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Tue 16 Dec 2008 07:05 AM

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Arabic language campaign launched in Bahrain

Shura Council members call for compulsory use in all gov't documents, road signs, ads.

A campaign has been launched in Bahrain to make the Arabic language compulsory in everything from advertising to government documents.

Five Shura Council members want all government documents and dealings, road signs, advertising billboards and other public material to be in Arabic, reported Gulf Daily News on Tuesday.

Foreign languages could be included in smaller print, under the proposal put to the Shura Council on Monday.

The country's identity is being lost through the use of foreign languages, such as English, council services committee vice-woman Sameera Rajab told the paper.

Arabic is no longer given the respect it deserves, she added.

But Council chairman Ali Saleh Al Saleh insisted that the proposed law was unnecessary, since Arabic is considered the nation's first language in the Constitution and that most of the country's dealings are being done in Arabic.

He was backed by other members who said that the law would cause chaos by insisting that contracts, such as tenancy agreements, advertising and all signs, be in Arabic.

The law would also mean hospitals and clinics employing translators to work alongside expatriate doctors, nurses and other staff, to translate what they are saying into Arabic for Bahraini patients, the council heard.

The issue was referred back to the services committee for further review.

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Bassam Takatkah 11 years ago

Country's official Language should be respected by their natives first of all, and I mean here the Arabic nation in general, then there should be emphasize on the importance of the Arabic language in every and each institution from the young ages to elderly ones. We should use other nations languages when necessary only, which means to know other’s languages and enhance our knowledge. I lived many years in different western countries, and used their native languages to communicate with each people, so why not others coming to our region study and learn our Arabic language to? They should practice it since they live in our Arabic regions. I may ask the governments to offer free Arabic lessons to non-Arabic speakers, which will be let them, have a chance to practice one of the beautiful languages in the world. Good luck, and thanks for all your efforts in taking care about our identity and Arabic language as well.