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Language shift or maintenance in Tamazight: A sociolinguistic study of Chaouia in Batna, Algeria.

Rouabah, Siham (2020) Language shift or maintenance in Tamazight: A sociolinguistic study of Chaouia in Batna, Algeria. PhD thesis, University of Essex.

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This work is a sociolinguistic study of Chaouias in Batna, the second largest Berber group in Algeria. It examines language choice and use in three understudied communities in the plains of Aurès. It takes a multidisciplinary approach built on sociolinguistic and sociological theories to examine the role of history, language attitudes, language policies, capital, and social networks in directing the process of language shift from Chaouia, a variety of Tamazight, to Algerian Arabic. Quantitative and ethnographic methods were employed to collect data. I used 304 questionnaires and 49 interviews, along with a social network survey and participant observation, to explore the dynamics of language use and discuss the mechanisms underlying the changing practices and attitudes of Chaouias at home, school and among friendship networks. The study concludes that the community is undergoing a shift in progress. Statistical analysis indicates that age, gender and region are significant in the decline of Chaouia and increased use of Algerian Arabic. Gender, however, seems to have a more salient impact in the inter- and intra-generational transmission of the language at home. Similarly, the social attributes of the speakers provide more explanation to language shift than their relations and the density of their networks. The qualitative analysis, on the other hand, reveals the declining symbolic capital of Chaouia, with the rapid increase of Algerian Arabic as an index of mobility, nationalism, religious and ethnic identity through state schools. Despite some positive attitudes towards Chaouia and multilingualism in general, the majority of respondents are not in favour of transmitting the language or teaching it at school. The findings, moreover, demonstrate that language practices at home, school, or among friendship circles feed into each other and legitimate the policies of each domain.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Uncontrolled Keywords: Chaouia, Tamazight, Algerian Arabic, language shift, social networks, home, school, language policy, language attitudes, capital, identity, domain, Berber
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences > Language and Linguistics, Department of
Depositing User: Siham Rouabah
Date Deposited: 03 Sep 2020 08:33
Last Modified: 03 Sep 2020 08:33

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