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  • English Literature and Language Review

    Online ISSN: 2412-1703
    Print ISSN: 2413-8827

    Frequency: Monthly


    Volume 2 Number 12 December 2016

    Saudi Dialects: Are They Endangered?

    Pages: 131-141
    Authors: Salih Alzahrani
    Krauss, among others, claims that languages will face death in the coming centuries (Krauss, 1992). Austin (2010a) lists 7,000 languages as existing and spoken in the world today. Krauss estimates that this figure could come down to 600. That is, most the world’s languages are endangered. Therefore, an endangered language is a language that loses her speakers within a few generations. According to Dorian (1981), there is what is called “tip” in language endangerment. He argues that a language’s decline can start slowly but suddenly goes through a rapid decline towards the extinction. Thus, languages must be protected at much earlier stage. Arabic dialects such as Zahrani Spoken Arabic (ZSA), and Faifi Spoken Arabic (henceforth, FSA), which are spoken in the southern region of Saudi Arabia, have not been studied, yet. Few people speak these dialects, among many other dialects in the same region. However, the problem is that most these dialects’ native speakers are moving to other regions in Saudi Arabia where they use other different dialects. Therefore, are these dialects endangered? What other factors may cause its endangerment? Have they been documented before? What shall we do? This paper discusses three main different points regarding this issue: language and endangerment, languages documentation and description and Arabic language and its family, giving a brief history of Saudi dialects comparing their situation with the whole existing dialects. Then, it shows the first hints of the decline providing the main reasons which may lead to the dialects’ death.