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Arab Communication Practices and Culture
Student’s First Name, Middle Initial(s), Last Name
Institutional Affiliation
Course Number and Name
Instructor’s Name and Title
Assignment Due Date
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Arab Communication Practices and Culture
The Arab world is characterized by distinct communication practices and patterns that
stem from Arab culture. Arabs are an ethnically and religiously diverse group of people that is
commonly but not exclusively associated with Islam (FAS, n.d). A total of 22 countries spanning
the Middle East and North Africa are regarded as Arab countries (FAS, n.d). Arabs are however
not limited to residence in this particular geographical region. In essence, Arab identity does not
originate from a particular race or ethnicity but is based on the sharing of a common Arabic
language (FAS, n.d). Indirectness, code-switching, and repetition are some of the common
features of Arabs' communication and they can generally be traced to the cultural background of
the Arab population.
Indirectness
Indirectness is one of the features of Arab communication that can be explained by Arab
culture. According to Feghali (1997), indirectness is an implicit way of expressing one's
intentions and desires during a discourse. Ajami (2016) notes that the main message intended for
communication is what is implied rather than what is actually said by the communicating party.
These hidden coded messages in Arab communication are normally passed in an attempt to avoid
disagreeable, embarrassing, or even distressing interactions that are more or less associated with
direct or factual communication (Feghali, 1997). Feghali (1997) observes that the tendency
towards indirectness is also influenced by the notion of responsibility, attitudes towards
interpersonal life, and ideas about truth and personhood. In Hall's framework, this
communication pattern is associated with high context cultures such as Eastern cultures (Feghali,
1997).
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According to Ajami (2016), high context cultures such as that of Arab societies are often
general in their communication and identify little or no need to go into details. This pattern of
communication is based on the assumption that listeners are well versed in the background
information. Also, Ajami (2016) notes that in its highly contextualized nature, the Arabic-Islamic
culture is characterized by many words which are of immense implication and multiple meaning.
For such words, it is the context in which they are used that relays their correct meaning. Indirect
communication can also be linked to the collectivist nature of Arab society. Ajami (2016) notes
that in contrast to Western cultures, a strong sense of indebtedness and loyalty exists toward
family and community. As a result of this inclination, Nelson et al. (2002) advance that Arabic
speakers utilize multiple strategies to avoid situations that threaten their face-saving inclinations.
The tendency to communicate indirectly is therefore ingrained in Arab culture helps them to
achieve cultural obligations associated with the need to always guard the image of family and
community.
Code-Switching
Code-switching is one of the distinctive cultural communication practices among Arabs.
Alkhresheh (2015) defines code-switching as the alternation of a speaker between two or more
languages within the same conversation. According to Alkawaldeh (2019), code-switching is a
sociolinguistic feature in many multicultural and multilingual communities and countries in the
world. Code-switching, as a rhetoric device, allows multi-lingual persons to contextualize their
speech, control the flow of discourse, and even place emphasis where necessary. Code-switching
is also used to fill in the gap of expressive vocabulary (Feghali, 1997). Alkhresheh (2015) notes
that there are many Arabs who reside in countries outside Arab countries and hence second
language acquisition becomes necessary. Even within Arab countries, Feghali (1997) notes that
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many Arabic speakers code-switch between different forms of Arabic and also switch between
Arabic and Western languages such as English and French in most part depending on the
individual country of origin’s colonial background. Cultural contacts with other English-
speaking countries through means such as sports, trade, education, technology, among others by
Jordanian Arabs have particularly facilitated code-switching to English in daily conversations
among people of various ages and socioeconomic backgrounds (Alkhresheh, 2015). The
knowledge and use of English in the Jordanian society are further associated with social prestige
(Alkhresheh, 2015). This finding is similar to that of Alkawaldeh (2019) who observed that
code-switching to English among Arab students in a Saudi University was perceived to reflect
higher educational rank, prestige, and modernization.
Repetition
A third communication practice by Arabs is repetition. There exists both emphatic and
non-emphatic repetition in Arabic discourse which can be traced back to Arabic culture. Zaharna
(1995) posits that repetition in the communication culture of Arab societies, in contrast to
American culture, is accepted as a positive feature in communication. Repetition can either
present itself either as partial copies of what has been said or entire duplications of the same
(Reischild, n.d). It may also be exhibited through the use of several descriptive words or phrases
used in reference to a single phenomenon. Not only is it used in the context of a single message
but also as a strategy among multiple messages (Zaharna, 1995). Najjar (2015) advances that
repetition is exhibited in the lexical, morphological, and syntax of the Arabic discourse.
Emphasis is an important objective of repetition in Arabic communication patterns (Reischild,
n.d). Moreover, according to Reischild (n.d), repetition occurs when there is a need to avert the
contextual possibility of ambiguity in what has been said. Further, repetition in Arab writings
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and speech is common in answer formation. Rather than simple yes/no responses, the proposition
advanced by the speaker is mostly reflected in the answers of the person replying (Reischild,
n.d). Najjar (2015) additionally observes that repetition as an Arab communication practice that
serves the cultural purpose of ornamental intensification, reassurance, substantiation,
impendence, and exaltation.
Conclusion
This paper has endeavored to connect indirectness, code-switching, and repetition, which
are some characteristics of communication by the Arab community to the Arab cultural
background. Indirectness exhibited in active concealment of intended meaning can be explained
by, among others, the face-saving cultural trait of Arab society. Code-switching, another
communication practice is facilitated by the multilingual background of many Arab societies. It
is mostly a tool used to contextualize and enhance discourse for target audiences. Repetition is
also observed as an important communication pattern in Arab societies. It is severally reflected
and accepted in Arabic culture as a practice that delivers several benefits such as emphasis and
averting contextual ambiguity in speech and writing.
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6
References
Ajami, H. (2016). Arabic language, culture, and communication. International Journal of
Linguistics and Communication, 4(1). https://doi.org/10.15640/ijlc.v4n1a12
Alkhawaldeh, A. (2019). Code-switching between Arabic and English: Reasons, types and
attitudes as expressed by EFL female students at imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic
University. International Journal of English Linguistics, 9(6),
135. https://doi.org/10.5539/ijel.v9n6p135
Alkhresheh M. (2015). Code-switching and mixing of English and Arabic amongst Arab
students at Aligarh Muslim University in India. International Journal of Scientific and
Research Publications, 5(2), 1-4. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/346965313
FAS. (n.d.). Arab cultural awareness: 58
Factsheets. https://fas.org/irp/agency/army/arabculture.pdf
Feghali, E. (1997). Arab cultural communication patterns. International Journal of Intercultural
Relations, 21(3), 345-378. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0147-1767(97)00005-9
Najjar I. (2015). Repetition’ in Arabic-English translation: The case of Adrift on the
Nile. International Journal of Foreign Language Teaching & Research, 3(10), 24-34.
https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318967077
Nelson, G. L., Batal, M. A., & Bakary, W. E. (2002). Directness vs. indirectness: Egyptian
Arabic and US English communication style. International Journal of Intercultural
Relations, 26(1), 39-57. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0147-1767(01)00037-2
Rieschild, V. R. (n.d.). Emphatic repetition in
Arabic. https://ses.library.usyd.edu.au/bitstream/handle/2123/274/ALS-20060903-
VM.pdf
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Zaharna, R. (1995). Understanding cultural preferences of Arab communication patterns. Public
Relations Review, 21(3), 241-255. https://doi.org/10.1016/0363-8111(95)90024-1

Unformatted Attachment Preview

1 Arab Communication Practices and Culture Student’s First Name, Middle Initial(s), Last Name Institutional Affiliation Course Number and Name Instructor’s Name and Title Assignment Due Date 2 Arab Communication Practices and Culture The Arab world is characterized by distinct communication practices and patterns that stem from Arab culture. Arabs are an ethnically and religiously diverse group of people that is commonly but not exclusively associated with Islam (FAS, n.d). A total of 22 countries spanning the Middle East and North Africa are regarded as Arab countries (FAS, n.d). Arabs are however not limited to residence in this particular geographical region. In essence, Arab identity does not originate from a particular race or ethnicity but is based on the sharing of a common Arabic language (FAS, n.d). Indirectness, code-switching, and repetition are some of the common features of Arabs' communication and they can generally be traced to the cultural background of the Arab population. Indirectness Indirectness is one of the features of Arab communication that can be explained by Arab culture. According to Feghali (1997), indirectness is an implicit way of expressing one's intentions and desires during a discourse. Ajami (2016) notes that the main message intended for communication is what is implied rather than what is actually said by the communicating party. These hidden coded messages in Arab communication are normally passed in an attempt to avoid disagreeable, embarrassing, or even distressing interactions that are more or less associated with direct or factual communication (Feghali, 1997). Feghali (1997) observes that the tendency towards indirectness is also influenced by the notion of responsibility, attitudes towards interpersonal life, and ideas about truth and personhood. In Hall's framework, this communication pattern is associated with high context cultures such as Eastern cultures (Feghali, 1997). 3 According to Ajami (2016), high context cultures such as that of Arab societies are often general in their communication and identify little or no need to go into details. This pattern of communication is based on the assumption that listeners are well versed in the background information. Also, Ajami (2016) notes that in its highly contextualized nature, the Arabic-Islamic culture is characterized by many words which are of immense implication and multiple meaning. For such words, it is the context in which they are used that relays their correct meaning. Indirect communication can also be linked to the collectivist nature of Arab society. Ajami (2016) notes that in contrast to Western cultures, a strong sense of indebtedness and loyalty exists toward family and community. As a result of this inclination, Nelson et al. (2002) advance that Arabic speakers utilize multiple strategies to avoid situations that threaten their face-saving inclinations. The tendency to communicate indirectly is therefore ingrained in Arab culture helps them to achieve cultural obligations associated with the need to always guard the image of family and community. Code-Switching Code-switching is one of the distinctive cultural communication practices among Arabs. Alkhresheh (2015) defines code-switching as the alternation of a speaker between two or more languages within the same conversation. According to Alkawaldeh (2019), code-switching is a sociolinguistic feature in many multicultural and multilingual communities and countries in the world. Code-switching, as a rhetoric device, allows multi-lingual persons to contextualize their speech, control the flow of discourse, and even place emphasis where necessary. Code-switching is also used to fill in the gap of expressive vocabulary (Feghali, 1997). Alkhresheh (2015) notes that there are many Arabs who reside in countries outside Arab countries and hence second language acquisition becomes necessary. Even within Arab countries, Feghali (1997) notes that 4 many Arabic speakers code-switch between different forms of Arabic and also switch between Arabic and Western languages such as English and French in most part depending on the individual country of origin’s colonial background. Cultural contacts with other Englishspeaking countries through means such as sports, trade, education, technology, among others by Jordanian Arabs have particularly facilitated code-switching to English in daily conversations among people of various ages and socioeconomic backgrounds (Alkhresheh, 2015). The knowledge and use of English in the Jordanian society are further associated with social prestige (Alkhresheh, 2015). This finding is similar to that of Alkawaldeh (2019) who observed that code-switching to English among Arab students in a Saudi University was perceived to reflect higher educational rank, prestige, and modernization. Repetition A third communication practice by Arabs is repetition. There exists both emphatic and non-emphatic repetition in Arabic discourse which can be traced back to Arabic culture. Zaharna (1995) posits that repetition in the communication culture of Arab societies, in contrast to American culture, is accepted as a positive feature in communication. Repetition can either present itself either as partial copies of what has been said or entire duplications of the same (Reischild, n.d). It may also be exhibited through the use of several descriptive words or phrases used in reference to a single phenomenon. Not only is it used in the context of a single message but also as a strategy among multiple messages (Zaharna, 1995). Najjar (2015) advances that repetition is exhibited in the lexical, morphological, and syntax of the Arabic discourse. Emphasis is an important objective of repetition in Arabic communication patterns (Reischild, n.d). Moreover, according to Reischild (n.d), repetition occurs when there is a need to avert the contextual possibility of ambiguity in what has been said. Further, repetition in Arab writings 5 and speech is common in answer formation. Rather than simple yes/no responses, the proposition advanced by the speaker is mostly reflected in the answers of the person replying (Reischild, n.d). Najjar (2015) additionally observes that repetition as an Arab communication practice that serves the cultural purpose of ornamental intensification, reassurance, substantiation, impendence, and exaltation. Conclusion This paper has endeavored to connect indirectness, code-switching, and repetition, which are some characteristics of communication by the Arab community to the Arab cultural background. Indirectness exhibited in active concealment of intended meaning can be explained by, among others, the face-saving cultural trait of Arab society. Code-switching, another communication practice is facilitated by the multilingual background of many Arab societies. It is mostly a tool used to contextualize and enhance discourse for target audiences. Repetition is also observed as an important communication pattern in Arab societies. It is severally reflected and accepted in Arabic culture as a practice that delivers several benefits such as emphasis and averting contextual ambiguity in speech and writing. 6 References Ajami, H. (2016). Arabic language, culture, and communication. International Journal of Linguistics and Communication, 4(1). https://doi.org/10.15640/ijlc.v4n1a12 Alkhawaldeh, A. (2019). Code-switching between Arabic and English: Reasons, types and attitudes as expressed by EFL female students at imam Muhammad Ibn Saud Islamic University. International Journal of English Linguistics, 9(6), 135. https://doi.org/10.5539/ijel.v9n6p135 Alkhresheh M. (2015). Code-switching and mixing of English and Arabic amongst Arab students at Aligarh Muslim University in India. International Journal of Scientific and Research Publications, 5(2), 1-4. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/346965313 FAS. (n.d.). Arab cultural awareness: 58 Factsheets. https://fas.org/irp/agency/army/arabculture.pdf Feghali, E. (1997). Arab cultural communication patterns. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 21(3), 345-378. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0147-1767(97)00005-9 Najjar I. (2015). Repetition’ in Arabic-English translation: The case of Adrift on the Nile. International Journal of Foreign Language Teaching & Research, 3(10), 24-34. https://www.researchgate.net/publication/318967077 Nelson, G. L., Batal, M. A., & Bakary, W. E. (2002). Directness vs. indirectness: Egyptian Arabic and US English communication style. International Journal of Intercultural Relations, 26(1), 39-57. https://doi.org/10.1016/s0147-1767(01)00037-2 Rieschild, V. R. (n.d.). Emphatic repetition in Arabic. https://ses.library.usyd.edu.au/bitstream/handle/2123/274/ALS-20060903VM.pdf 7 Zaharna, R. (1995). Understanding cultural preferences of Arab communication patterns. Public Relations Review, 21(3), 241-255. https://doi.org/10.1016/0363-8111(95)90024-1 Name: Description: ...
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