(MENAFN - Arab News) Expatriates in the kingdom have reacted positively to the shoura council's demand this week that the arabic language be used as the lingua franca in international meetings and official forums inside the kingdom.
nabeel abdullah a sudanese doctor based in riyadh told arab news: 'since english is the medium of communication in international conferences abroad the same rule should also apply to arabic as the target audience here is saudi. however there could be a simultaneous translation in english for the benefit of non-arabic listeners."
abdullah said many foreign firms trying to sell their products in the kingdom should employ saudis in the marketing wing. 'often a high profile conference on islamic banking and economy taking place in the capital uses non-arabic terms to explain 'sukouk' 'murabaha' and other arabic terminology" he said noting that local banks also don't use arabic.
ict companies from across the globe heavily promote their services in saudi arabia incurring huge expenses for public relations by using english only in their forums and marketing promotions when they could have employed the arabic language and cut down the cost.
'these companies miss out on the opportunity to convey their message to the market" he observed.
an official spokesman of the ministry of culture and information slammed a saudi speaker at a forum for belittling the importance of the arabic language at a saudi broadcasting station intentionally when he switched over from arabic to english. he added that he could speak in english later for the convenience of some non-arab participants.
'i support arabic and strongly feel it should be one of the widely spoken languages in the kingdom" he said.
rasol abbas a community leader pointed out that english was only spoken by a small tribe known as anglo-saxons some centuries ago and who traveled from one place to another successfully introducing their language to the people they met.
'the strong influence of arabic coupled with the resources available in saudi arabia will make it easy for the country to promote the arabic language" he said adding that 'as a core group we are recommending the ministry of education to open up schools and centers for non-arabic speakers to learn the language."
language helps human beings communicate with one another and it is advisable for foreigners residing in a particular country to learn the language which is most widely spoken. furthermore learning a foreign language has also been advocated by the qur'an a saudi columnist said.
'one feels sad that some expatriates do not speak arabic even though their children were born and raised in an arab country or have spent a great deal of time there" he said. many non-arabic speakers excuse themselves saying that their work environment does not require them to speak arabic. their children also do not often speak arabic" he noted.
he said that arabs are equally responsible for failing in their duty toward the arabic language.
'we have not promoted it. on the contrary if a non-arab expatriate attempts to converse with us in arabic we often respond to them in english" said the saudi columnist.