Fatma Said

Assistant Professor
  • Email:
  • Telephone: +971 02-599-3483
  • Address: Abu Dhabi - Khalifa City, F2-02-005

Fatma Faisal Saad Said took up her appointment as Assistant Professor in August 2019. She currently teaches and contributes to courses in the Language Studies and Educational Studies (Applied linguistics) departments and is presently working on a project that explores Emirati family language policies, ideologies, and language management.

Fatma obtained her PhD in Applied Linguistics at Birkbeck, University of London (2015). Prior to joining Zayed University, she was a postdoctoral researcher at the University of York, UK (2015-2018) and then Associate lecturer in Linguistics at Goldsmiths, University of London (2018-2019). Her research is centred within Sociolinguistics and Applied Linguistics and primarily focuses on the bilingualism of Arabic-English speaking children and their families. Fatma aims to understand why some children raised as bilinguals do not become bilinguals, whilst others do and what factors contribute to the learning/non-learning of languages within the home and educational domains. The interdisciplinary issues of identity, agency, language development, language maintenance, language socialisation and family language policy inform her work. Additionally, she has an interest in how current research methodologies can be enhanced to support multilingual data collection, management, and analysis.

Fatma is an Editorial Board member of Multilingua (De Gruyter) and a reviewer for peer-review journals and various funding bodies. She presents at conferences regularly and publishes on her research, in addition to supervising PhD students. She is also a visiting research fellow at the University of York, UK.

Roles and Responsibilities


Assistant Chair, Language Studies Department

Member of the College Curriculum Review Committee (CRC) in the College of Humanities and Social Science.

Member of the College Council (CC) in the College of Humanities and Social Science.

Roles and responsibilities to the academic community


Visiting Research Fellow to the Department of Education, University of York, UK

Editorial Board member of Multilingua (De Gruyter)

Research Coordinator for the Multilingual Childhoods SIG


PhD Applied Linguistics (Birkbeck, University of London, UK)
MA Applied Linguistics (Birkbeck, University of London, UK)

BA Arabic & Linguistics, (School of Oriental and African Studies (SOAS), University of London, UK

Previous Positions

2018-2019: Associate Lecturer, Department of English and Comparative Literature, Goldsmiths, University of London, UK.

2015-2018: Postdoctoral fellow, Department of Education, University of York, UK.

2013- 2015: Research Assistant (Sociolinguistics), King’s College, London, UK.


Multilingual Childhoods Special Interest Group

UK Linguistic Ethnography Forum (UK-LEF)

BAAL (British Association of Applied Linguistics)

Association Internationale de Linguistique Appliquée (AILA)

Society for Language Development (SLD)

American Applied Linguistics Association (AAAL)


English, Arabic

Research and Professional Activities

Research interests:

My research interests lie mainly within Sociolinguistics, Applied Linguistics and Multilingualism. I am interested in how multilinguals learn and use their languages in their everyday lives within the home and within educational domains.  In particular, I am curious about what speakers think of their languages and in turn how those beliefs affect how they learn and use those languages.  On the other hand, I have an interest in how bi/multilingual children acquire their languages and the role input plays in that process. Issues of identity, belonging, language socialisation, language development and language ideology inform my work.

Current Projects:


  1. July 2020- ongoing (funded)- Parental involvement in early years education during COVID-19 lockdown in the UAE: Issues of language and knowledge learning: This project aims to understand and describe parental involvement in children’s education during the COVID-19 lockdown among Emirati and non-Emirati families. It is particularly interested in; parental experience of homeschooling, how families managed their time (and devices), how living arrangements affect learning, and how languages are learned, taught, and used in the distance learning mode. Data for the project is collected twice, once during the distance learning phase (March- July) and now when schools are back (Aug-Dec). We will be interested in how parents and children are coping in hybrid, distance and on-site school learning. Initial analysis has started, and the findings will shortly be shared with the Ministry of Education, ADEK and parent groups across the Emirates.
  2. ongoing (funded)- Family language policy among families in the UAE:  The project explores the family language policies of Emirati families in the UAE and aims to understand what families believe about their languages, how they use their languages on a daily basis in the domain of the home and how they manage them.  


Multilingualism, Sociolinguistics, Family Language Policy, Education Language Policy, Arabic Language, Identity, Issues of Arabic Language teaching, Multilingual Language Development

Teaching Areas

ENG240 Academic Discourse across Disciplines (UG)

APL 341 Teaching English in Schools (Applied Linguistics) (UG)



Said, F.F.S. (forthcoming). Co-constructing trust and working with multilingual conservative hard to reach families. In Cohen Miller, A.S &., Boivin, N. (Eds.). Questions in Qualitative Research Methodologies for Multicultural Contexts. Abingdon: Routledge.

Said, F.F.S. (forthcoming). “No one teaches you how”: The challenges of transcribing and presenting multilingual data in sociolinguistics. In Samuelson, B.L &., Silvhiany, S. (Eds.). Learning to do research multilingually. Bristol, UK: Multilingual Matters (Researching Multilingually Book series).

Szczepek Reed, B., Bengsch, G., Said, F., Sally, J. & Davies, I. (2020). Arabic language heritage schools: The educational potential of celebrating identity and diversity. In Delgado-Algarra, E.J & Cuenca-Lopez, J.M. (eds), Handbook of Research of citizenship and Heritage Education, pp. 147-172.

Szczepek Reed, B., Davies, I., Said, F., Bengsch, G.  & Sally, J. (2020). Arabic schools and the promotion of fundamental British values: A community’s ambition for consensual diversity. British Journal of Educational Studies,  DOI:10.1080/00071005.2020.1713297

Szczepek Reed, B., Said, F., Davies, I., & Bengsch, G. (2020). Arabic complementary schools in England: language and Fundamental British Values. Language, Culture and Curriculum33(1), 50-65.

Said, F., & Hua, Z. (2019). “No, no Maama! Say ‘Shaatir ya Ouledee Shaatir’!” Children’s agency in language use and socialisation. International Journal of bilingualism, 23 (3), pp. 771-785.

Szczepek Reed, B., Said. F., Davies, I., & Bengsch, G. (2019). Arabic complementary schools in England: language and Fundamental British Values. Language, Culture & Curriculum, pp. 1-16.

Said, F. (2018.) Discourses of multilingualism, identity and belonging: The view of Arabic bilinguals in the UK. Journal of Social Science Education, 17(4), pp. 84-101.