language. Unfortunately, some of these weird expressions are also used by Arabs today.

Language can be a huge barrier. An expatriate worker can sometimes lose many of his rights because of language. The Arabic language is important because it is the business language and the main tool of communication in the Kingdom.

Many countries that encourage immigration require immigrants to show proof of their linguistic abilities and knowledge in the language of that country. Language proficiency is one of the main conditions and requirements for immigration in many countries. When immigrants arrive in the country they chose to live and work in, they usually have access to government-supported language resources such as institutes and centers to help them master the language and find a job faster.

In our country, the opposite has happened. Saudis have had to speak broken Arabic in order to communicate with non-Saudis. Many members of the public blame expatriate workers for distorting the Arabic language.

I have not heard of anyone who has donated money to build an Arabic language institute to help non-speakers learn Arabic and to help publish specialized dictionaries for Arabic learners. The promotion of the Arabic language has not been part of philanthropic projects for the last four decades. It is a shame that a non-Arabic-speaking worker lives in the Kingdom for 10 or 20 years and returns to his country without speaking Arabic.

Arabic is an important skill that all non-Arab workers, who enter the country in the future, should have. The Ministry of Labor can establish an Arabic language center and require each worker who does not speak Arabic to enroll and complete certain levels of language before they can be issued with work permits.


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