Saudi foreign minister calls for ending escalation in Gaza

Saudi foreign minister calls for ending escalation in Gaza
Saudi foreign minister calls for ending escalation in Gaza

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Jeddah - Yasmine El Tohamy - RIYADH: Experts at a Riyadh forum have discussed safeguarding the Arabic language amid the growing dominance of English in professional and cultural life.
The Misk Global Forum session, titled “How to Save Arabic,” was moderated by journalist and Al Arabiya news anchor Fatma Fahad.
Former permanent representative of the Kingdom to UNESCO, Ziyad Al-Dress, and the director general of Riyadh Schools, Abdulrahman Al-Ghofaili, addressed fears of losing Arabic language proficiency as young people in the Middle East find themselves at a linguistic crossroads.
The panel shed light on the decline of Arabic and raised concerns about the preservation of the Kingdom’s linguistic heritage.
“It is the people who need to be saved, not the language itself. And that is why we celebrate the Arabic International Day,” said Al-Dress.
“Civilization and languages are interlinked; there is no civilization in human history without language. Language is considered the mirror of any civilization,” he added.
Al-Ghofaili said: “The Arabic language is part of our identity, our culture, and the most powerful means of preserving the Arabic language lies in speaking it boldly and proudly.”
The panel said that when language is preserved, customs and traditions live on. Language is more than the sum of its elements — grammar and sentence structure — and encompasses history, customs and heritage, they added.
Preserving Arabic requires measures, including strengthening the teaching and learning of the language, the panel said.
School curriculums should also be revised and the Qur’an must be read and understood by Arabic-speaking youth, they added.
“We need to develop the performance of Arabic teachers and work to develop the Arabic learning curriculum in schools, and, in my opinion, the previous curriculum of the Arabic language was much better,” said Al-Ghofaili.
“And again, there’s no better way to enhance our understanding and learning of the Arabic language than reading the Qur’an.”
The conflict between standard Arabic language and dialectal Arabic is another factor behind the decline of the language, panelists said.
“I used to think that English and the dialectal Arabic are endangering the standard Arabic language, but now I believe what’s endangering any language, including Arabic, is lack of communication,” said Al-Dress.
“Preserving the Arabic language does not diminish the importance of English. It is crucial that our youth become proficient in English. But they must maintain a strong connection to Arabic.”

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