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'It will be funny [to speak Hindi]': Travelling Englishes and perceptions about learning migrant languages in Qatar

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Abstract

'Travelling' Englishes and neo-liberal ideologies and policies to Qatar have implications for perceptions towards languages other than English, in particular Qatar's migrant languages. The current spotlight on the West and English in Qatar, often viewed in juxtaposition to Arabic, and in competition with it, has led to other languages that play an important role in the society and are part of the linguistic ecology of the region, being ignored. While the capital, status and position of these languages is variable, Qatar has chosen to favour English, leaving multilingualism and linguistic diversity off the agenda. This study examines Qatari students' perceptions about learning migrant languages in Qatar vis-à-vis English and looks at how the mobility of Englishes has in some ways generated further inequalities in Qatar, especially regarding knowledge and appreciation of its migrant languages. Important implications of these findings are discussed in terms of the interface of the impact of travelling Englishes with Qatar's growing linguistic diversity and trajectories related to language planning and policy, as well as Qatar's national identity and visions.
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Keywords: Arabian Gulf; Qatar; language planning; linguistic diversity; migrant languages; travelling Englishes

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2019

More about this publication?
  • Transient migration due to the global movements of people for work, study and lifestyle is part of everyday life. This journal thus aims to provide a platform that explores and investigates the complexities of transient migration and to map the experiences of the growing number of transient migrants as they engage and interact with communities that are linked both to their home and host nations. This journal seeks to look at the ways in which transient migrants cope with transience and how transient migration affects individuals and communities in this transitional yet significant period. The scope of the journal will include but not be limited to themes of belonging, identity, networks, nation, culture, religion, race and ethnicity, gender and memory while incorporating the roles played by various platforms to facilitate these themes such as media, politics, policy, economy and the creative industries.
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