Sociolinguistic in Algeria "Summary"

Topics: French language, Second language, Linguistics Pages: 5 (1887 words) Published: September 23, 2011
Several factors have been responsible for the complexity reflected in today’s linguistic situation in Algeria, some being historical, others political and still others socio-cultural. It is undeniable that, as a consequence of the diverse events that the country has gone through, the Algerian society has acquired a distinctive identity whose particular dynamic intra-and inter-lingual variation can clearly be attested in the way(s) people speak in comparison with the two countries, morocco and Tunisia (these latter are said to have lived through quite similar episodes, but for more shorter periods). Indeed, colonised for more than 130 years (1830-1962), Algeria was considered by the French government as a province of France which never be autonomous and separated from the « metro pole ». The impact of the French language and its culture was so powerful that it started to reflect in many Algerians’ speech and soon led ton sort of dual identity. The influence resulted in the usual linguistic phenomena that occur when two or more languages get in contact: the use of bilingualism and consequent code-switching, code mixing and borrowing pervading the mother tongue in addition to the well-established phenomenon of diglossia. Arabic and French co-existent in Algeria led to some kind of bilingualism, results from a double aspiration: maintenance of the mother tongue; one of the symbols of the Algerian socio-cultural personality, with Arabic and Berber as components of this identity that he Algerian wish to preserve, and openness to the world of modernity and technology through the French language. Indeed French is ‘strongly implanted at the lexical level’ as bouhadiba (1998:1-2) says. That is, a great number of French borrowing, both adapted and non-adapted, can be frequently attested in everyday speech, particularly in urban areas where French got hold more firmly than in rural ones. As a matter of fact, the Algerian society has been deeply influenced by French that we virtually cannot hear a conversation without at least a few French lexical items or expressions. These two aforementioned aspects, bilingualism and diglossia, characterize the linguistic situation in Algeria by a rich multiplicity and a real dynamics that the Algerian should know how to take advantage of in today’s context of globalization and wider communication by knitting closer relations with the western world, particularly with France and others French-speaking countries because of the socio-historical events that the country has gone through, in addition of course to its relationship with the Arab world. it is worth mentioning at this point that English is gaining ground in Algeria as a world language associated with advanced technology and scientific research, international economy and trade, and is thus increasingly favoured by the young in secondary schools and at the university. But whatever we may say about the importance of English as a world wild language, by virtue of the role that French has played in the socio-historical making contemporary Algeria, and by its being regarded as a colonial inheritance, it will always remain deeply ingrained, as it were, in the society’s linguistic practices alongside the other constituents of the Algerian sociolinguistic profile. The French language acquired high prestige among the population as it was associated with modernism and development, science and technology. It had become so strongly anchored as such in people‘s, minds that it was considered the language of success and progress. Meanwhile, Arabic was seen as the language of religion and ancient literature, and had lost much of people in general, and the politico-administrative functions that the authorities wanted to ascribe to it as the language of the nation. the use of French was especially attested among young educated people when they talked about topics related to scientific, medical, technical, juridical or philosophical fields. Indeed, the two...
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