Bedouin Dialects: Language Use and Identity Perceptions of Bedouin-Speaking Postsecondary Students in North-Western Saudi Arabia and Implications for Language Vitality
The proposed research will involve examining the perceived vitality of Bedouin dialects in Saudi language policies prescribing MSA as the official national language of Saudi Arabia and requiring postsecondary students to complete English-language coursework in the national education system. It will also entail identifying Bedouin speakers' attitudes towards the use of Bedouin dialects in order to assess the need, if any, to implement policies in Saudi Arabia that can enhance the use of those dialects amid the competing use of MSA and English in the country. Empirical data collected from questionnaires and semi-structured interviews that purport patterns of the everyday use of languages among Bedouin-speaking postsecondary students in Tabuk, as well as the content of language policy documents, can clarify whether policy-based pressure to use MSA and English in mainstream educational and social activities in Saudi Arabia has jeopardised the language vitality of Bedouin dialects. The findings of the research can thus ultimately contribute to the development of policies to support and enhance the use of Bedouin dialects and, in turn, their language vitality.