Language Maintenance and Language Shift among Second Generation Tigrinya-speaking Eritrean Immigrants in Saudi Arabia, a 2012 article by Hussein Ali Habtoor, pp. 945 - 955
Abstract—This paper addresses the language maintenance and language shift among the young Tigrinyaspeaking
Eritrean immigrants in Riyadh, Kingdom of Saudi Arabia. Sixty-four Tigrinya-speaking teenager
immigrants in Riyadh participated in this study. Forty of them are females and twenty-four are males. These
respondents are students enrolled in the Eritrean International School in Riyadh. The results reveal that
respondents have a limited ability to understand, speak, read, write, and translate orally Tigrinya into Arabic
and vice-versa. In comparing the level of their proficiency in both Tigrinya and Arabic, it is found that they
have a lower proficiency in Tigrinya than in Arabic. The use of Tigrinya is seemingly decreasing and the use of
Arabic is increasing. Therefore, there is evidence from this study that second-generation Tigrinya teenagers’
proficiency is shifting toward Arabic rather than maintaining the native language.
There are more than 100,000 Eritreans in the
kingdom of Saudi Arabia.