Morocco

Another illustrative example comes from Morocco, a country that has been multilingual for centuries. There are three major language groups in Morocco: Berber, Arabic, and French. Berber, the indigenous languages of the Maghreb, has survived as the Low language in a diglossic relationship with Arabic (the High language) for 14 centuries. However, as is true in other Arabic-speaking countries, Moroccans use different varieties of Arabic, which can be placed along a continuum. At one end of the continuum is Modern Standard Arabic (MSA)—the written, standardized form used in religion, education, and government matters. At the other end is Dialectal Arabic (or Colloquial Arabic)—the spoken, non-standard form used in informal contexts. What this means is that there is another layer of diglossia in Morocco, with MSA as the High variety, and Dialectal Arabic as the Low variety.

In the early part of the twentieth century, a new High language entered the Moroccan linguistic scene. During the French Protectorate, French was clearly the High language of Moroccan society though it could not compete with Arabic in religious domains. Even today, French is still widely perceived to be the language of social success, and maintains a privileged position in domains such as commerce and finance, science and technology, and the media. This is despite the fact that the Moroccan government has implemented a drastic Arabization policy, with the goal of creating a monolingual Arabic-speaking nation (Marley, 2004). However, even after decades of implementation of the Arabization policy, French continues to be used in many important domains, and Berber speakers have become increasingly vocal in their demands for linguistic rights. Marley (2004) notes that despite the government’s prescription for monolingualism in Arabic, many Moroccans see bilingualism as key to a successful future for their country.

 
Source
< Prev   CONTENTS   Source   Next >