Arabic Calligraphy – FILE
CAIRO – 18 December 2021: Parliament deliberated on a bill to protect and develop Arabic in the face of growing interest in foreign languages to the detriment of the official language.
MPs Soulaf Darwish and Mona Omar introduced a bill that suggests ways to develop Classical Arabic and Modern Standard Arabic, including penalties for companies that do not use Arabic in their official documents, forcing the state to produce children’s dramas and animated films in Standard Arabic.
He also suggests setting up a translation center in all universities to translate Arabic books into foreign and gifted languages for universities outside Egypt and forcing transport companies to use Arabic on their vehicles. All public and private institutions and companies should use Arabic in their documents, records, contracts, prices and product information should also be in Arabic, according to the bill.
The second article of Egypt’s constitution states that Arabic is the state language, but the language is not given adequate attention despite this, Darwish and Omar said.
The examples they cited as evidence of the decline of Arabic in Egypt include giving foreign names to shops and restaurants, and that most of the speeches of politicians and officials are full of grammatical errors, in more from the fact that they are mostly slang.
Omar and Darwish also mentioned “Franco-Arabic”, which appeared at the same time as chat programs and instant messaging, where some Arabic speakers write in Arabic using the Latin alphabet, replacing letters that do not exist in Latin by numbers. They also said that international schools do not require students to pass Arabic, producing a segment of a generation that prefers speaking a foreign language and is not fluent in standard Arabic.
The deterioration of Arabic has encouraged some people to focus on other languages and ignore Arabic, creating a problem of “dual loyalties” in a country, according to the bill.
Arabic must be protected and its uses developed to preserve the written and spoken language, the deputies said, adding that it must be protected from foreign influences and developed into a contemporary language that adapts to the progress of human civilization.