“I’m Praising God in the Language that He Loves”: Language Use in Religious Discourse


Religion has been a key factor in the linguistic inquiry. Due to its significance in social life, it came to be in an intertwined relationship with language. Much of linguistic research has focused on this relationship in institutionalized settings such as schools, mosques and churches. Yet, the study of the interaction between language use and religion in less or non-institutional settings has not attracted much attention. This study responds to this need by exploring the use of Arabic within an English-language Friday sermon to address a multilingual religious community at an on-campus Muslim prayer site in New Zealand. Drawing upon data from semi-structured interviews with 10 volunteer sermon presenters, the study identifies various motivations and functions of using Arabic in the Friday sermons from the sermon presenters’ perspectives. The overall conclusion is that Arabic language use in the Friday sermons goes beyond the communicative aspect of language.


Mohammed Y. Nofal


Arabic, Friday sermons, functions, motivations, religious discourse


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