Sociolinguistics and Development of Israel’s Arab Minority

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The objective of this report is to give a concise study regarding the Arab minority in Israel. It will trace some significant issues that have impacted the overall linguistic reality, nevertheless the marginalization of Arabs in that small but complex country. It will track the language policy adopted in that country, the educational, political,practical,social,ideological reasons that have lead to the Arabic status in Israel. Spolsky and shohamy(1999a:41)suggest an obvious difference among three things, language practices language ideology and language policy.

Language practices are the actual use of linguistic repertoire, that is, the options among language varieties and languages accessible to a society. Language ideology is expressed generally in the observation regarding language the way it is applied and its use. (Mar'i,A 2002)Language Policy, is the means by which the government or other public bodies look to control or modify fundamentals in the language itself or in the status of a language, therefore language policy is the attempt to change or influence language practices by changing its status or structure.

Since the beginning of the 1950s the Israeli government has been uncertain on the matter of their policy towards Arabic as a second official language. According to Spolsky and Shohamy(1999,65)political reasons manifested themselves strongly when such governments tried to think about language policy for the Arab minority in Israel.

Implementing any language policy for the Arab minority had to be made by the Israeli government. Due to political reasons, the Arabic language has suffered immensely at the hands of the Israeli government because they were and still are, the only body entitled to implement and apply la...

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... background of a particular community.therfore,the relationship between the majority of the jews and the minority of the arabs,nevertheless the linguistic reality,confirms the interconnectedness between sociolinguistics and development.


-Smooha, S. (1989). “The Arab Minority in Israel: Radicalization or Politicization?”

Studies in Contemporary Jewry 5: 1-21.

-Spolskey,B and Shohamy,E.(1999)The languages of Israel:policy,ideology and practice.Clevedon:Multilingual Matters Ltd.

-M,Amara and A ,Mar’i Language education policy(2002)”the arab minority in Israel”1-15 Kluwer academic publishers


(Language Policy and the Status of Arabic in Israel ) Ali Jabareen

-Panorama newspaper, 1996
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