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An Ethnolinguistic Portrayal of the Arabic-Speaking Orthodox Christian Community of Antakya, Turkey

Journal: The Journal of Mesopotamian Studies (JMS) (Vol.2, No. 2)

Publication Date:

Authors : ;

Page : 143-158

Keywords : Ethnolinguistic Vitality; Language Shift; Multilingualism; Regional Languages;

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Results of the last census in Turkey showed that the total number of Arabic speaking population was 1.20% that is 5% less than the results of the 1960 census. One third of all Arabic speakers in Turkey reside in Antakya (Antioch). Although the population of the Arabic speaking communities in Turkey is in decline, research is needed to understand to what extent such linguistic change occurs. Hence, the purpose of this study is to study the status of the use of Arabic among Arabic-Speaking Orthodox community of Antakya while investigating the factors contributing to a possible shift from Arabic to Turkish. Fifty members of an Orthodox Christian Church established in Antakya participated in the study by answering a five-point Likert scale that was translated into Turkish and Arabic and was given to the participants in both languages. Results show that almost all participants find their reading and writing skills in Arabic weak or very weak and participants' language skills in Turkish have started to be stronger across all generations as younger generations use Arabic less successfully. Results also imply that Arabic language is threatened rather than it is well maintained when our results are considered from an intergenerational perspective.

Last modified: 2018-02-27 17:08:16