A Blog by the Editor of The Middle East Journal

Putting Middle Eastern Events in Cultural and Historical Context

Tuesday, August 2, 2016

Algerian Darja Notes from Lameen Souag; Also Issue of French in Schools

It's been a while since we've done anything on Arabic colloquials and related language issues. So here are some links. Algerian linguist Lameen Souag at the Jabal al-Lughat blog has been visiting his hometown of Dellys, and as usual has been writing linguistic notes on Algerian darja (colloquial Arabic usage in his home town. Here are his three posts so far:

"Darja notes: Elms and kids' morphology"

"Sara, Sara" (about immigrant language usage in Dellys)

"More Darja notes: oath complementisers, free choice indefinites, kids' morphology, finger rhymes"

Algeria not only faces the usual tensions between fusha (Modem Standard Arabic) and colloquial, but also wrestles with tensions between Arabic and the Amazigh or Berber languages, and the lingering cultural and social dominance of the colonial language, French. Recently it was suggested that math and science courses in secondary school be taught in French, to prepare students better to cope with university, where the subjects are taught in French. Here's a piece on the resulting controversy:

"Algeria's identity debate over adopting French teaching"

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