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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 8 Different forms of Writing – towards a Standard for Moroccan Arabic


In this section, we analyse some models of a written form of Moroccan Arabic; although this is not officially recognised as a standard, the dissemination process taking place in diverse areas leads us to believe that it probably represents, de facto, the standard variety, or should be so considered, in view of the factors discussed below. For our purposes, a written linguistic corpus was selected for the following analysis, on the understanding that the existence of a standard language is necessarily related to the appearance and propagation of writing. With respect to the written form of the language that might be taken as standard, we believe this would be the form most widely disseminated in the literature and the media; on the one hand, this tends to enjoy a high status, and on the other, in our opinion it is the most systematised, setting the rules previously determined in the process termed “elaboration” in the previous section.

In our analysis, we will focus on three linguistic aspects: the morphosyntactic, the lexical and the phonetic-orthographic. We selected for the first of these aspects an example of a verb conjugation, that of the present, both simple and continuous, (which is the form presenting the most variation), this along with the use of some relative pronouns. In the case of the second aspect, we will analyse the different options that writers have taken in the use of the lexicon in Arabic, both MSA and MA. And finally, at the...

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