Language contact the United Arab Emirates

Ronald Boyle

    Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

    27 Citations (Scopus)


    The population of the United Arab Emirates (UAE) rose from 1.6 million 1990 to 8.2 million 2010, mainly as a result of immigration, and foreigners now constitute about 88 per cent of the population. English is the second or third language for many of the expatriates, and it is used as an acrolectal lingua franca. As these economic migrants are transient workers on short-term residence visas, most communicate through loose-knit social networks, and this produces conditions favourable to language change. As a means of examining how English has established itself the UAE and of describing the changes that are beginning to take place the language, this paper will apply Schneider's 'dynamic model' of postcolonial Englishes to the history of the country from 1820 until the present day. It will argue that the 'nativization' phase is just beginning the UAE and that the lexicogrammatical changes which are appearing are characteristic of this phase.

    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)312-330
    Number of pages19
    JournalWorld Englishes
    Issue number3
    Publication statusPublished - Sept 2012

    ASJC Scopus subject areas

    • Language and Linguistics
    • Anthropology
    • Sociology and Political Science
    • Linguistics and Language


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