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Title:A Sociolinguistic Investigation of Language Attitudes Among Youth in Morocco
Author(s):Chakrani, Brahim
Director of Research:Bhatt, Rakesh M.
Doctoral Committee Chair(s):Bhatt, Rakesh M.
Doctoral Committee Member(s):Benmamoun, Elabbas; Kibbee, Douglas A.; Pandharipande, Rajeshwari V.
Department / Program:Linguistics
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Abstract:This dissertation investigates how language attitudes affect linguistic stratification and language use among Moroccan youth. The language situation in urban Morocco offers a unique venue for exploring how different linguistic codes, be they exogenous or endogenous, are represented and seek legitimacy and presence in contested and negotiated social domains. This dissertation brings a current understanding of language practices among youth in Morocco and contributes to a broader understanding of the sociolinguistic situation in Morocco and in the Arab world. Focus group participants use different discursive strategies to contest or rationalize the hegemonic discourse of modernity that shapes and is shaped by their language attitudes that they project toward different languages in Morocco. Studies on language attitudes have traditionally argued for aligning languages through covert and overt prestige, where local languages represent aspects of local culture, while the outward projection of social mobility motivates the acquisition and use of the transplanted varieties (Labov 1972; Trudgill 1983; Bentahila 1983; Marley 2004). Using a matched guise test, this dissertation broadens the scope of sociolinguistic research to analyze the covert language attitudes that shape the presence of H codes (Standard Arabic and French) and an L code (Moroccan Arabic). This analysis of covert attitudes shows that these languages are not uniformly distributed along the poles of status and solidarity but rather are competing for both. In addition to the investigation of language attitudes using critical discourse analysis and two matched guise tests, this dissertation contributes to the theoretical understanding of sociolinguistic research in Morocco by analyzing an overt language attitudes questionnaire. The main theoretical focus of the questionnaire provides us with an understanding of overt language attitudes, analyzed using diglossia and socioeconomic class stratifications, as well as reported language use, analyzed intergenerationally and by socioeconomic class. In spite of the maintenance of diglossia between local languages, namely Standard Arabic, Moroccan Arabic, and Berber, these results show how French and MA-French codeswitching permeate into lower functional domains, which undermine the presence of local languages. The results of this dissertation show that different data methods produce different results; therefore, the theoretical contribution of this dissertation is that more than one method of data collection must be used in order to validate a theory and more than one method of data analysis must be investigated before making any theoretical claims. The second theoretical contribution of this dissertation is that L codes do not hold exclusive appropriation to L domains. While MA and Berber in L domains are maintained through diglossia, which prevents the H code of SA from entering these domains, French has started to negotiate its presence in these L domains. This dissertation challenges the theoretical assumption that allocates H codes to the projection of overt prestige and L codes solely to solidarity, by testing covert attitudes within a pilot Matched Guise Test between SA and French, two H codes, and then adding the L code of MA to further test the relationship between the L and H codes in terms of status and solidarity. The empirical results of this dissertation challenge the conceptual understanding of language attitudes in Morocco and show a stratified outlook of these attitudes, divided along socioeconomic class lines. Thus, using data from Matched Guise Tests, a language attitudes questionnaire, and a focus group, this study reanalyzes the motivations behind the current attitudinal distribution toward different languages in Morocco, as well as the functional stratification these codes in various social domains.
Issue Date:2010-08-31
Rights Information:Copyright 2010 Brahim Chakrani
Date Available in IDEALS:2010-08-31
Date Deposited:2010-08

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