The effect of global English on culture and identity in the UAE: a double-edged sword

Sarah Hopkyns


The United Arab Emirates’ complex history, its current demographics, its youthfulness as a country, and the fact that it is a region undergoing fast-paced change make the issue of cultural identity particularly relevant and urgent in this part of the world. This is especially true given the rapid spread of English in the sphere of education and everyday life in recent years. This paper discusses the above issues before analyzing the attitudes and perceptions of female Emirati university students and female Emirati primary school teachers with regard to global English and its effects on local culture and identity. After analysis of the findings from a qualitative study using open-response questionnaires with thirty-five students and twelve teachers, a discussion follows with recommendations on how to overcome issues raised in the study.


culture; identity; global English; UAE

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