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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 5 Standardisation of Moroccan Arabic: Sociolinguistic Challenges and Ideological paradigms


5.1 Introduction

Current attempts to achieve a linguistic standardisation of the written variety of Moroccan Arabic for the future are influenced by a number of factors, including political, ideological and obviously sociolinguistic dynamics of change. These sociolinguistic dynamics of change naturally affect the way we conceive of both MA as a language and its standard model for writing. Therefore, language planning for the standardisation of MA implies a more comprehensive examination of this issue within the core of the Moroccan sociolinguistic regime. Specifically, what we would like to examine is the transition of MA from an oral to a written form and its subsequent use in different formal settings in which this variety has not previously been used. Similarly, we wish to observe how a possible standardisation of MA might precipitate a reorganisation of the country’s sociolinguistic regime.

Moreover, since writing is a linguistic practice and the chief manifestation of the standard form, it reflects, either directly or indirectly, a whole series of linguistic ideologies that go beyond the simple selection of a variety or particular register of the language to be standardised, and beyond the selection of the written standard. For these reasons, we will attempt to explain and interpret the entire process of standardisation of the written form and all of the sociolinguistic dynamics implied within it, based on the case of MA and relying on a theoretical framework covering standardisation, the ideology of the standard and the practice of writing as...

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