Codeswitching between Modern Standard and Colloquial Arabic as L2 sociolinguistic competence
A cross-sectional study from an integrated approach curriculum
Multidialectal use of Modern Standard Arabic (MSA) and Colloquial Arabic (CA) has become standard practice among Arabic speakers. Therefore, a question facing Arabic instructors and curriculum planners is what methods to adopt to raise learners’ awareness of this sociolinguistic reality. Some programs introduce MSA and one variety of CA from the beginning of Arabic instruction. However, the question of how learners who receive multidialectal training use MSA and CA simultaneously in their speech productions and how their MSA–CA use evolves over their years of Arabic study remains under-researched. The current study addressed these questions by studying the speech productions of 51 second language (L2) Arabic learners enrolled in three years of Arabic instruction. The data show that the participants consistently code-switched between MSA and CA, and seemed to conform to sociocultural norms designating MSA as more formal and CA as more personal and intimate. As learners’ proficiency levels increased, a wider range of sociolinguistic functions was observed. The study reinforces the importance of L2 Arabic curricula decisions that embrace the multidialectal use of Arabic in the L2 Arabic classroom and asserts learners’ ability to use MSA and CA simultaneously.
Keywords: language varieties, language attitudes, communicative language learning, teacher training