Arab Nationalism in a Francophone Country: The French Language and Moroccan Identity
Arts and Sciences
This paper examines French colonization in Morocco (1912-1956) and the formation of Moroccan national identity. After gaining independence in 1956, the Moroccan government implemented a language policy that aimed to reconstruct Arab-Moroccan national identity by only allowing standard Arabic in public education. As a legacy of the French protectorate, French became the language of aristocrats and upper classes. Currently, the linguistic split between Arabic and French makes students unemployable and illiterate because schools are not adequately preparing them for Morocco's workforce. French language fluency is required in political, economic, and academic sectors. While most scholars focus on contemporary debates, my paper revisits French imperialism to understand the relationship between the debate over language and questions of national identity. I argue that French colonization shaped Moroccan identity through language. In particular, I examine how the French protectorate treaty transformed Morocco's national identity by introducing French language to Morocco's educational system. In the end, this research better explains the Francophone origins of Morocco and the effects of historical western colonization on an Arabian-Muslim country.
Attallah, Jewan, "Arab Nationalism in a Francophone Country: The French Language and Moroccan Identity" (2018). Symposium on Undergraduate Research and Creative Expression (SOURCE). 716.