Assistant Professor

PhD Applied Linguistics (Birkbeck, University of London, UK) 2015
MA Applied Linguistics (Birkbeck, University of London, UK) 2008


Fatma Faisal Saad Said took up her appointment as Assistant Professor in August 2019. She currently teaches and contributes to courses in the College of Interdisciplinary studies where she conducts research on the sociolinguistics of bilingual language development in children and family language policy among Emirati and expatriate families. 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 factors that contribute to the learning/non-learning of languages within the home and educational domains.

Fatma is an Editorial Board member of Multilingua (De Gruyter) and English Language Teaching (Oxford University Press); she is also reviewer for peer-review journals and various national and international 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.


Abu Dhabi - Khalifa City, MF3-1-031


+971 2 599 3483

Teaching Areas

Bilingual language development
Arabic-English bilingualism
Family language Policy
Language Socialization
Language Policy
Language maintenance
Interaction and identity
The sociolinguistics of multilingualism
Supplementary/heritage language schools

Research and Professional Activities

Said, F. F. S. (2022). Family as a System: Values and Ideologies behind Family Language Policies of Diverse Arabic-Speaking Multilingual Families. In L. Wright & C. Higgins (Eds.), Diversifying Family Language Policy (1st ed., pp. 213–236). Bloomsbury Academic; Bloomsbury Collections.

Said, F. F. S. (2021a). Arabic-English bilingual children’s early home literacy environments and parental language policies. European Early Childhood Education Research Journal, 29(3), 424–440.

Said, F. F. S. (2021b). ‘Ba-SKY-aP with her each day at dinner’: technology as supporter in the learning and management of home languages. Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 0(0), 1–16.

Said, F. F. S., Jaafarawi, N., & Dillon, A. (2021). Mothers’ Accounts of Attending to Educational and Everyday Needs of Their Children at Home during COVID-19: The Case of the UAE. Social Sciences, 10(4), 141.

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.

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 as PI (principal investigator):

  1. January 2021-ongoing (funded): Tracing Arabic-English bilingual development of early years children in the Gulf: The role of social interaction. The project investigates the bilingual language acquisition of young 2-4-year-old children in home settings. It intends to understand the process of lexical acquisition and understand the role interaction and input play in the process. The project is designed to collect data in the UAE (Abu Dhabi, AlAin) and in Saudi Arabia (Jeddah) with the cooperation of co-investigators at the King Abdulaziz University in Jeddah.

  2. July 2020- December 2020 (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 home-schooling, 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.

  3. February 2021-August 2021 (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 daily 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