Jhilila 1 Mohammed Jhilila Prof.

Shoul Language and nationalism 30/05/2008

The Future of National Languages in the Era of Globalization
With the accretion of the economic as well as cultural exchanges between the world’s nationstates, and because of the downfall of the traditional view of language as a central linchpin on the configuration of the national identity, many debates are held tackling the future of the national languages facing the strength of the globalization of English. Central to any talk nowadays is economy, since it is the most effective factor that raised exchange and the eradication of territorial boundaries. Being an economically developing country, Morocco seems to be a market place wherein many competitive languages such as French, Spanish, German and English are welcomed. Internally, Morocco is also marked by the richness of the number of varieties, lectal and linguistic, used by various linguistic communities. The richness of the dialectal variables in Morocco has some historical factors which I will refer to whenever necessary. The colonial era in its turn played a crucial role in defining the linguistic behaviour of the populations of Morocco: in the Northern provinces and the southern ones, Spanish seems still influential while French has greater impact on the other districts. With the dawn of decolonization, Arabic was declared the Moroccan national official language. Yet, with the advent of modernization, liberal views and democracy Tamazight and to some extent Hassani languages are resurrected. Language planning, in so far as Tamazight is concerned, is developing, while Hassani is confined to oral usages with little written texts. Standard Arabic, that is officially declared the national language, seems to be dwindling backward, at least in the administrative level, while Tamazight as well as Moroccan Arabic are given much importance. The raison d’êtere of the following paper will be highlighting how Standard Arabic, Moroccan Arabic and Tamazight, being all national languages in Morocco, can face the language of globalization. In this paper, I will investigate to what extent the national languages are affected by the languages of the metropolis. Classical Arabic seems to be intact

Jhilila 2 but the other competitive languages are given much concern. Language endangerment and the myth that the national languages may go to decadence because of the globalization of English or the Francophone one does not exceed the academic research which is based mainly on assumptions rather than on tangible data. Because globalization is an ongoing process, and given the fact that most of the population in Morocco are illiterate little impact is descried, and no real danger is threatening the national languages up to now. My hypothesis in stating so is because I think that either there is no such thing as globalization for Morocco, or that globalization is nothing new under its sun. With much hope to achieve an ostensible national identity and security, the newly independent African countries attempted to rehabilitate their national languages. Some of them were confronted by the multiplicity of the vernaculars used within their societies; others found, because of the economic underdevelopment, the workability of language planning and standardisation unprofitable and thus maintained the language(s) of the metropolis. Those, who were lucky enough, had full-fledge languages which they officialized without any problem. In Kenya, for example, many debates were held and many nationalist defended the standardization of local vernaculars, Gikuyu in this case with Ngugi. The English language is used among the Commonwealth countries, because of the political and economic strength of England. This latter is also strategically disseminated -it has become the second language taught in many countries and in some others the first one- in order to sustain the subservience of its allies’ markets. The debates held, scholar and political, revolving around the issue of globalization have to a great extent concerned themselves with the economic and political systems per se, but the linguistic dimension was a little bit marginalized. That’s why, I think, one needs to rethink the role of the linguists in so far as languages are concerned. Globalization, as Cameron. D (2001, p: 1) states it, leads either to “Englishization", or … more likely … individual and societal multilingualism and the preservation/revival of currently "endangered" languages”. The recurrent debates are erected to resurrect and sometimes for the sake of maintaining an ecology of languages. “Struggle between dominated and dominant groups for the right to survive includes what I have called "the ecology of language." By this I mean that the preservation of language is part of human ecology”. Strictly misunderstood and maligned, language rehabilitation is taken for granted as purposeless and fruitless. Some critics have gone far to romanticising the idea under the auspice that language does not affect one’s cultural feedback. In this respect, they not only deconstructed the notion of the Saussurian sign=signified parlance, culture- free.
signifier

they also made language a

Jhilila 3 With the growth of intercultural interstate communication little attention has been paid to the medium through which this communication is conducted. One can state that global understanding is reached through language. That language is the first stumbling block that maintained the existence of boundaries, the irrelevance of which can be reached through language globalization. Language turns out to be “the very lifeline of globalization: without language (or communication), there would be no globalization; and vice versa, without globalization, there would be no world languages.” The talk about the impact of G-localization – the term first used by English sociolinguists- of English is mainly due to its encounter with minor and weaker ones. Garland (2006, p: 3) suggests that there is a need of “some defensive strategies and concludes that the most likely to be effective are territorial concentration and diaglossia and that government support is a major protection.” The strategically planned permeation of English and that of some of Francophone originating languages worldwide is sensed from the yearly reserved fund to create and maintain the use of the languages of the metropolis outside their geography. This is done mainly envisaging the facilitation of the acceptance and consumption of the goods produced by these countries. The yearly report of the Ministry of Education in England reads as follows: . . . . We need to educate everyone to understand and be part of the global community, we need to equip people with the skills to compete in the global economy, and we need to work in strategic partnership with other countries to raise our own performance at the same time as they develop theirs. By participating in the international educational community, we can benchmark our own performance against that of our competitors as well as learning from each other. That is why this International Strategy is an essential tool in taking forward our domestic ambitions for education, skills and children’s services. (2007, p: 5) Teaching the language of the metropolis seems a strategic educational plan, which enables communication between world’s nations, and a necessary tool to maintain the metropolis’s security. In this passage, we also remark a tendency to compete with other languages when the author states: we can benchmark our own performance against that of our competitors as well as learning from each other (my italics). The United Kingdom, being a melting pot, attempts to both spread English use overseas and within its territory to assimilate the immigrants. The g-localization of English is strategically done by the civil society, represented by associations like the Association of

Jhilila 4 Colleges, as well as official departments like the LNSGP (Libertarian National Socialist Green Party) who shed light on the necessity of teaching English among the new immigrants, to facilitate their assimilation within the society, and worldwide to facilitate access to technology and data processing. Their claim is that “Languages contribute to the cultural and linguistic richness of [their] society, to personal fulfilment, mutual understanding, commercial success and international trade and global citizenship” (2002, p: 1). The permeation is encouraged through online teaching as well as visits on the ground sponsored by the official administration and private sectors. In the 2002 strategy report (p: 8), we read: “We are continuing to work with public and private sector providers to raise the quality and widen the range of online teaching and learning materials. We are determined to make the most of opportunities to collaborate with other countries by looking at how twinning can add to the learning experience”. English, in this plan, is regarded as the lingua franca, which it is, while teaching and learning foreign languages is regarded as a medium to better understand ones own culture and language. In a statement by the committee charged with the plan, we can read “Language skills are also vital in improving understanding between people here and in the wider world, and in supporting global citizenship by breaking down barriers of ignorance and suspicion between nations”. The report suggests as well that “Learning other languages gives us insight into the people, culture and traditions of other countries, and helps us to understand our own language and culture” (Ibid.,p: 13). Along side the strategic permeation of English worldwide, there are strategic plans to Anglicise populations worldwide. In the modern era, the nation state has become the legal and normative codifier and protector of linguistic particularism and has established multilingualism as a basic component of its national identity. In the case of the Moroccan officialdom, one observes how the declaration of the country’s independence was accompanied by the declaration of Arabic as the official language while the government maintained the use of French in the educational programmes. Monolingual teaching in Arabic starts in the primary schools through to the high school. Yet, once students reach the university the teaching process becomes monolingual in French while postgraduate students have to take English subjects. I am saying that the languages of the metropolis are strategically introduced because Morocco is seeking the modernization and the development of the country at the level of technology use. The incapacity and the non-competitiveness of standard Arabic, Moroccan Darija and Tamazight pushed the government to welcome French, starting from primary schools, and English, which nowadays is taught starting midschool, to boost data engineering and data processing. The general view held about Standard

Jhilila 5 Arabic, as being non-competitive, is an overstatement. One shall be tentative rather than assertive. Standard Arabic endangerment and decadence facing Anglicization seems an assertive overreaction towards this language. My contention in saying so is that the globalization of democracy and technology has provided the opportunity for many languages to promote and thrive. Standard Arabic is gaining ground though it is welcomed more in the Arab world and only to some extent elsewhere. To say that Standard Arabic is not influenced by the globalization of English is not accurate as well. When it comes to the syntactic, rhetorical and grammatical levels and because the two languages do not belong to the same family tree like French or Spanish, little danger can be descried. Yet, to be more functional on the level of technology and Mass Media Communication one can find some changes that are regarded as modernization of the language more than endangerment. One can find many Arabized words that Arab coinage lacks because of the absence of the production of technological inventions. One can also say that Arabic is overpowered by information. Information and Arabic rather meet and "interact with moderation and within reasonable bounds" (Altawajiri, 2004 p. 19). The era of the globalization witnesses and coincides with the increase of the rate of literacy among the Moroccan society and the Arab world; there are data engineering personnels, graduates from the universities and theoreticians remarkably nowadays more than ever. The impact of English is more at the level on coinage because of the shortage of the productivity of technological tools. The claimed imparity of Standard Arabic with information and data processing does not hold true. One notices that the aesthetic, rhetoric, syntax and grammar of Standard Arabic remain intact in so many fields related to literature but get affected when it comes to information ‘Aramedia’ flourishes. For him Standard Arabic has become subservient to information, and blurs the demarcation lines between reform and corruption (the emphasis is mine). Standard Arabic in the Arab world is losing its vitality while the colloquial vernaculars are more functional. This is the view of an optimistic figure about the impact of information globalization on Arabic but what about the stance of the pessimistic viewers? Abdulla. R in her article entitled "Arabic Language Use and Content on the Internet" suggests that one has to distinguish between use and content; for her the high rates of illiteracy, in the Egyptian society in this study, as well the governmental regulations and the misconception of the use of internet and information by the users themselves challenge the local languages part of which is Arabic. The estimated statistics provided by an international

Jhilila 6 non-governmental organization- Global Reach, 2004- states that there were in the world of information 145 host websites in Arabic covering a percentage of 0.3% of the total content available in Arabic. In other statistics provided by the Internet World Stats, dating June 30, 2007, the percentages computed estimate the number of the internet client using their native languages among the Arab world reached 2.5% with a remarkable growth in rate up to 940.5%.The growth of the users of the information and internet, Rusha argues (2008, 7) does not go hand in hand with the rate of Arabic content websites. In Morocco, one can speak about the same thing; internet use is growing rapidly but the websites created in Moroccan Arabic, Tamazight and Standard Arabic and targeting the Moroccan public are scarce. The problem is not only related to the websites construction, which is mainly because of the illiteracy in information technology, it is also because of the clients choices. The cyber users in Morocco are more chitchatters than researchers. What is remarkable is the fact that Tamazight, Moroccan Arabic and even Standard Arabic are written in Latin scripts and from the left to the right with the use of numbers to refer to some speech sounds that do not exist in Latin. So one finds that instead of greeting by saying ‫ السككلم عليكككم‬the chatter says: "Assalamo 3alaikom" – "3" stands for "‫ ."ع‬The phenomenon is not spreading only among the Moroccans it is also pointed out to by the researcher in Egypt. The reason behind this phenomenon is that the keyboards provide little opportunity, because there are some keyboards that contain Arabic script though in small size, to access Arabic script. That’s why internet users resort to Latin script. The problem, as it looks, is that of the users not the producers or informatics itself. Tamazight and Hassani vernaculars in their turn have benefited from the globalization of information and democracy. Within the last decade many reforms have been heralded by the Moroccan government aiming at taking care of the cultural and linguistic diversity in the country. One can cite in this respect the R.A.C.S.A (known as CORCAS in French acronyms) Royal Advisory Council for Saharan Affairs in the Moroccan Southern Provinces/ Sahara with its different departments and committees as well as the IRCAM. Both of the councils’ objectives aim at preserving the cultural aspect of the regions concerned. The Hassani started being recognized like Tamazight, people all over Morocco started listening to the local channel broadcasting from Laâyoune city. The local channel’s news and programmes are delivered in Hassani vernacular. One can hardly notice, may be because of the rurality of the region, that this vernacular is affected by the globalization of English. In the case of Tamazight, many movies and news are broadcast. Many newspapers written in Tamazight and defending the Amazigh cause also have emerged. During the colonial era and its

Jhilila 7 aftermath, the indigenes’ linguistic aspect was affected by Spanish, but nowadays the Spanish borrowed words have become part of the daily use that the coming generations hardly recognise. In Hassani family daily life, the use of Spanish terms is notable especially when it is related to daily pragmatic use. They use words like "spoon/cuchara, table/ mesa, school/ escuela" and many others in Spanish like meals "Maria Tenta", for example, mainly because of the long time of colonization, which started from 1884 up to 1979. Noteworthy is the fact that the globalization of a language, mainly because of its functionality in the international affairs, affected and nowadays affects the elite and the educated people more than the masses. The population that used and uses more a lingua franca in a society has always been those in contact with the metropolis. khalid Chaoush ( date, p: ) reflects how during the corsair time, during what was called “the black flags,” the palace was more influenced by the Portuguese, Spanish and English. The masses were far less affected since their interaction was more with their country fellows than with the foreigners. The commercial language that was used by the two parts of the treaties was the language of the metropolis. The captives were recruited as interpreters and authors of the letters of captive exchange between the Moroccan officials and their counterparts. Nowadays, the ministers, at least most of them, use more the language of the metropolis than their native ones. This is maybe mainly due to the fact that they received their education abroad. The high social class in Morocco uses French because of its prerogatives and prestigious aura. English is not spread as much as is French because of the relationship between the countries. There are of course many words that the Moroccans use and which are English in their origins like parking, flashback, but they are borrowed from French. Standard Arabic in Morocco is limited to sermon and religious use while it is not vital as it is less used in comparison with the colloquial ones. One can notice that the parliamentary sessions nowadays have been held with the use of both Standard and colloquial ones. King Hassan II used to deliver his speech in standard Arabic and resorted to Moroccan Arabic whenever he felt that his messages were not well communicated and because the population he addressed was most of it illiterate. Nishan, a Moroccan news magazine, inaugurated its monthly by using Moroccan Arabic instead of standard Arabic. Its first serials were, however, in French – it was entitled Telquel- but its board’s aim is to revive national languages and decolonize the knowledge field from the impact of French. In another website named Blafarancia *‫ ,بل فربسككية‬the board defends Standard Arabic and the other

Jhilila 8 national languages while at the same time tries to decolonize of the national languages from its French subservience. For them, the government as well as the Moroccans tend to use French in constructing websites rather than Standard Arabic. The first steps started by urging the Moroccan Media Company to provide the Moroccans with the ability to build websites in Arabic. What is striking, though, is that in the day of the inauguration of the website a song was entitled ‫ بل فرنسكية‬while the band’s name is 7 Men, which is in English. The continuous call for the declaration of Moroccan Arabic as the national official language is stressed by some members of the parliament. Mohammed Yatim, a member of the “Aladl wa Attanmia” party, says that the Moroccans shall find a united Moroccan Arabic. Morocco has been in direct and indirect contact with many countries and languages; its linguistic diversity ranging Morrocan Darijas, Tamazight and Standard Arabic is remarkable. Whether there is an ongoing influence on the linguistic behaviour of the Moroccan or not it is not tangible. It is noteworthy that change is a process that one can feel and sense only afterwards. Globalization, in the Moroccan case, is nothing new. The lingua francas of the entire world reached the country, Latin, with the Roman arrival to Walili- an ancient city between Fés and Meknés-, besides Arabic, the indigenous are Tamazight and Arabs installed in the area during the Islamic “Fotohat” /openings, Portuguese, starting from the second half of the fourteenth century, English, during the corsairs and the black flags, Spanish and French, during the colonial era. The openness of the Moroccans on the languages of the world does not mean necessarily that their local vernaculars and languages are doomed to extinction. Instead, they are widely used among the Moroccan themselves and are more practical than any other language. The fact that these languages have resisted the ancient lingua francas attests to their capacity to resist and thrive as well. To compete in the language markets, not languages themselves shall prosper, it is their communities that shall flourish. Given these facts, the richness and the strength of a given language reflects the strength of its cohort on the political, economic and cultural fields. In this respect, language is just an epiphenomenon that goes hand in hand with other factors. The old notions of language and nationalism and what they entailed, ranging glorification of a language and the endeavour of its purification, is now transcended. The world has moved away from pan-nationalism to pan-internationalism. The languages are no longer as pure as they might be claimed to be; even English the language that is now spread on the global scale borrows and had borrowed from many languages. Hitchings (2008, p.1) reports how English adopted a number of terms that lacked its diction. For him, English borrowed from more than 350 languages to strengthen its expressive ability. The attempts to

Jhilila 9 translate some words, like piano which was translated by Percy Grainge into keyed-hammerstring, to purify English have proved to produce dysfunctionality. The claim that language impurity creates social laxity proved to be more politically loaded than humanitarian. The loaned words qua arabized or translated did not harm its structural, rhetorical and grammatical competence. Instead, they endowed it with another aptitude in information technology. Originating from the German romantic era in which one’s existence is preserved as long as the language of one’s caste is preserved, Edwards (1985, p: 23) states that language was “seen as an outward sign of a group’s peculiar identity and a significant means of ensuring its continuation.” This notion was considered a truism, especially during the colonial era wherein language was a manifestation of the colonized resistance, but during the aftermath of decolonization in turned out to be a curse. Globalization does not thoroughgoingly lead to destruction of the national languages; on the contrary, it provides a better condition for the languages to compete on the global scale. Whether they would succeed or not it is the people’s economic and political strength that lead to that. It is noteworthy that even languages that were thought to be extinct, in Uganda for example, succeeded in launching, in collaboration with Microsoft, a Kiswahili windows product which reaches 100 million Kiswahili speakers in central Africa. The Uganda Communications Commission provided an opportunity to the Ugandans from all district to have access to internet and technology in their own vernaculars. Bamuturaki. M (2008, p: 42-3) reports the UCC manager wherein he declares “now that we appreciate that the language is one of the limitations for usage of the district we portals, we have provided a translated version of each portal into local languages.” When willingness is present, the subservience of information to one’s own language is not a myth, it can be done to meet both one’s immediate needs and to link one to the global community, through both languages of the metropolis and the locals. Thus, the ecology of languages will be achieved. The future of English itself, if taken from the economic strength per se, is doomed to be trespassed. Peter Mackey (1990, p: 2) reports that English itself is now heading backward, because other languages are winning ground on the global scale, despite the efforts exerted to maintain its position.

Jhilila 10

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