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6 - Arabic in contact with English and Malay in Malaysia

from Part I - English in selected regional and national habitats with a glance at the role of outward-bound communication needs

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  05 January 2016

Gerhard Leitner
Affiliation:
Freie Universität Berlin
Azirah Hashim
Affiliation:
University of Malaya, Kuala Lumpur
Hans-Georg Wolf
Affiliation:
Universität Potsdam, Germany
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Summary

Abstract

Language contact is a key component in language, social and cultural change. Contact is reciprocal although it has typically been studied from the angle of contact of English with local languages such as Malay, Mandarin, Hindi, Urdu or Tamil in South and South-East Asia. Up to the 1960s, contact outcomes were often seen as signs of the enrichment of the English language as such and were recorded in dictionaries. More recent outcomes have been seen as evidence of the localization of English and the growth of ‘Englishes’. Contact with Arabic is a different case. In Asia, Arabic has been deeply embedded in various languages habitats as a trade and religious language. It has influenced many languages which acted as carriers of Arabic influences into local languages such as Malay but also into English or Dutch. This chapter will address such issues and focus on loan words in English and Malay in Malaysia’s print media. We mention contact history but our principal interest will be contemporary outcomes. Does Arabic provide a religious-based linguistic layer in Malaysia and maybe other Islamic nations? As the role of Arabic is a neglected field of research, our chapter will add a new dimension to the study of varieties of English but also contribute to that of Malay in the region and connect outcomes with the political domain.

Type
Chapter
Information
Communicating with Asia
The Future of English as a Global Language
, pp. 85 - 101
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2016

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