THE STATUS OF ENGLISH IN MOROCCO: LESSONS FROM SPONTANEOUS DEBATES IN SOCIAL MEDIA
Vol.7, Issue 2, 2021, pp. 187-208 Full text
Web of Science: 000737013000004
Abdelmajid Bouziane https://orcid.org/0000-0002-4138-2450
Affiliation: Faculty of Letters and Humanities Ben M’Sik, Hassan II University of Casablanca, Morocco
Conceptualization, Supervision, Methodology, Validation, Writing- review and editing, A.B. (lead); Project Administration, Data Curation, Visualization Writing – original draft M.S. (lead); Investigation, Formal Analysis A.B., M. S. (equal)
Morocco, a multilingual country with historical and geo-political legacies, has opened a hot debate on languages recently. Within this debate, this article investigates spontaneous comments in social media on languages in Morocco, especially adopting English as a first foreign language. It aims to bring this topic to the surface and thus discuss it in the light of research on language attitudes and language awareness. To do so, it analyses the reactions to texts about the declarations by the Minister of Higher Education shared in social networks and sites. The data consisting of 2,018 comments is classified according to 12 frequent patterns whose frequencies are calculated. The findings show that most of Moroccans have positive attitudes towards English while some show opposing reactions towards French. These participants hold ambivalent opinions about the rest of languages used in Morocco; however, they tend to insist on Morocco having a clear language policy which, seemingly, prioritises the mother tongues, Arabic and Amazigh. The discussions show that some investigated reactions are mitigated as they may be illusionary.
Keywords: social media, language attitudes, policy, Morocco
Submitted: 16 August 2021
Reviewed: 22 October 2021
Accepted: 28 November 2021
Published: 30 December 2021
Bouziane, A., & Saoudi, M. (2021). The Status of English in Morocco: Lessons from Spontaneous Debates in Social Media. English Studies at NBU, 7(2), 187-208. https://doi.org/10.33919/esnbu.21.2.4
Copyright © 2021 Abdelmajid Bouziane and Mohamed Saoudi
This open access article is published and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License (CC BY-NC 4.0), which permits non-commercial use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original author and source are credited. If you want to use the work commercially, you must first get the authors' permission.
Ajzen, I. (2005). Attitudes, Personality, and Behavior. Open University Press.
Alalou, A. (2018). The question of languages and the medium of instruction in Morocco. Current Issues in Language Planning, 19(2), 136-160. https://doi.org/10.1080/14664208.2017.1353329
Anderson, B. D. (2008). How Social Networks Influence Attitudes: Social and Informational Effects of Attitude Heterogeneity and Arguments. University of Minnesota Digital Conservancy. http://purl.umn.edu/45635
Anderson, C. (2013). "I Talk It and I Feel It": Language Attitudes of Moroccan University Students. (Unpublished BA Thesis). Swarthmore College. http://hdl.handle.net/10066/12511
Arbaoui, L. (2015, May 28). Moroccan Think Tank Calls for English to Replace French in Schools. Morocco World News. https://www.moroccoworldnews.com/2015/05/159494/moroccan-think-tank-calls-for-english-to-replace-french-in-schools
Baker, S. (2013). Conceptualising the use of Facebook in ethnographic research: as tool, as data and as context. Ethnography and Education 8(2), 131-145. https://doi.org/10.1080/17457823.2013.792504
Ben Haman, O. (2021). The Moroccan education system, dilemma of language and think-tanks: the challenges of social development for the North African country. The Journal of North African Studies, 26(4), 709-732. https://doi.org/10.1080/13629387.2019.1711061
Benmamoun, E. (2001). Language identities in Morocco: A historical overview. In Studies in the Linguistic Sciences 31(1), 95-106. http://hdl.handle.net/2142/9536
Bidlake, E. (2008). Whose Voice Gets Read? English as the International Language of Scientific Publication]. E-pistime 1(1), 3-21.
Bigo, C. (2021, July 26). SNRT : "English Time", un programme radio pour apprendre l'anglais.
Boukous, A. (2011). Revitalizing the Amazigh Language: Stakes, Challenges, and Strategies. [K. Bensoukas Trans.]. Institut Royal de la Culture Amazighe.
Boutieri, C. (2016). Learning in Morocco. Language Politics and the Abandoned Educational Dream. Indiana University Press.
Bouziane, A. (2013). Beyond gender: Is English becoming exclusive in Morocco? In Z. Abdellatif, & A. Badr (Ed.), Gender Issues in Language Education. Language Education for Learners with Special Needs (pp. 99-103). Moroccan Association of Teachers of English (MATE).
Bouziane, A. (2018). L'enseignement des langues au Maroc : état des lieux et perspectives. Bassamat 08, 27-52.
Bouziane, A. (2020a). Moroccan Students' Attitudes Towards Local and Foreign Languages: The Role of Self-Directed and Language Policy Forces. English Studies at NBU, 6(2), 295-320. https://doi.org/10.33919/esnbu.20.2.7
Bouziane, A. (2020b). Linguistic diversity in the Moroccan education system: (un)equal opportunities. In S. El Azhar, Plural Morocco: Multiculturalism and Identity (pp. 40-54). Faculty of Letters and Humanities Ben M'Sik, Hassan II university of Casablanca.
Bouziane, F. Z. (2021). The Role of Languages in the Development of Morocco: The Case of English. Unpublished MBA thesis. SIST Casablanca and Cardiff Met University.
Bouzidi, H. (1989). Language attitudes and their implications for education: Morocco as a case study. University of Glasgow. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). http://theses.gla.ac.uk/5371
British Council. (2021). Shift to English in Morocco. The British Council. https://www.britishcouncil.ma/en/shift-english
Buckner, E. S. (2011). The Growth of English Language Learning in Morocco: Culture, Class, and Status Competition. In A. Al-Issa, & L. S. Dahan, Global English and Arabic: Issues of Language, Culture, and Identity (pp. 213-252). Peter Lang.
Bullock, S. ( 2014). Language Ideologies in Morocco. Anthropology Department Honors Papers, Paper 11. http://digitalcommons.conncoll.edu/anthrohp/11
Chakrani, B., & Huang, J. L. (2014). The work of ideology: examining class, language use, and attitudes among Moroccan university students. International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, 17(1), 1-14. https://doi.org/10.1080/13670050.2012.718319
Charai, A. (2016, November 9). Why Morocco Is Investing in Africa. The National Interest.
Coleman, H. (2010). The English Language in Development. The British Council.
Coleman, H. (Ed.). (2011). Dreams and Realities: Developing Countries and the English Language. The British Council.
COSEF. (1999). Charte Nationale d'Education et de Formation. Coimbra Group ASBL. https://www.coimbra-group.eu/tempus/Docs/charte_fr.pdf
Cox, J. (1998). An Introduction To Marx's Theory of Alienation. International Socialism Journal 79, 41-62. http://pubs.socialistreviewindex.org.uk/isj79/cox.htm
Deng, B. (2015, JAN 6). English is the Language of Science. That's lousy luck for scientists in most of the world. Slate.
Eiser, J. R. (2001). Social Psychology: Attitudes, Cognition and Social Behaviour (8 ed.). Cambridge University Press.
El Kirat, Y. E. (2008). Bilingualism, Language Teaching, Language Transmission and Language Endangerment: The Case of Amazigh in Morocco. In T. Graaf, N. Ostler, & R. Salverda, Proceedings of the FEL XII (pp. 24-27). Fryske Akademy, It Aljemint, Ljouwert/Leeuwarden, the Netherlands.
Ennaji, M. (2005). Multilingualism, Cultural Identity, and Education in Morocco. Springer.
Et-tahiri, Y. (2019). Linguistic Attitudes of Moroccan University Students. (Unpublished Master Thesis). Faculty of Arts and Humanities Ben M'Sik, Hassan II University of Casablanca
Grin, J.-L. A. (2013). Language in Economic Development: Is English Special and is Linguistic Fragmentation Bad?. In E. J. Seargeant, English and Development Policy, Pedagogy and Globalization (pp. 243-266). Multilingual Matters. https://doi.org/10.21832/9781847699473-015
Hampton, K., Rainie, L., Lu, W., Dwyer, M., Shin, I., & Purcell, K. (2014). Social Media and the 'Spiral of Silence'. Pew Research Center.
Hampton, K. N. (2015). Persistent and Pervasive Community: New Communication Technologies and the Future of Community. American Behavioral Scientist, 60(1), 101-124. https://doi.org/10.1177/0002764215601714
Hampton, K. N., Shin, I., & Lu, W. (2017). Social media and political discussion: when online presence silences offline conversation. Information, Communication & Society, 20(7), 1090-1107. https://doi.org/10.1080/1369118X.2016.1218526
Hatim, Y. (2020, July 14). US Ambassador to Morocco Discusses English Teaching With Minister Amzazi.
Higher Council. (2015). For a School of Equity, Quality and Promotion: A Strategic Vision of Reform 2015-2030. Higher Council for Education, Training, and Scientific Research.
Hoare, R. (2001). An integrative approach to language attitudes and Identity in Brittany. Journal of Sociolinguistics, 5(1), 73-84. https://doi.org/10.1111/1467-9481.00138
House, J. (2003). English as a Lingua Franca: A Threat to Multilingualism? Journal of sociolinguistics, 556-578. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1467-9841.2003.00242.x
Idhssaine, A. (2021). Moroccan Language Policy and the Amazigh Language Revitalisation: Implications for Amazigh Ethnolinguistic Vitality. (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). Faculty of Letters and Human Sciences, Hassan II University of Casablanca, Morocco.
Ives, P. ( 2004). Language and Hegemony in Gramsci. Pluto Press.
Jaafari, T. (2019). Language Debates and the Changing Context of Educational Policy in Morocco. Journal of Global Initiatives: Policy, Pedagogy, Perspective, 14(2), 125-142. https://digitalcommons.kennesaw.edu/jgi/vol14/iss2/9
Jain, T. (2011). Common tongue: The impact of language on economic performance. MPRA Paper No. 34423. Munich Personal RePEc Archive. http://mpra.ub.uni-muenchen.de/34423
Kachoub, B. (2021). English in the expanding circle of Morocco: Spread, uses, and functions. Simon Fraser University . (Unpublished doctoral dissertation). http://summit.sfu.ca/item/21136
Kozinets, R. V. (2019). Netnography: The essential guide to qualitative social media research. Sage. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003001430-2
Kozinets, R. V., & Gambetti, R. (2021). Netnography Unlimited: Understanding Technoculture Using Qualitative Social Media Research. Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003001430
Kumara, S. U., Kumar, B. T., & Vinay, R. S. (2021). Research productivity on COVID-19: A Bibliometric approach. Library Philosophy and Practice (e-journal). https://digitalcommons.unl.edu/libphilprac/5461
Laitin, D., & Ramachandran, R. (2014). Language Policy and Economic Development. American Political Science Review, 110(3), 457-480. https://doi.org/10.1017/S0003055416000265
Law 51.17. (2019). Loi-cadre n° 51-17 relative au système d'éducation, de formation et de recherche scientifique. Government of Morocco. http://www.aneaq.ma/wp-content/uploads/2020/12/Loi-Cadre-51.17-Vr.Fr_.pdf
Loutfi, A. (2020). The Status of Mother Tongues and Language Policy in Morocco. The International Journal of Applied Language Studies and Culture, 3(2), 1-10. https://doi.org/10.34301/alsc.v3i2.27
Maddox, A. (2021). Netnography to Uncover Cryptomarkets. In R. V. Kozinets, & R. Gambetti, Netnography Unlimited: Understanding Technoculture Using Qualitative Social Media Research (pp. 25-43). Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003001430-3
Martin, J., & Christin, N. (2016). Ethics in cryptomarket research. International Journal of Drug Policy, 35, 84–91. https://doi.org/10.1016/j.drugpo.2016.05.006
McKenzie, R. M. (2010). The Social Psychology of English as a Global Language Attitudes, Awareness and Identity in the Japanese Context. Springer.
MoE. (2008). Rapport Résumé du Plan d'Urgence. Rabat: Ministry of Education.
Montgomery, S. L. (2013 ). Does Science Need a Global Language? English and the Future of Research. University of Chicago Press. https://doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226010045.001.0001
Morocco and the English Language Debate. (2018, July 31). http://riadzany.blogspot.com/2018/07/morocco-and-english-language-debate.html
New Development Model (2021). The New Development Model: Releasing Energies and Regaining Trust to Accelerate the March of Progress and Prosperity for All. Rabat: The Special Commission on the New Development Model. https://www.csmd.ma/documents/CSMD_Report_EN.pdf
NHMRC. (2018). National Statement on Ethical Conduct in Human Research 2007 (Updated 2018). National Health and Medical Research Council. Retrieved from https://www.nhmrc.gov.au/about-us/publications/national-statement-ethical-conduct-human-research-2007-updated-2018
Sadiqi, F. (1988). The Spread of English in Morocco. In A. Zaki, A. Boumoussa, M. Najbi, & S. Mehdi (Ed.), ELT in Morocco: Directions for the Nineties (pp. 69-79). Moroccan Association of Teachers of English.
Schmidt, R. (2010). Attention, awareness, and individual differences in language learning. Proceedings of CLaSIC 2010 (pp. 721-737). National University of Singapore.
Schwed, J. (2017). The Power Dynamics of Language: An Analysis of the Positionality of Amazigh Language in Morocco. Independent Study Project (ISP) Collection. https://digitalcollections.sit.edu/isp_collection/2632
Stebbins, R. A. (2001). Exploratory research in the social sciences. Sage. https://doi.org/10.4135/9781412984249
Steinert-Threlkeld, Z. C., Mocanu, D., Vespignani, A., & Fowler, J. (2015). Online social networks and offline protest. EPJ Data Science 4(19), 1-9. https://doi.org/10.1140/epjds/s13688-015-0056-y
Svalberg, A. M.-L. (2009). Engagement with Language: Developing a Construct. Language Awareness. Language Awareness, 242-258. https://doi.org/10.1080/09658410903197264
TESOL Quarterly. (2002). Special topic issue: Language and Development. TESOL Quarterly, 36(3).
The Royal Society. (2011). Knowledge, Networks and Nations: Global scientific collaboration in the 21st century.
Wortham, S. (2001). Language Ideology and Educational Research. Linguistics and Education, 12(2), 253-259. https://doi.org/10.1016/S0898-5898(01)00055-9
Zouhir, A. (2014). Language Policy and State in Morocco: The Status of Berber. Digest of Middle East Studies, 23( 1), 37-53.https://doi.org/10.1111/dome.12039
1. Reviewer's name: Undisclosed
Review Content: Undisclosed
Review Verified on Publons
2. Reviewer's name: Undisclosed
Review Content: Undisclosed
Review Verified on Publons
Handling Editor: Stan Bogdanov
Verified Editor Record on Publons