English in the Maghreb

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter (peer-reviewed)peer-review

Abstract

Recent years have seen provocative headlines, enthusiastic consultancy reports and a handful of academic articles commenting on the 'rise of English' as a tidal wave ready to 'replace' French as the second language in North Africa. The wider linguistic context of the region is mostly described as heavily politicised and conflictual, with each language indexing political, social and cultural identities considered discrete and unchanging. As interest in the dynamics of language change in the region has been enmeshed within global (and sometimes triumphalist) discourses of the 'spread of English' and its successful relocation into nativised Englishes, English appears as 'neutral', the new 'language of modernity' and the key to bypassing traditional hierarchies. This chapter considers how discourses about English as a 'world language' are being understood and appropriated, and how they are reproduced, questioned and reconstructed through local practices. Tunisia, Algeria and Morocco will be the main focus but Libya will also be briefly considered, as although similar trends are observable across the Maghreb, local dynamics impact greatly on what users do with English and who these users are. The place of English in the region is more complex than simple tales of 'replacing French' or 'wiping the slate clean'. Translanguaging and reimaginings of individual and group identities intersect with mechanisms of elite closure and exclusionary language ideologies.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationBloomsbury World Englishes: Paradigms, Ideologies, Pedagogies
Subtitle of host publicationVolume 1: Paradigms
EditorsMario Saraceni, Britta Schneider, Theresa Heyd
PublisherBloomsbury Publishing Company
Chapter16
Pages258-273
Number of pages16
Volume1
Edition1st
ISBN (Print)9781350072022
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jun 2021

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