Friday, 21 October 2016
The Attitudes of Tigre-Speaking Students in Eritrea towards Studying Arabic and Tigrinya
The Attitudes of Tigre-Speaking Students in Eritrea towards Studying Arabic and Tigrinya as Second Languages at School: a case study, a 2003 Master of Arts thesis by Tedros Hagos Weldemichael
The educational language policy of Eritrea requires Tigre-speaking students (among others) to study at least one of the working languages of the country, Arabic and Tigrinya, as a school subject. As hardly any research has been done on the attitudes of the target students towards studying each of these languages. One hundred junior-school students between the age of 12 and 16 participated in the study. They were all Muslims (as there are a few Christian Tigre-speakers) from the Eritrean city of Keren. In this study, it was found that the respondents' attitude towards bi-/multilingualism was positive. Particularly, attitudes towards Arabic were favourable among most of them; attitudes towards Tigrinya were relatively less so, yet mostly positive. The main reason for favouring Arabic more (than even English) was related to its association with their religion. It was also found that 80% of the informants were favourably oriented towards studying Arabic as a subject in the future. The underlying motives appeared to be linked mainly with communication (at national and international level) and religion. Conversely, although the majority agreed/strongly agreed that Tigrinya should be taught to all Tigre children as a subject,' only 9% indicated that they would have liked to take this subject in the future.