Global English: Issues of Language, Culture, and Identity in the Arab World

full name / name of organization: 
Ahmad Al-Issa
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Call for Book Chapters
To all scholars interested in language, culture, and identity

Proposed Title:
Global English: Issues of Language, Culture, and Identity in the Arab World

Global English today is touted as the lingua franca of the world. English can now profess to be the language with the most non-native speakers and learners, and as such its current role on the world's stage cannot be overlooked.

Globalization, linguistic imperialism, language rights, language and power, cultural, political, and economic hegemony, and language planning and policy are at the forefront of the debate on global English. There are many scholars and lay people today who are concerned with the subtractive spread of English worldwide. As languages are pushed aside and made to run second to global English, people may be at risk of linguistic loss. Furthermore, cultures and identities could be in similar danger. Unfortunately, little attention has been given to this issue in the Arab world.

In many, if not most, Arab countries (in the Middle East and Arabian Gulf), the second language is English. In several of these Arabic-speaking nations, English has become a pervasive language, especially in the economic and business sectors. Additionally, children in these countries often begin learning English during their formative years, and English is increasingly becoming the medium of instruction in many schools, colleges, and universities where Arabic is relegated to a secondary status. Although formal Arabic, foos'ha, is taught throughout the Arab world, there is rarely any excitement involved in learning Arabic. Students find it more trying to learn Arabic especially when it is compared to the colorful, entertaining textbooks and materials of English in addition to English's creative and constantly updated pedagogical approaches and methods.

Although we cannot be certain that Arabic, Arab identity, or culture can or will be lost or lessened through the continual focus on global English, it is a concern. As more and more Arabs communicate in English, even with other Arabs, we may discover that the place of Arab identity is no longer held entirely in the language of Arabic, if it ever was. Most of us today are aware that global English comes with some positive and negative attachments in terms of its effects on other languages and speakers of those languages. With all these attachments to the language, it is probable that those Arabs who use English as a global language have in some way been touched by more than just the language in terms of their identities, their cultures, and their native language. It is time a voice is given to the Arabs compelled to survive in a world of English and often at the expense of their Arabic language, culture, and identity.

Global English: Issues of Language, Culture, and Identity in the Arab World seeks to gain an understanding of how global English is affecting Arabs who reside in various geographic locations within the region. Contributions that cover any country in the the Arab Middle East and in the Arabian Gulf will be considered. Each chapter will examine the effect of global English on self and or on the people of a specific country in one or more contexts (e.g., educational, business, social-cultural, political, etc.). Specifically, this book will seek to answer the question how has and how does global English impact Arabs in terms of their native language, identity, and culture?

Chapters sought could be empirical (i.e., research-based), theoretical, or narratives (i.e., personal encounters/experiences). The chapters should be 20-30 pages double-spaced (Times New Roman, font 12). The volume will only include papers in English.

The idea of Global English: Issues of Language, Culture, and Identity in the Arab World grew out of our experiences teaching graduate and undergraduate students at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. It also came about as a result of witnessing the increasing use of the English language in all sectors of society in the last decade, in this country and others in the region. Our interest was further piqued by studies we carried out with our students regarding their feelings about global English and their perceptions and concerns about the status of Arabic. As such, this book is intended for students, graduate and undergraduates, language teachers, teacher trainers, educational administrators, educational policy makers, and others concerned with language education in schools and universities globally and the Arab world specifically. The book also has as its intended audience scholars in relevant fields in order to promote further research on issues of language, culture, and identity in the Arab world.

If you are interested in contributing a chapter, please send in an abstract, clearly delineate the country you are writing about, the type of chapter you are proposing (empirical, theoretical, or narrative), and issue(s) you will be addressing in the chapter. Please include with your abstract a one-page bio or a current CV.

 The deadline for receiving abstracts is September 25, 2009.
 Abstracts and bios/CVs should be emailed as a word document attachment to: Dr. Ahmad Al-Issa:
 Notification of acceptance will be sent out by October 31, 2009.
 Completed chapters are due on March 1, 2010.

For any inquiries or further information, please contact Dr. Ahmad Al-Issa ( or Laila Dahan (

• Ahmad Al-Issa is an Associate Professor of Applied Linguistics and TESOL in the English Department at the American University of Sharjah in the United Arab Emirates. He has published many journal articles and book chapters in the areas of cross-cultural communication, global English, intercultural pragmatics, and teaching effectiveness. His most recent publications include: 'Globalization, English Language, and Muslim Students in the United Arab Emirates in Educational Awakening: Journal of the Educational Sciences (co-authored with L. Dahan, 2009), 'Prior Knowledge and Writing in the College EFL Composition Classroom' in Coombe, C., Jendli, A., & Davidson, P. (Eds.). Teaching writing skills in English: Theory, research (2008), 'Deciphering the Secret Code. A New Methodology for the Cross-Cultural Analysis of Nonverbal Behavior' in Behavior Research Methods (co-authored with Bente et al. 2008), 'A Journey of Belonging: A Global(ized) Self Finds Peace' (co-authored with N. Golley) in N. Golley (Ed.) Exploring Identity: Contemporary Arab Women's Autobiographical Writings (2007), 'Schema Theory and L2 Reading Comprehension: Implications for Teaching' in College Teaching and Learning (2006), 'When the West Teaches the East: Analyzing Intercultural Conflict in the Classroom' in Intercultural Communication Studies (2005), 'Global Nomads and the Search for Cultural Identity: Tips from the Classroom' in College Teaching (2004), ), and 'Socio-cultural Transfer in L2 Speech Behaviors: Evidence and Motivating Factors' in International Journal of Intercultural Relations (2003).

• Laila S. Dahan teaches in the Department of Writing Studies at the American University of Sharjah. She holds MAs in TESOL and Political Science, her undergraduate degree is in languages and linguistics from Georgetown University. She is currently a Ph.D. candidate at the University of Exeter (UK). Her book, Keep Your Feet Hidden: A Southern Belle on the Shores of Tripoli, will be published in September 2009. Some of her recent publications include: 'Globalization, English language, and Muslim students in the United Arab Emirates (co-authored with A. Al-Issa),and 'English as an International Language in the Arabian Gulf: Student and Teacher Views on the Role of Culture.'' In Midraj, S., Jendli, A., & Sellami, A. (Eds.). Research in ELT Contexts. Dubai: TESOL Arabia Publications (2007).