Saturday, May 19, 2012

The Call to Abandon French in Morocco

Should Morocco abandon the French language? The question is now being openly debated after the government announced it was pushing for more Arabic programming on public television.

Seriously?  When The View from Fez investigated the statement above, we discovered that the debate appears to be limited to the Moroccan magazine Actuel which has a special feature devoted to the issue.

The magazine reports that Moroccan Culture Minister Mustapha El Khalfi has made reassurances that French programming will maintain its current share of airtime, but the push for more Arabic programs has raised the real possibility that the langue de Molière is destined to disappear in Morocco. Though the official languages have long been just Arabic and Berber, French is widely used in business, media and public administration.

Faut-il abandonner le français ? 

French is a remnant of the colonial past and the language of the moneyed elite say opponents, who argue that English is a much more useful foreign language nowadays. French is part of Morrocan culture, and does not exclude better teaching of Arabic, counter Francophiles, who insist French is still a formidable business tool. Yet, English is gaining ground fast and is hugely important for tourism.

Actuel's investigation included comparisons to the situation to neighbouring Tunisia and Algeria where French also remains well entrenched.

Our view? While we agree with those who say English would be of far greater use both culturally and for business, the French language is in Morocco to stay - so get used to it.

Read the full article in... French, here . There are some wonderfully divergent views expressed by readers.



Anonymous said...

Nous sommes dans un pays de schizophrénie linguistique. L'arabe dit classique n'est pas notre langue maternelle. Ma langue maternelle à moi et celle d'une large partie de la population est l'arabe marocain parlé dit "darija". C'est cette langue-là la grande perdante. Le français fait partie de l'histoire de la colonisation. Le plus important n'est pas de le supprimer mais de le cultiver comme l'anglais et les autres langues. Il faut que notre enseignement encourage le multilinguisme dès la maternelle. Certains voudraient revenir à l'école coranique et à la lampe à pétrole...
Bonne journée!

Rachida M said...

Teaching English is very important. Also Darija rather than Arabic. Sadly we are having to stay with French for a while.

Anonymous said...

Here's a novel idea... How about making sure everyone can actually speak, read and write in Arabic before we start pushing for English? Basic literacy and numeracy have a long way to go in Morocco.

Anonymous said...

I do'nt agree that "French language is in Morocco to stay". I believe that things are changing and times have changed. The colonial times are passed. Maybe we should get used to this..