The Linguist

The Linguist 55,1

The Linguist is a languages magazine for professional linguists, translators, interpreters, language professionals, language teachers, trainers, students and academics with articles on translation, interpreting, business, government, technology

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Page 14 of 35 FEBRUARY/MARCH 2016 The Linguist 15 reduce divisions linked to language… But instead of reducing linguistic antagonisms within societies, the politics of language has become itself a source of serious problems." 7 Progress in the expansion of literary Arabic is remarkable, given the difficulties mentioned. Between 1965 and 1989, primary and secondary education was fully Arabised. In September 1989, the first Arabised cohort enrolled in science and technology at tertiary level. By 1999, Arabisation was at 46%. 8 However, it must be stressed that Arabisation did not go hand in hand with employment opportunities, of which there are more for francophone graduates. Arabophone graduates, as a result, share some sentiments with the youth of the Arab Spring, although they did not engage with that uprising. Today, the Ministry of Education facilitates the teaching of five major varieties of Berber languages: Kabyle, Mzab, Shawia, Chenoua and Tamashek. A survey of 1,051 secondary school students aged 14-20 revealed interesting results about their attitude towards the country's four major languages (dialectal Arabic, literary Arabic, French and Berber). It highlights the youth's rejection of monolingualism in any one of the languages and appreciation both for speaking several languages and for Algeria's multilingualism. The views of these young people seem to be far more representative of the current – and perhaps future – linguistic environment in Algeria than the views of older Algerians. A rival for French Where does English, as an international language, sit in the Algerian linguistic landscape? According to Euromonitor International, English is spoken by 7% of Algerians as opposed to 14% of Moroccans and 10-15% of Tunisians. However, Euromonitor research indicates several factors supporting the potential development of English in Algeria, among them an urban population interested in English for professional advancement; exposure to English via media, information and communication technology and social media; availability of English language training by the world's leading Linguaphone Group; agreements with the British Council and the US government to improve the country's foreign language education through teacher training; and oil and gas multinationals' demand for English speakers. All of these factors highlight English as a potential rival of French. Furthermore, it is necessary to underline the Islamists' interest in seeing French ousted for the brutal role it played in the past. Their argument is that if there is a need to know a second language, it should be English – the language of science and publishing. In this respect, Battenburg, an American linguist, remarks that "while French is more used; English is more loved". 9 Despite various strategic attempts to raise the profile of some languages while marginalising others, multilingualism and multiculturalism are very much part of Algeria's sociolinguistic and cultural environments. French is still prominent but literary Arabic is progressing in its expansion across the country, dialectal Arabic and Berber are thriving in everyday social interactions, and English is also becoming part of Algeria's language mosaic. Notes 1 Berger, A-E (2002), Algeria in Others' Languages, Cornell University Press, 1 2 Quoted in Ageron, C-R (1991), Modern Algeria: A history from 1830 to the present, Trans Michael Bret, London: Hurst, 21 3 Gordon, D C (1978), The French Language and National Identity, The Hague: Mouton, 151 4 Benrabah, M (2013), Language Conflict in Algeria. From colonialism to post-independence, Multilingual Matters, 48 5 Op. cit. Berger, 2 6 Ibid. 3 7 Op. cit. Benrabah, xiv 8 Ibid. 64 9 Quoted in ibid. 95 CULTURE OF RESISTANCE A cafe in Algiers in 1899 (top); and Stanisław Chlebowski's portrait of Abd el- Kader (1864), the military and religious leader who was at the forefront of the struggle against the French invasion

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