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.


Blogger Steven said...

This will definitely be an awesome paper and I am excited to read it, especially since I missed your French Capstone :(.... but also because I have been to Morocco twice and will know exactly what you are talking about. There are so many different aspects of your two chosen topics that fit perfectly into the Moroccan linguistic situation.

April 11, 2011 at 8:16 PM  

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