A Critical Examination of the Arab Undergraduate Students’ Perceptions of their Academic Arabic Proficiency in Three EMI Universities in the UAE

  •  Taghreed Ibrahim Masri    


The overwhelming power that English enjoys has become a threat to many indigenous languages that are losing the battle against English dominance and hegemony. One facet for this threat is the use of English as a medium of instruction (EMI). The EMI policy has been a naturalized and taken-for-granted practice without questioning or problematizing. As a result, academic Arabic is almost absent from the academic scene in the UAE higher education. This study aims to problematize the use of English as medium of instruction at three universities in the United Arab Emirates. It also aims to critically explore the perceptions of Arab university students who were in Arabic schools, of their Arabic proficiency after studying at university. Based on critical theoretical framework and approached from interpretive and critical paradigms, the study used a mixed-methods approach of quantitative and qualitative data collection methods. 268 surveys and 20 semi-structured interviews showed that students were aware of the decline in their Arabic proficiency due to studying via English. Results also indicated that students showed symptoms of Academic language attrition.

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