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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 provides an analysis of how processes of categorisation of languages and varieties through strategies of designation would involve minoritisation and linguistic inequality in Morocco. The chapter also explains how language policies in the Moroccan state have been based on such designations in order to legitimate the state’s actions, on one hand, and linguistic subordination on the other. The situation of MA in the sociolinguistic regime and language policy will be the focus of analysis, together with the processes of minoritisation and inequality in which this variety is embedded.

Chapter 2 is a sociolinguistic description of the Moroccan linguistic field and deals with aspects of the multilingualism in Morocco, not just in terms of linguistic diversity but also in terms of linguistic variation and linguistic contact.

Chapter 3 deals with three aspects: i) a disquisitions on the concept of ideology and connecting it directly to the social context of Morocco; ii) a general theory of the notion of language ideology, something that has recently been studied in the disciplines of linguistic anthropology, sociolinguistics and discourse analysis; iii) content that deals above all with language ideologies related specifically to the standard variety, the process of standardisation of writing and spelling. However, the chapter also attempts to lay down a few points of clarification that start from a primarily critical sociolinguistic approach and examines the sociopolitical context in Morocco as an Arab country.

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