The Economist: Stumped for Words: Language Battle Hampers Algeria’s Development

The legacy of the French settler-colonial project continues to impact the politics of education in Algeria. “The republic’s official language is standard Arabic, but few children grow up speaking it, so they often feel lost on their first day of school. Berber, the tongue of perhaps a quarter of Algerians, was officially recognised last year – but no one can agree on which of its six dialects to teach,” notes an article for the Economist. “Algeria’s French-speaking elite prefer their old masters’ lingo.” Moreover, while the Arabization of Algerian society was once envisioned as a panacea against 132 years of French indoctrination, that plan too has faced criticism by indigenous movements that resist Arab cultural domination. Meanwhile, educational minister Nouria Benghebrit argues that Darija, the “mother tongue of most Algerians” and a fusion of French, Arabic and Berber, is in fact the optimal national language. Language goes hand in hand with identity, and indecision presents a challenge for higher education, literature and other communications in Algeria. – YaleGlobal

The Economist: Stumped for Words: Language Battle Hampers Algeria’s Development

Berber, French or Arabic? The legacy of French settler-colonialism continues to impact language and the politics of education in Algeria
Monday, August 28, 2017
Copyright The Economist Newspaper Limited 2017

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