The paper “The Ecology of English in Saudi Arabia” is an engrossing example of coursework on education. English has spread throughout the world like a ‘ virus’ . Demand for the English language is amazingly increasing at a high rate with it becoming a necessity. Individuals prefer learning English to enable them to go beyond their local social groups. Moreover, English is recognized as a channel to obtain power and prestige. It is counted as a bridge that leads many to benefits and opportunities. Despite national policymakers in countries trying to control the choice of language (Wright, 2004) it is of great interest that local elites prefer using English.
In countries that have more than one national group, English becomes a medium to establish communication among people who speak the different local languages (Crystal, 1997). The position of English in Saudi Arabia is in the education system according to the discussion made at academic and public levels. According to Al- Gorashi (1988), the role of English in Saudi Arabia just like in other countries has been argued to focus on education systems and economics.
The main language spoken in Saudi Arabia is Arabic and it is the official language of the country, though English is also used widely. This paper will discuss the ecology of English as a foreign language in Saudi Arabia, highlighting its position, users or learners, its domain of use, how it is affected by bilingualism, any available language varieties, language standardization, institution support, and its status. Classification of English in relation to other languages English is classified as a second language (ESL) which is compulsory taught in Saudi Arabian schools.
It is not an everyday language but is taught and learned as a foreign language (EFL). Since the government of Saudi Arabia realized the importance of teaching English quite early, it introduced the English language course as a compulsory subject from the level of intermediate through the secondary and tertiary levels. The government saw in the light of the demands of employers and the needs of the new system in the world. Aims of making English a compulsory subject in schools by the Saudi Arabian Government is to open up the world to students, to cultivate critical thinking of students and to equip students with sufficient knowledge of English to help them in their future endeavors
Its learners and users. Before, English was taught to expatriate children working in the oil-rich kingdom.
But globalization and the emerging of Information Technology saw more of Saudi students studying due to the support provided by the government in terms of funding. Parents are willing to support their children to study abroad (the United States and Canada) to upgrade their children’ s educational level of learning English. The government provides scholarships to students to study abroad.
Back in Saudi Arabia, many students learn English at a grade level meaning they will learn and school of the English Language continuously. Industrialization and computerization are the drive towards compelling Saudi students to learn English in order to compensate for the needs and opportunities offered by the labor market of the country. Students appreciate the notion that learning English increases their employment chances after graduation from college. They believe that the ability to speak English is a way to a prosperous feature.
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