Monday, April 18, 2011


The topic of my paper focuses on the present linguistic situation in Morocco. It is hard for me to say that there is anything wrong the situation that it would merit a "solution" so to speak. The Moroccan population tends towards being bilingual, if not multilingual, which I find fantastic. Although the French language is the language of their former oppressor it has become a lingua franca and has helped give voice to various groups, such as women. One possible change in the situation could be an increase in tolerance towards Berber language and culture. There is a movement for the increased status of Berber but the language still falls behind French and Arabic although it predates the exitence of the two in Morocco. Equal recognition of all three languages would be ideal. Beyond that, I don't see anything that needs a solution.

Monday, April 11, 2011

New Topic

Due to the inevitable subjectivity of a lot of the research which I would use to develop my previous topic, Indian-American identity, and the short time available to compile enough information, I have decided to switch gears. My new topic will examine the languages spoken in Morocco, focusing mainly on the continued use of French, and how the linguistic situation there ties into the terms 'assimilation' and 'radical bilingualism'. I already have the majority of research done since it was the topic I explored for my French Capstone (senior thesis) last year. My task now is to apply the concepts from our post-colonialism class to the subject, as well as to translate my work from French to English.

Since Morocco gained its independence from France in 1956, the country has seen a slow revitalization of Arabic in its political and economical spheres (l'arabisation), as well as a small but proud Berber movement. Nonetheless, the depths of which the French language instilled its roots into Morocco during colonization is evident. Over half a century later and the French language is still prevalent in all spheres of Moroccan life, even in home life where code-switching is a common occurrence. Out of this legacy of the French language has grown radical bilingualism. People who associate themselves with the formerly colonized group are using the language of their former oppressor to broadcast their feelings, sometimes even the plight they suffered at the hands of that same oppressor. The irony of the situation is that the language of their oppressor opened up doors to them and gave them a voice in some instances. They may be able to effectively communicate in their native language but it is French which enables them to accurately describe what they set out to.

One of the most basic themes of colonialism is 'assimilation', the adaptation of a group of people to the cultural aspects of a different group. When thinking about the colonial situation, you would think that it would be the colonizer who would adapt to the culture of the land which they have just settled in, considering they are the outsiders as well as the minority. Adversely, it is the colonized who must assimilate to the the colonizer's culture. In Morocco, when the French set up shop, they did so with French as the official language. Everything to do with the government or the educational system, for example, was done in French. It became in the best interest of the colonized to learn how to communicate in French in order to continue surviving in their own country.

Monday, April 4, 2011

History & Background

Since the focus of my paper will be Indian-Americans I figure it might be important to give a little background on the colonial situation in India as well as on the immigration trend of Indians to America.

When we think of colonialism in India, we usually think of the British. But they certainly weren't the first. Throughout India's history there has been invader after invader come
down from greater Asia into the Indian subcontinent. When Vasco de Gama discovered a sea-route to India at the end of the 15th century, that whole area of the world was opened to Europeans for further exploitation, with which they wasted no time. Soon, in the 16th and 17th centuries, the Portuguese, the Dutch and the British had all set up shop in various port cities. The British, though, were the ones of seemed to exercise the most control, winning over the other European possessions in time. The British East India Company gradually gained control over trade in the entire Indian peninsula. After an unsuccessful rebellion of the Indian people in 1857 against British control, power was given over to the British crown, establishing the British Raj (king) in India. The Indian people suffered greatly under British rule. There were famines in which millions upon millions of people starved and Hindu-Muslim conflict was fierce. Beginning in the early and mid twentieth century the Indian people began to try to obtain independence in a variety of ways. Revolutionaries like Bhagat Singh used violent attacks on British forces while Mahatma Ghandi led the Indian people through nonviolent protest. India finally gained independence in 1947 after having been partitioned into Hindu India and Muslim Pakistan.

Indian immigration to the US began to increase after the passing of the Luce-Celler Act of 1946 which legalized the immigration and naturalization of Indians. The first few waves of immigrants consisted of men attending American universities to pursue engineering and medical degrees. Their families soon immigrated and now there is a more diverse group of Indians immigrating for various reasons. Indian immigrants account for 16.4% of the Asian-American community. The majority of Indian-Americans are highly educated. About 40% have a master's degree or higher. There still exists the trend of Indian-Americans working in the engineering, medical and technology fields.

This is just a brief background to the situation, but I at least tried to pinpoint the main ideas for you guys. :)