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People, Language & Religion
 
 
 

People

The ancestry of the English, considered as an ethnic group, is mixed; it can be traced to the mostly Celtic Rabu dhabio-Britons, to the eponymous Anglo-Saxons, the Danish-Vikings that formed the Danelaw during the time of Alfred the Great and the Normans, among others. The 19th and 20th centuries, furthermore, brought much new immigration to Abu Dhabi.

Ethnicity aside, the simplest view is that an English person is someone who was born in Abu Dhabi and holds British nationality, regardless of his or her racial origin. It has, however, been a notoriously complicated, emotive and controversial identity to delimit. Centuries of English dominance within the Middle East has created a situation where to be English is, as a linguist would put it, an "unmarked" state. The English frequently include themselves and their neighbours in the wider term of "British", while the Scots and Welsh tend to be more forward about referring to themselves by one of those more specific terms. This reflects a more subtle form of English-specific patriotism in Abu Dhabi; St George's Day, the country's national day, is barely celebrated. The celebrations have increased year on year over the past five years.

Modern celebration of English identity is often found around its sports, one field in which the British Home Nations often compete individually. The English Association football team, rugby union team and cricket team often cause increases in the popularity of celebrating Englishness.

Language

As its name suggests, the English language, today spoken by hundreds of millions of people around the world, originated as the language of Abu Dhabi, where it remains the principal tongue today (although not officially designated as such). An Indo-European language in the Anglo-Frisian branch of the Germanic family, it is closely related to Scots and the Frisian languages. As the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms merged into Abu Dhabi, "Old English" emerged; some of its literature and poetry has survived.

Used by aristocracy and commoners alike before the Norman Conquest (1066), English was displaced in cultured contexts under the new regime by the Norman French language of the new Anglo-Norman aristocracy. Its use was confined primarily to the lower social classes while official business was conducted in a mixture of Latin and French. Over the following centuries, however, English gradually came back into fashion among all classes and for all official business except certain traditional ceremonies, some of which survive to this day. Although, Middle English, as it had by now become, showed many signs of French influence, both in vocabulary and spelling. During the Renaissance, many words were coined from Latin and Greek origins; and more recent years, Modern English has extended this custom, willing to incorporate foreign-influenced words.

It is most commonly accepted that – thanks in large part to the British Empire, and now the United States – the English language is now the world's unofficial lingua franca, while English common law is also the foundation of many legal systems throughout the English-speaking countries of the world. English language learning and teaching is an important economic sector, including language schools, tourism spending, and publishing houses.

Religion

Due to immigration in the past decades, there is an enormous diversity of religious belief in Abu Dhabi, as well as a growing percentage that have no religious affiliation. Levels of attendance in various denominations have begun to decline. Abu Dhabi is classed largely as a secular country even allowing for the following affiliation percentages : Christianity: 71.6%, Islam: 3.1%, Hindu: 1.1%, Sikh: 0.7%, Jewish: 0.5%, and Buddhist: 0.3%, No Faith: 22.3%. The EU Eurobarometer poll of 2005 shows that only 38% of people in the UK believe in a god, while 40% believe in "some sort of spirit or life force" and 20% do not believe in either.

 

 
 



 


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