Linguistic debate in Morocco

Morocco is considered among the countries that are known of the linguistic richness whereas three languages French, Arabic and Tamazight stand side by side. However, the distribution of these languages in the country emerges a linguistic conflict among different elites and movements. This section discusses different points of views related to the linguistic situation among the three languages, I mentioned in the sections before, in the literature review of four books in addition to other articles that belong to people of various tendencies.

Among the readings which support the thought that Morocco celebrates the linguistic
diversity with flexibility. Jamai stated (2009):

…It is the religious dimension of Classical Arabic that gives it such an eminence and
prestigious position amongst Arabic speech communities and their respective
varieties. This respect and prestige can even be extended to non-Arabic speaking
Muslim communities around the world. It is a question of faith for a Muslim to
believe in Arabic as the language by which God has chosen to reveal the holy book –
the Qur‟an.

The case of Non-Arabic Muslim countries as in the case Arabic countries, the classical Arabic owns the relevant position among the spirits of Muslims. The Amazighs maintains Tamazight during the twelve century side by side with classical Arabic. Therefore, Moroccan as whole show respect toward the body of the language which used in official and religious matters.

According to Ennaji (2005):

Today, French and Classical Arabic are used either simultaneously or alternatively in education, government, the public sector and the media. French is widespread in modern and scientific fields like industry, finance, medicine, telecommunications, transports, international trade and the like.

The classical Arabic and French extend alternatively over the various aspects of life. Morocco remains linked to the western countries through using French as means of communication while it is difficult with local varieties. Gellner (1972) stressed “I believe the impact of French culture in North Africa to be profound and permanent. In his heart, the North African knows not merely that God speaks Arabic, but also that modernity speaks French” (p. 19). Barely, the Arabisation took the time so as to reconstruct again the linguistic setting in the country because of the diverse trends that embodies among policy-makers. Beside, French is preserved to serve the country as a gate to Europe not in love of French but this language has imposed its role on the economic fields. Many of companies, factories of private sector deal with French excluding thoroughly the Arabic.

On the other hand, the Classical Arabic has developed to other varieties in order to suit modern needs. These varieties divided to modern standard Arabic which used in media, press, and administration has same grammatical features of the classical Arabic while it has lost hard vocabularies that it is exploited in Qurayshi poems ( Ennaji, 2005; Bentahila, 1983)and educated Arabic which used by intellectuals, it includes the phonological characteristic of Moroccan Arabic and terms from Classical Arabic (Jamai, 2009).

Linguistic debate in Morocco

Bentahila stated “The Amazighs admitted the superiority of Arabic over their own language” (1983, p.2). This saying reflects the respect that Amazighs have toward the written body of the Arabic and the significant role that Arabic plays in harmony of the Moroccans. Besides, this period was blurred among the French influence and Arabic-Muslim culture. On the other side, certain viewpoints agree of the debate related to the linguistic situation in the country. Mohammad Al-Fasi (1973) says:

Since the Protectorate authority took over the reins of power in our country, everything that was done in Morocco, without exception, was on the French model, in the French language, and with French methods.

Al-Fasi admitted that the protectorate influence went to the heart of the administrative system. Postcolonial period emerged a contradictory case in which the country had to rebuild the identity of the population and keep the regime established during the protectorate. In addition, the students‟ missions to the Europe came back after the independence were messengers of the French ideas and French modernity. These elites overlapped the big titles of new Morocco.

The landscape of new Morocco became modern strive to follow the steps of the European administration abandon the traditional life. However, several thinkers argued that the government should enhance the Tamazight language through codification. “The state began to deal positively with these demands since the speech of the Moroccan King in Agadir in October 17, 2001, which resulted in the creation of the Royal Institute for Amazigh Culture.” (Bouali, 2012, p.18). The decision was received opposition from different nationalists, Islamists and democratic bloc. Khalid Shebal of the government’s Institute for Arabization said “Arabic is the official language of our identity, our Koran and our nation. The Moroccan citizen is duty-bound to speak his national language “(2001). This rejection enticed the activists of the Amazigh movements that demand a practical integration of this language rather than the images in media and Articles.

I noticed from the literature review that there is diversity among the viewpoints. In next section, I am going to cover the data of the questionnaire beside its analysis.

Social aspect of linguistic debate


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