Lebanon fears losing Arabic language English, Facebook

By ASSOCIATED PRESS
August 16, 2010 14:07




Lebanon fears losing its traditional Arab language as foreign ones - particularly English - are sometimes more important to a generation raised on mobiles phones and Facebook.

"I try to get them interested, but I don't blame them that they're not," said Sabti, whose children are 8 and 10. "Mobile phones, Facebook, movies — all that's important to them is in English."

In Lebanon, where everyday conversations have long been sprinkled with French and English, many fear the new generation is losing its connection to the country's official language: Arabic. The issue has raised enough concern for some civil groups to take action.

"Young people are increasingly moving away from Arabic, and this is a major source of concern for us," says Suzanne Talhouk, 33, a Lebanese poet who heads "Feil Amer," an organization launched last year to promote Arabic.

"The absence of a common language between individuals of the same country means losing the common identity and cause," Talhouk said. In a nod both to its members' sense of urgency and their language fixation, the group's name is the Arabic grammatical term for an imperative verb.


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