A Sociolinguistic Analysis of the Use of Arabizi in Social Media Among Saudi Arabians


  •  Ashwaq Alsulami    

Abstract

The aim of this sociolinguistically-oriented study is to explore the Arabizi phenomenon which is characterized by spelling Arabic words using the Latin script. It is prevalent in the text-based computer-mediated communications among Saudi Arabians. The study focuses on why Arabizi is used, how, particularly in respect to with whom and in which topics, it is used, the attitudes of its users toward its use and the perceived advantages and disadvantages of its use. Using an online survey, data were collected from 241 participants, 72 of which were users of Arabizi. The findings revealed that the primary reasons for using Arabizi were its being a communication code among youths and a compensation for the lack of Arabic keyboard from technological devices as well as being more expressive than Arabic language. It was also found that Arabizi was primarily used to communicate with friends and individuals of the same age, but not with parents and older people or in formal relationships. In addition, the study revealed that Arabizi is used in occasional conversations and social matters, but not in academic, scientific, business, economic, religious or poetry and literature- related topics. Arabizi users were found to hold both positive and negative attitudes based on different advantages and disadvantages of the phenomenon. These findings will be discussed and recommendations for future research will be given.



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