Kiki Giles | 2024 I.S. Symposium

Kiki Giles

Name: Kiki Giles
Title: My Language is My Culture: Language Attitudes, Language Use, and the Linguistic Identity Construction of Moroccan University Students
Majors: Anthropology; French & Francophone Studies
Minor: Middle Eastern & North African Studies
Advisors: Pam Frese; Harry Gamble

Morocco’s multilingual and multicultural makeup has produced a series of conflicts, particularly regarding language and identity. My study focuses on identity construction, language attitudes, and language use as they relate to Modern Standard Arabic, Darija, Amazigh, French, and English. To comprehend these relationships, this study draws on ethnographic surveys and interviews administered in the spring and summer of 2023 to students at the University Mohammed V in Rabat. These methods uncover the attitudes held toward languages, the usage of languages, and the intersection of language and identity in Morocco. The project reveals language attitudes and language use to be deeply influential on how Moroccan university students construct their identity and perceive the process of identity construction. My study also calls attention to the issue of identity rejection amongst Morocco’s Amazigh peoples due to negative language attitudes in and outside the community as well as the decline in Amazigh language use, both currently and across generations. Finally, my study questions the efficacy of efforts to revitalize Amazigh languages and the issue of officialization through reforms such as the constitutionalizing of Amazigh as Morocco’s second official language. Today, Morocco’s linguistic and cultural fields remain deeply stratified and Amazigh languages and identities have continued to suffer as a result of stigmatization. As I consider future research, I am especially passionate about exploring how Amazigh peoples conceptualize linguistic and cultural equality and how these groups visualize the reforms necessary to achieve these objectives.

Posted in Symposium 2024 on April 24, 2024.