Language Shift or Maintenance? An Intergenerational Study of the Tibetan Community in Saudi Arabia
Keywords:language shift, language maintenance, age, heritage languages, Tibetan, Arabic
The present study provides the first-ever report on the language shift from Tibetan to Arabic among descendants of Tibetan families who migrated from the Tibet region to Saudi Arabia around 70 years ago. The aim of this study was to determine whether three age groups had adopted different practices in terms of maintaining Tibetan or shifting to Hijazi Arabic. To this end, 96 male and female members of the Tibetan community responded to a questionnaire in which they were asked about their code choice in different domains (home, neighbourhood, friends and relatives, expressing emotion, and performing religious rituals). The data revealed significant intergenerational differences between members of the community in terms of the extent of the shift to Arabic, with Tibetan rarely used by younger members and older members making only slightly more use of it. The difference between the three age groups was significant, at a p-value of .001.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Sumaiyah Turkistani, Mohammad Almoaily
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License.