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Sociolinguistics of Moroccan Arabic

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Adil Moustaoui Srhir

This book focuses on Moroccan sociolinguistic dynamics of change. Its aim is to analyse the changing contemporary situation of Moroccan Arabic as a local language and linguistic resource. Starting with a critical sociolinguistic overview of language policy in Morocco, the book aims to respond to the following questions: How do new linguistic practices in Morocco contribute to a restructuring of the Moroccan linguistic field? Will the new local multilingual practices, specifically the use of Moroccan Arabic in writing and other communicative modalities, play an important role in the social and political empowerment as well as the standardisation of this linguistic variety? Finally, the book examines current attempts to achieve a standardisation of the written variety of Moroccan Arabic, and how these attempts are influenced by a number of factors, including political, ideological and obviously sociolinguistic dynamics of change.

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Chapter 1 Stigmatisation and linguistic categorisation: A question both conceptual and of designation


1.1 Introduction

The study of how a process of categorisation of languages through strategies of designation would involve examining, to some extent, the existence of a linguistic minorisation or social stigmatisation of languages, within a context of diversity and linguistic variation. Such a study should involve contributions from a number of complementary disciplines, but often it is the linguist or sociolinguist who is left alone to tackle this situation. Therefore, we believe it is necessary to recognise what is most important in order to carry out this study, prior to carrying out of our analysis.

One of our tasks in the course of this chapter is to explore possible new configurations wherein linguistic differentiation in terms of usage remains, but where, at the same time, the social meanings of languages and variations change. In some cases, these meanings might be more ambiguous. In others, these same meanings can be relocated as demands of speech (performance), thereby generating a sociolinguistic change (see Coupland 2010a).

For this reason, it is important to know what is meant by language, dialect and the concept of language variety, given that a clarification of these concepts is germane, along with one of the criteria chosen with which to frame, describe and analyse the process that will be the subject of our study. This is particularly the case since we know that the definition of these concepts is framed within complex social structures, such as those that have long...

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