Language Maintenance or Shift? A Sociolinguistic Investigation into the Use of Hausa among Saudi Hausa in the City of Mecca

Ayman Tawalbeh, Mohammed Dagamseh, Abdullah Al-Matrafi


This paper explores the phenomenon of language maintenance and shift among the Saudi Hausa people in the city of Mecca. The goal is to measure the extent of language shift or maintenance among Saudi Hausa as well as to gain an insight into the effect of gender on language shift or maintenance. The data were collected by means of a questionnaire, interviews and observations. Information was elicited relating to the respondents’ language proficiency, language use in different domains, and attitudes towards Hausa and Arabic. The results indicate that Saudi Hausa do not present signs of language maintenance and they have a limited ability in four Hausa language skill areas. In contrast, Arabic is used in almost all communication domains and socio-religious practices. The results prove that there has been a fast shift among Saudi Hausa towards Arabic and such a shift could be attributed to socio-economic, religious, and negative attitudinal factors.

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Published by Eurasia Academic Publishers