Language Maintenance and Heritage Language Education: The Case of a Weekend Arabic School in New Zealand

Morad Alsahafi


This study examines the perceived value of an Arabic weekend school in the process of heritage language maintenance and development among Arab immigrant children in New Zealand. Through an analysis of data gathered through semi-structured interviews with parents, children and teachers, as well as observation at this school, the study aims to gain insights into the participants’ perceptions of the school and its function within the Arabic-speaking community. The overall picture that emerged from the data regarding the Arabic community language school was that it represented ‘a key line of defense’ for Arabic heritage language development and maintenance that needed to be developed into a proper school which provided frequent and quality Arabic learning and teaching. Major themes articulated by the participants regarding the school and its perceived value will be discussed.


Arabic, Heritage Language, Immigrant, Language Maintenance, Weekend School

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