The Status of English in Morocco: Lessons from Spontaneous Debates in Social Media
Keywords:social media, language attitudes, policy, Morocco
Morocco, a multilingual country with historical and geo-political legacies, has opened a hot debate on languages recently. Within this debate, this article investigates spontaneous comments in social media on languages in Morocco, especially adopting English as a first foreign language. It aims to bring this topic to the surface and thus discuss it in the light of research on language attitudes and language awareness. To do so, it analyses the reactions to texts about the declarations by the Minister of Higher Education shared in social networks and sites. The data consisting of 2,018 comments is classified according to 12 frequent patterns whose frequencies are calculated. The findings show that most of Moroccans have positive attitudes towards English while some show opposing reactions towards French. These participants hold ambivalent opinions about the rest of languages used in Morocco; however, they tend to insist on Morocco having a clear language policy which, seemingly, prioritises the mother tongues, Arabic and Amazigh. The discussions show that some investigated reactions are mitigated as they may be illusionary.
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