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DEBATING DARIJA : LANGUAGE IDEOLOGY AND THE WRITTEN REPRESENTATION OF MOROCCAN ARABIC IN MOROCCO

Auteur : Lee hall Jennifer
Année de Publication : 2015
Type : Thèse / Mémoire
Thème : Culture
Couverture : Maroc

Résumé/Sommaire :

For the past 15 years, Morocco has witnessed the emergence of new literacy practices in private and public space. This is occurring in part due to the liberalization and privatization of broadcast media and telecommunications, combined with the introduction of new media technologies. Moroccan Arabic, the colloquial, traditionally “unwritten” variety of Arabic, is now represented in written form in a number of new spaces such as non-formal education, SMS text messaging, street billboard advertisements, the scripts for dubbed foreign TV series, and a weekly news magazine. This dissertation examines these varied contexts and considers issues regarding when, how and by whom Moroccan Arabic literacy practices are performed in each site. Central to this analysis is the question of how particular literacy events are interpreted by interlocutors.
In doing so, this dissertation finds useful the analytic of ‘language ideologies,’ beliefs people have about language, in that they serve a mediating role between social structures and forms of talk. I argue that the emergence of Moroccan Arabic literacy practices may create a sense of ideological disjuncture for Moroccans who believe that Moroccan Arabic is solely an oral language that should not be written. I show that this ideological disjuncture is not experienced or reacted to in the same way in each context, due to the specificities of how Moroccan Arabic was represented, in association with which topics, and in opposition to which other languages. Ideologies linking Moroccan Arabic closely to notions of intimacy and hchuma ‘shame,’ figure centrally in how new forms of Moroccan Arabic are received.
The success of some written forms of Moroccan Arabic in certain domains opens the question as to a positive revaluing of Moroccan Arabic in these new contexts and a possible shift away from diglossia as an ideology of language. This dissertation productively uses the term ‘fractal recursivity,’ the semiotic process by which an opposition at one level can be either embedded or expanded to another level, to understand how written representations of Moroccan Arabic are understood across these different contexts and linguistic forms according to an oral/written binary. I argue that individuals and institutions actively maintain Moroccan Arabic’s lower position in the linguistic hierarchy through the reproduction of already dominant language ideologies that frame mother tongue languages in Morocco as oral, even when represented in writing. I show that while the use of Moroccan Arabic in literacy practices associated with modernity and innovation may be seen as challenging hegemonic ideologies, recently, public debates about language policy in education reveal that Moroccans place a high value on diglossia and thus a future institutionalization of Moroccan Arabic literacy practices is ambiguous.

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