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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 9 Discussion and Conclusions


In this book we have analysed the sociolinguistic dynamics of change in Morocco, specifically those related with Moroccan Arabic as local linguistic resource. We note, from the discussion in Chapter 2, how the processes of minorisation and linguistic inequality in Morocco are linked to strategies of designation of the language varieties in society. We have also seen how, up to now, the Moroccan State has based its language policies in part on the use of these denominations to legitimise its actions and its sociolinguistic regime. Relations between the language varieties of the Arabic linguistic continuum, in terms of their relative levels of prestige (whether oral or written), currently play an important role in the distribution of the functions of these varieties and the perception of their status among Moroccan speakers. This also leads us to believe that a particular political line on linguistic diversity has influenced the degree of power and prestige attributed to them.

We believe that the essential paradigm now is the image people have of a language, its ideological representation and the cultural models that regulate opinions and points of view concerning it. This is what really generates responses, opposition and confrontation, without ruling out possible changes in function, ambits of use or status of MA in relation to MSA.

We also believe that the different language varieties are categorised socially, each category being closely related to a particular linguistic and cultural identity. In our view, the recognition of a language...

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