- Slides: 26
Language & Beyond in Morocco Meriem LAHRIZI TGC 2015
Morocco is a multilingual country where different languages and varieties are recognised and afforded hierarchical status. Such a hierarchy causes an unavoidable social (in) equality when one language or variation is chosen over another.
At the heart of the relationship between language and social (in)equality is the idea that some expressions of language are valued more than others in a way that is associated with some people being more valued than others and some ideas expressed by people through language being more valued than others.
• Multilingualism is perceived as the preferred condition regardless of any underlying inequalities. • Codeswitching is generic and considered a norm. It demands no real effort on the speakers though the obligatory aspect is highly admitted. • Functionality of language is the key concern.
Multilingualism in Morocco
Origins of Morocco's Multilingualism • In 146 BC, the Romans reached The Maghreb and occupied North Africa, overpowering the local people known as Amazigh (Berbers). • Arabs arrived in 680 AD establishing the first Moroccan state. The Arabs brought Islam, which dominated all aspects of life and demanded discipline and memorization of the Quran where the learning of Classical (Standard) Arabic (Fusha) was fundamental. Being a Muslim was seen as necessary to being a ‘true’ Moroccan. • By 1911, Spain occupied parts of Morocco and by 1912, The Treaty of Fes signed Morocco over to France as a protectorate. Inhabitants of these areas had to learn Spanish and French, as well as Fusha for religious practice and Derija , which evolved as the generic form of Arabic for Moroccans. • 1956 brought independence. By then, colonization had given birth to multilingualism.
The language Issue Today With ‘the end’ of the francophone dominance, the process of Arabization, began establishing Fusha as the official language. French retained it’s elite status as Morocco’s second language. Derija remained the vernacular. Tamazight was not recognised or afforded any status. Today, these four languages compete in the linguistic market (Boukous 1995; Elbiad 1985; Ennaji 1991) to vehicle culturally meaningful, social, ethnic and identity values in a pluralistic multilingual nation.
Linguistic Map of Morocco • • • The majority of the population is functionally multilingual and are assumed to be able to effortlessly switch from one language to another according to need between the following: Standard Arabic (Fusha) is the official language; Moroccan Arabic (Derija) the vernacular; Tamazight: the mother tongue (early inhabitants language). French, a relic of the colonial period. It maintains a dominant role as an elite language; English, Spanish … etc.
Fusha – Classical / Standard Arabic (SA) · Official language of Morocco – used in Quranic schools/ education (official teaching medium)/ media/ Government/ Marker of Muslim identity. · Written communication Derija – Moroccan Arabic (MA) · The lingua franca of Morocco used in public domains · Not written (can be written phonetically) · Used in trade transactions, on radio and television French · Superordinate second language of Morocco – used in government · Language of the urban and the elite - socially linked to modernity, openmindedness and job opportunity · Used in business and administrative sectors ·Used in schools as a second or third language (taught from Grade 2 onwards). Tamazight (Berber) · Developed from three main Amazigh dialects · Tifinagh is the newly written form developed from 2, 000 year old hieroglyphics · Used among Amazigh people primarily in private domains/ in rural areas · An oral language with traditions of folklore and fairy tales · Has a low status · the government introduced it to schools in 2004. Spanish Official language of Ceuta and Melilla English · Language of tourism · Language of the internet
Language & Social Inequality
Sources of Linguistic Social Inequality Different aspects of social life are seen as critical bases of linguistic social inequality: • • colonial role, economic position, Geographical area, and gender … etc.
Geography: Urban Vs Rural • Rural and Urban disparities are a consequence of decentralisation. • The language of urban industrial activity has or gains prestige relative to the language of rural farming or manual labour and sustains or gains ground in the actual use practices of a particular ethnic group. The political economic position of a group determines its attitudes toward other codes.
Language Inequality through Education
Language Inequality in Morocco • The 44 year French occupation left an education system dominated by the needs and ideologies of the colonizers. Colonization often leads to assimilation, integration and/or resistance as dominant cultures overpower minorities, effectively distancing individuals from their original society. The teaching medium from age six until university graduation was French, which absorbed and displaced alternative languages to become Morocco's primary language.
The use of the colonial language as the language of knowledge and opportunity, thus, erected a barrier to those without access to this language, thus establishing an elite class. • Correspondingly, the status and value of ‘Moroccan languages’ became hierarchical with the indigenous, or mother tongue, falling at the bottom.
Linguistic Choices • As the struggle for power and status begins, and internal and external pressures for prominence appear, linguistic choices vary. • A functioning multilingual society like Morocco has at least seven languages located within the hierarchy and involves strategic choices.
The Role of Politics in the language choices of ordinary Moroccans • Language movements and the politics of language are inherently and necessarily associated with the modern state and modern politics (Brass 2003). Which tongue you choose to speak to which person in what domain constitutes political decisions influenced by broad historical and cultural discussions (Sadiqi 2003; Norag News 2004).
Ideologies pervade language choice and language policy by categorizing which language practices are considered ‘good and valued’, ‘normal’, ‘appropriate’ or ‘correct’ and who are likely to win and lose in the ideological orientations (Creese and Martin 2003).
• E. g. Language became an indicator of prestige as particular domains e. g. education became grounds for specific language use i. e. French which in turn would signify the level of education (and therefore wealth) of the speaker i. e. urban, modern and powerful.
Effect of Multilingualism in Morocco • Maamouri (2000) identifies the gap between the language of formal education; the vernacular spoken at home, the marketplace and almost everywhere outside the school; and the absence of the mother tongue as a major cause of low learning achievement rates in schools and low adult literacy. • Fusha and French as keys to socio-economic promotion are difficult to learn because they are not native languages; lack immediate relevancy; are abstract and decontextualised; and bring with them linguistic insecurity.
• Little worth is placed on the introduction of Tamazight. • A large number of Moroccans perceive little use in learning Tamazight, even some Berbers. • Tamazight also appears to have been introduced to appease activists and international organisations. • Will ‘Standard Arabic’, Darija, or Tamazight achieve equal status with French and other European languages?
The Discrepency between School & Higher Institutions, and the Job Market!
References • Blommaert, J. 'The debate is open', in J Blommaert (ed) Language and Ideological debates, pp. 1 -38, Berlin, Mouton de Gruyter, 1999. • Boukous, A. Society, Languages and Cultures in Morocco: Enjeux symboliques, in 'Linguistic Conflict and Politics in Morocco: a proposal for analysis', A Moustaoui for congress on 'Linguistic Diversity, Sustainability and Peace', Barcelona (2004), 1995. • Bourdieu, P. Practical Reason, London, Polity Press, 1998. • Brass, P. R. 'Elite Interests, Popular Passions, and Social Power in the language Politics of South Asia', prepared for presentation at the 13 th annual conference of the Association for the Study of Ethnicity and Nationalism, London School of Economics and Political Science, 2003. • Creese, A. and Martin, P. in Hornberger N, ‘The Continua of Biliteracy and the Bilingual Educator: Educational Linguistics in Practice’, International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, (2004) Vol. 7, No. 2 -3: 155 -171(17), Multilingual Matters, 2003. • Elbiad, M. A sociolinguistic study of the Arabization Process and its conditioning actors in Morocco, unpublished Doctoral thesis, University of New York at Buffalo, 1985.
• Ennaji, M. (Ed). International Journal of the Sociology of Language , No. 87: 7 -25, New York, Mouton de Gruyter, 1991. • Ferdman, B. M. ‘Literacy and Cultural Identity’, Harvard Educational Review, Vol. 60, 1810204, 1990. • Gal, S. ‘Multiplicity and contention among language ideologies: a commentary’ in BSchieffelin, K Wollard and P Kroskrity (eds) Language Ideologies: Practice and Theory, pp. 3 -47, New York, Oxford University Press, 1998. • Haugen, E. ‘Language, dialect, nation’, in S Anwar (ed) The ecology of language, Stanford University Press, 1972: 237 -254 • Hymes, D. Ethnography, linguistics, narrative equality: toward an understanding of voice, London, Taylor and Francis, 1996. • Maamouri, M. 'Aménagement linguistique en contexte scolaire au Maroc', document de travail préparé sur demande de la Banque Mondiale pour présentation et discussion au Séminaire sur les langues d'enseignement, Direction des Curric ula, Ministère de l'Éducation Nationale, 2000. • Phillippson R and Skutnabb-Kangas T. 'English only worldwide of language ecology', TESOL Quarterly, Vol. 30, No. 3: 429 -452, 1996. • Ross, Samantha. The Mother Tongue in Morocco: The Politics of an Indigenous Education. September 2004. • Sadiqi, F. ‘Women and Linguistic Space in Morocco’, Women and Language, Vol XXVI, No. 1 : 35 Norag News 2004), 2003.