Linguistic Landscape in the School Setting: the Case of the Druze in Israel

Document Type

Contribution to Book

Source Publication

International Perspectives on Bilingualism

Publication Date



Lydia Sciriha


Cambridge Scholars Publishing


Newcastle upon Tyne, UK



Last Page



Languages, Cultures & Linguistics


This study investigates the linguistic space marks in the Druze public school setting in the Mount Carmel area in Israel - the largest of Druze towns. Druze in Israel consists of 127,000 residents (about 1.7% of Israel’s total population and about 8.1% of the Palestinian minority in Israel). They share most cultural traits with the PalestinianIsraeli minority and are native speakers of Palestinian Arabic.

A close examination of the linguistic landscape of the school setting reveals that the linguistic capital of Arabic- Druzes’ first language is exceptionally decreasing when compared to that of the Hebrew language. In fact, the linguistic landscape of the educational system acts to empower the status of Hebrew instead of playing a major role in maintaining Arabic in the Druze linguistic market of this area. The question raised is the following: To what extent will these linguistic developments reflect hidden educational agendas of the State of Israel toward the Druze?

The results of this study confirm Isleem's (2013) findings regarding the predominance of Hebrew in the Druze linguistic market in the Mount Carmel area. Hebrew, the majority and national language of Israel, is found to have greater significance than Arabic. The predominance of Hebrew in this particular area is strongly due to its location, language contact, economic reasons and solidarity.

These findings raise major questions deserving of further study, including whether or not the relatively high capital of Hebrew in the linguistic market in the Mount Carmel area is predictive of what will happen in other fields, as in the educational system or inside residences. Another question raised by these findings concerns the extent to which the linguistic behaviour observed in the Druze school setting in the Mount Carmel area will affect the maintenance of Arabic among the younger generations.