DIGLOSSIC SWITCHING IN ORAN: PENETRATION OF CLASSICAL ARABIC INTO DAILY SPEECH
Universidad de Cádiz, España
no. 25, 2018
Abstract: The present study deals with diglossic (conversational/ situational) switching from dialectal Arabic to Classical Arabic as it occurs in daily speech in the Algerian community. Our research question is: “What are the standard Arabic elements being embedded in the matrix dialectal Arabic in the Algerians’ everyday communication?” The objective is to examine and analyze these elements to get more familiar with the nature of Classical Arabic penetration to the Algerian majority’s spontaneous language behavior specifically in Oran speech community among university students.
Keywords: Diglossic Switching, Classical Arabic, Dialectal Arabic, Arabization, Daily speech, Algeria.
Resumen: En el presente artículo, trataremos la alternancia de códigos (conversacional / situacional) entre el árabe dialectal y el árabe clásico en el habla cotidiana de la comunidad argelina, centrándonos en el paso de voces y expresiones de la segunda variante a la primera. Nuestra pregunta es la siguiente: ¿Cuáles son los elementos del árabe clásico que están incrustados en el árabe dialectal matriz en la comunicación diaria de los argelinos? El objetivo es examinar y analizar estos elementos para comprender mejor cómo entran las voces del árabe clásico en el habla espontánea de la mayoría de los arabófonos argelinos, haciendo hincapié en la comunidad lingüística de estudiantes de Orán.
Palabras clave: Alternancia de códigos, Árabe clásico, Árabe argelino, Arabización, Habla cotidiana, Argelia.
ملخص: تهتم الدّراسة الحالية بالتناقل المزدوج اللغة (التّحادثي/ الظّرفي) من العربية اللّهجية الى اللغة العربية الفصحى في التّواصل اليومي في المجتمع الكلامي الجزائري. سؤالنا البحثي هو: ”ما هي العناصر العربية الفصحى التي يتم تضمينها في اللّهجة العربية المسيطرة على التواصل اليومي للجزائريين؟“. الهدف من ذلك هو دراسة تحليلية لهذه العناصر للتعرف على طبيعة تغلغل اللغة العربية الفصحى في السّلوك اللغوي العفوي واليومي للأغلبية الجزائرية وعلى وجه التحديد في المجتمع الكلامي الوهراني بين طلاب الجامعة.
الكلمات المفتاحية: التناوب في استعمال اللغة, العربية الفصحى, اللهجة العربية, التعريب, التخاطب اليومي الجزائ.
0. Introduction: Language Situation in Algeria
Throughout history, Algeria has been often described sociolinguistically as a North African mosaic. The indigenous inhabitants of North Africa as a whole are Amazighs and their language is Tamazight(). They are said to have come originally from several European spots and Northeast/ sub-Saharan Africa (Labed, 2015). The Phoenicians, who originated from Canaan and whose language was obviously Canaanite, joined later the North African population for the purpose of trade by 900 BC. The Romans defeated the Phoenicians between 264 and 146 BC and their language, Latin, gained large ground in North Africa to remain subsequently official during the Vandals’ ruling in the 5th century and then under the control of the Byzantines in the early 6th century. Next, the Arabs (see Section 1) arrived followed by the Spanish (1505-1791), the Turkish (1708–1732) and finally the French (1830-1962).
As a result, urbanized zones became multilingual() in character while the Amazighs who lived in isolated rural areas and mountains kept using their language solely and monolingualism() was therefore one symbol of their identity distinction (see Benrabah, 2014). A multilingualism induced-diachronic contact took place inevitably in cities between Tamazight and diverse languages including Canaanite, Latin, Arabic, Spanish, Turkish and French. The most profound influence on the native inhabitants came perhaps from the Arabs. Today, Algerian speakers of dialectal Arabic as a native language are estimated between 70 and 75% whereas those who have Tamazight as a mother tongue attain the percentage of 25-30%. On the other hand, the use of French is observed in parallel with local languages and its command varies from one bilingual() individual to another (see Benrabah (2014) for further details).
1. The History of Arabic in Algeria
Muslim Arabs settled North Africa in the mid-seventh century by virtue of expanding Islam among the Amazighs who converted rapidly in majority. The use of Arabic, the hallmark of the new religion, at the beginning was confined to big cities (e.g. Qayrawan, Tlemcen, Fes) and this type of Arabic was known as sedentary. The Bedouin type of Arabic appeared in the area in the eleventh century at the arrival of the second Arab’s wave, including Banu Hilal tribe that was dismissed by the Egyptian Fatimid Caliphate while welcomed by the Amazighs the other way around. Both populations mingled through marriage and daily intercommunication with the motivation of common bedouinity alongside with Islam. It is in this era that Arabic could take the lion’s share of use in North African countries.
Contact between Tamazight and Arabic was inescapable and substantial mutual influence took place. The outcome of Tamazight impact on Arabic for example was so profound that it has pushed some sociolinguists like Benrabah (2014: 44) to employ “Berberised” Arabic with reference to Algerian Arabic() varieties. More precisely, he explains: “As a substratum language faced with unequal contacts between conquering and conquered populations, Berber had little lexical effect on Arabic (the superstrate). Nevertheless, it exerted far-reaching structural influence on the latter’s phonology, morphology, and syntax.”
At the time of French colonization, the new governors came with the idea of making Algeria a strategic extension of France (see Le Roux, 2017) in Africa. They thought of an assimilationist policy of language as the latter mirrors identity. They started french-frying the country with special emphasis on education. Colonial culture was being transferred to the Algerians through their French teaching: This language is, for them, civilizing and therefore superior while the indigenous languages together with Quranic (Classical) Arabic are underdeveloped. In this way, the Algerians, according to the French policy makers, would claim the need for meeting modern standards, abandon their way of speaking and adopt the “prosperous” French with the feeling of their belonging to France.
After independence, the Algerian authorities were seeking for reconstructing the identity of the state by conducting a counter-colonial language policy to de-Frenchify Algeria (Benrabah, 2002, 2007, 2014). They endeavored to accelerate this process by declaring standard() Arabic as the unique official and national language of the country. However, this Arabization policy clashed with severe criticism on the part of many voices who perceived it as no more than a different face of another colonial monolingual policy (ibid). Again, this ideological decision, for criticizers, came to eradicate the native tongues (dialectal Arabic and Tamazight), and French, in the hope of their total displacement by standard Arabic in daily life. Further analysis will be given in Section 6.2.
2. Diglossia in the Algerian Speech Community
In his article “diglossia”, Ferguson (1959) described a language situation under the inspiration of Marçais (1930) (reported in Bouamrane (1986), Labed (2015) to involve not only the Arab world but also other communities worldwide under question. He identifies it as diglossia,
“[…] a relatively stable language situation in which, addition to the primary dialects of the language (which may include a standard or regional standards), there is a very divergent, highly codified ( often grammatically more complex) superposed variety, the vehicle of a large and respected body of written literature, either of an earlier period or in another speech community, which is learned largely by formal education and is used for most written and formal spoken purposes but is not used by any sector of the community for ordinary conversation […]” (Ferguson, 1959: 244-5).
Algeria has known this sociolinguistic situation after the implementation of the colonial language policy and the same situation persisted in the post-independence era out of Arabization process. Following the quotation above, Arabic is either High (H) or Low (L)(). In the present context, H is Classical Arabic whereas L refers to dialectal Arabic. Both varieties are genealogically interrelated but still differ in terms of phonology, vocabulary and grammar. For example, H and L could be similar lexically as they could lack equivalents. Also, they may share the same spelling with different meanings or they may be spelt differently but still share the same meaning. They also function differently, according to the same author, as summarized in the table below,
|formality political use religious medium media educational institutions literature codified and fixed||informality ordinary interactions daily activities Home Family discussions folklore Uncodified and variable|
3. Diglossic Switching in Algeria
Ferguson (1959) indicates on the other hand the probability of the emergence of intermediate language forms as a reaction to communicative pressure that results from diglossia. The author has been subsequently reproached for his superficial reference to these forms despite their recurrent emergence in communication, a fact that is the focus of the present study. He has rather emphasized that H and L are in complementary distribution such that H prevails where L does not, and the latter is used where the former is excluded as demonstrated in Table 1. That H and L are complimentarily distributed is further highlighted by Benrabah (2007: 247) when saying that Arabization in Algeria has attributed different functions to distinct language varieties (e.g. French and English) in the area and H and L are no exception: “For the majority of Algerians (1) their first languages, Algerian Arabic and / or Tamazight, allow them to draw their sense of national belonging (identity), (2) Literary/Classical Arabic is associated with Arabo-Islamic values (religion),…”.
Boussofara-Omar (2006: 630) does not share Benrabah’s belief and says that “Ferguson’s impressionistic and perhaps idealized characterization of the two varieties as being in complementary distribution functionally is removed from the reality of Arabic-speaking communities”. For her, Ferguson overlooks the perpetual interplay between Classical Arabic and dialectal Arabic. In addition, that H is today well-widespread among the Algerian youth, unlike the past decades when only literate elite had a good command of it. Middle Arabic, Educate spoken Arabic and other terminologies have been alternatively assigned to Ferguson’s concept “intermediate form”. Boussofara-Omar (2006) opts for the term diglossic switching(). It should be noted on the other hand that Arabic language varies stylistically in the sense that there is a whole continuum between H and L and this fact has, as well, skipped Ferguson’s attention. The number of styles is not determined neither is the position of the intermediate form which in fact is identified by researchers in various ways. According to Abboud-Haggar (2006), Arabic stylistic variation is linked to a variety of factors such as the topic, setting, the degree of H command, the relationship between the speaker and the hearer.
Diglossic switching is bi-directional. In a situation which implies diglossia, speakers may shift sometimes in an H conversation to L to clarify their speech. Or, they could shift in their daily interaction from L to H, a fact on which we place special emphasis currently. In the first case H is said to be the matrix variety while L covers the embedded portions. In this research, L is the matrix (dominant) variety whereas the embedded (secondary) elements come from H. Matrix and embedded language varieties() imply the occurrence of intrasentential code-switching or code-mixing within a given clause and opposes intersentential code-switching that is found at the boundary of clauses. Both above-types of switching are known as conversational code-switching which contrasts with situational code-switching (switching occurs when there is a change in the topic, setting, interaction members for instance). Diglossic switching can take situational or conversational forms.
Our point of departure in this research was a simple casual observation. We noticed that a conversational (intra-sentential and / or inter-sentential)/ situational switching occurs to embed standard Arabic utterances within the Algerians’ daily interactions that are predominantly dialectal. And this action occurs spontaneously among the interlocutors without any purposeful production. Our research question is: “What are the standard Arabic ingredients that are then embedded in the matrix dialectal Arabic within Algerian daily speech?” We have hypothesized that Classical Arabic constituents are used in everyday communication to fulfill the religious requirements of the Algerians. Our objective behind this study is to examine and analyze diglossic switching to standard Arabic in Algerian everyday speaking.
To check our hypothesis, we relied on a more careful observation of the linguistic behavior of Classical Arabic users by playing the role of complete participants. A complete participant forms part of the population under study without declaring his/ her status as a researcher. This observation instrument allowed us to gather some data that went through testing by using another research method, namely structured interview. At this phase, we worked on a pre-established list based on already collected data and asked the informants whether they made use of it in their ordinary conversations. The structured interview was undertaken at the university setting Ahmed Ibn Ahmed Oran 2, department of English. Our case study involved forty-two-year master’s students (eighteen males and twenty-two females).
5. Results and Discussion
Eighty-one expressions are the total number of data collected in the current study. In the following sections, we will analyze the findings by classifying them according their possible categories which have been the sources of diglossic switching among our informants. As we hypothesized, an important number of data fulfill the religious needs. However, our hypothesis is not totally validated since another significant portion of the findings covers other requirements in daily speech.
Muslims are not necessarily Arabs and therefore Arabic is not necessarily their original language either. However, they believe that they constitute one body having faith in Allah God whose last religion to Mankind, according to them, is Islam. And this religion cannot be copiously understood without learning Classical Arabic. Since the Quran is revealed in this language, Islam and Arabic go hand in hand. Most of the Arab world countries in the post-colonial time arrived to the conclusion that this relationship is so tight and inseparable between these two key components that it can contribute in maintaining the political stability of their states. Therefore, Arab governors agreed that the constitutional recognition of Islam and Classical Arabic was urgently required right after their countries’ independence. In Algeria illustratively, the Quranic language is the first official and national language of the country and Islam is the religion of the state. As they both reflect the identity of their population majority, this would supposedly bring harmony to the country and make of it homogeneous.
Classical Arabic is indeed, and according to Table 1, remarkably used to talk about religious topics. Although the list could be much longer, the findings at hand confirm the use of Quranic verses, prophetic sayings and Islamic moral expressions as embedded ingredients in Algerians’ everyday speech.
5.1.1. Quranic Verses
|(The Opening, 1) (سورة الفاتحة، 1)||In the name of Allah||bismillah||بسم الله|
Muslims usually use the utterance above to signal that they have started doing something (e.g. eating, sitting, moving, working) to ask for God’s benediction. When they finish, they also praise him in the Classical Arabic segment below,
|(The Opening, 2) (2 سورة الفاتحة،)||Praise be to Allah||alħamdulillah||الحمد لله|
To talk about appearances, the following verse is employed.
|“On their faces are their marks” (The Victory, 29)||سِيمَاهُمْ فِي وُجُوهِهِمْ (29 سورة الفتح)||on their faces are their marks||simaahum ʕala wuʒuuhihim||سماهم على وجوههم|
To announce a future intentional act, it is often accompanied by,
|(Joseph, 99) (سورة يوسف، 99)||if Allah wills||inʃaa allah||إن شاء الله|
Expressing exclamation is frequently used by,
|(The Cave 39) (سورة الكهف 39)||as Allah wills||maa ʃaʔa allah||ما شاء الله|
In the case of condolence, the Algerians show sympathy to support the family, who has known human loss by saying,
|(سورة البقرة، 156) (The Heifer, 156)||to Allah we belong, and to Him is our return||inna lillah wa inna ilajhi raaʒiʕuun||إنا لله وإنا اليه راجعون|
Or a doubt may happen to arise in a situation. The person concerned is told through the following verse that doubts rarely match reality and should be avoided,
|( (سورة الحجرات، 12 (The Inner Apartments, 12)||Suspicion in some cases is a sin||baʕɖa ɖɖanni iθm||بعض الظن إثم|
In the very ordinary conversations, individuals who tend to avoid witnessing or telling secrets are referred to as,
|(سورة البقرة، 18) (The Heifer, 18)||deaf dumb||ʂummun bukmun||صم بكم|
If ever someone has not appeared for a while and is still sought, it is indicated that he is (from),
|(سورة الفاتحة، 7) (The Opening, 7)||those whose (portion) is wrath||mina lmaɣɖuubi ʕalajhim||من المغضوب عليهم|
Muslims are required to follow the Prophet Mohamed() in his behaviour and in his sayings, of which some are below, because he is considered in Islam as the last messenger with the most correct version of God’s message to humanity,
|acts with intentions||al aʕmaal bnijjaat||الأعمال بالنيات|
He also says that if someone gets married, s/he has already accomplished half of the religion.
|half of the religion||niʂfu ddiin||نصف الدين|
If one goes through a difficult circumstance, s/he reacts by saying,
|there is no power nor strength but from God||laa ħawla wa laa quwwata illa billah||لاحول ولا قوة إلا بالله|
It happens also that individuals go into trouble. The prophet Mohamed teaches Muslims not to blame either the self or others but just accept the situation and submit it to God.
|It is the decree of Allah and what He wills He does||qaddara llahu wa maa ʃaʔa faʕal||قدر الله و ما شاء فعل|
As well, reliance for Muslims should be first on God in any circumstances,
|I have relied on God||tawakkaltu ʕala allah||توكلت على الله|
The Algerians usually say the utterance below when someone sneezes. This act is indicated in Islam as “تشميت العاطس ” greeting the sneezer,
|God bless you||jarħamuka allah||يرحمك الله|
Islam makes a difference between what Muslims are allowed to do and what they are not. Those who do not feel shame do fulfill the second case. That is, they are expected to disrespect religious rules,
|If you feel no shame, then do as you wish||in lam tastaħii fafʕal maa ʃiʔt||إن لم تستحي فافعل ما شئت|
Many of the apparent prophetic sayings are however declared as weak in the sense that they are not produced by the prophet Mohamed but are still referred as his. In our example the meaning is perceived as correct though,
|Cleanliness is next to Godliness||annaɖaafatu mina al imaan||النظافة من الإيمان|
5.1.3. Islamic Morality
Experts() in Islam oversee educating Muslims morally by drawing conclusions from Quran and prophetic sayings. If not possible, they rely on analogy with similar situations, or follow Prophet’s companions’ viewpoint about a special situation or event.
Swearing could occur in standard Arabic in everyday talking, too,
|I swear to God||uqsimu billahi qasaman billahi lʕalijji lʕaɖiim||أقسم بالله قسما بالله العلي العظيم|
Learning religion is paramount and should not be constrained by shyness in Islam,
|There is no shyness in understanding religion.||laa ħajaaʔa fiddiin||لا حياء في الدين|
There are several signs of the end of the world. A man who comes to claim Godhood is one sign. Other signs could appear. If known, the Muslim says,
|The Signs of Judgment Day||ʕalaamaat ssaaʕa||علامات الساعة|
The following is the Islamic greeting either socially or while worshipping,
|peace be upon you and peace be upon you||assalaamu ʕalajkum wa ʕalajkumu ssalaam||السلام عليكم وعليكم السلام|
Again, while sharing sympathy with the distressed family, the utterance below is said because it is believed by Muslims that this utterance could reduce suffering.
|May Allah increase your reward||ʕaɖɖama llahu aʒrakum||عظم الله أجركم|
With reference to above, the Muslim sneezer is required to provide this response,
|May Allah guide you and put your affairs in order||jahdiika llahu wa juʂliħu baalaka||يهديك الله ويصلح بالك|
The utterance below is used as the opening word of Islamic call to prayer and in is employed in the prayer itself. Also, it is a reminder of Muslim’s religious commitment.
|Allah is the greatest||allahu akbar||الله أكبر|
At the end of one’s life, the following is said if death comes out without long-term pain or trouble,
|All is well that ends well||ħusnu al χaatima||حسن الخاتمة|
If the opposite occurs, the utterance below is more appropriate,
|unwell ending||suuʔu l χaatima||سوء الخاتمة|
The Muslim through this collocation() admits imperfection and his/her knowledge limits compared with God,
|God knows||alʕilmu lillah||العلم لله|
Here, it is to ask for God’s benediction in what a Muslim wants to accomplish,
|God’s blessing||ʕala barakati llah||على بركة الله|
The end of the world means for Muslims a new life and the time for humans to be judged by God. It is the Day of Judgment or the Promised Day (الميعاد ). Due its importance, the informants tend to use the term with a figurative sense (as Promised Day Face) to ask for more consideration from the listener,
|Promised Day||waʒhu lmiiʕaad||وجه الميعاد|
5.2. Arabization Policy: Failure or Success?
As mentioned in Section 1, an ambitious political project has gone through implementation just after the country got its independence, and it has to do with Algerian de-frenchification via expanding Classical Arabic use into different fields, in addition to religion. As also said, this early stage has been the theatre of controversy as being not well-studied, precipitated and emotional. One weakness of Arabization is its disassociation from academic knowledge due to diverse causes. Shortage in translation into standard Arabic for instance has devalued Arabization policy (Benrabah, 2014). If it existed, it would be disordered and confusing. This fact has impacted unfavorably schooling manuals of which various parts are chaotically conceptualized. Therefore, the acquisition of knowledge among researchers and students takes rather place in other languages such as French and English. Another constraint against the promotion of Arabization according to Benrabah (2002, 2014) is the alarming lack of qualified instructors. Remarkably, this category opted for emigration to the Western world where professional and academic conditions are much more motivating. Finally, the author finds that Arabization policy has been conducted by the Algerian authorities without collaborating with language experts who warned against the possible worsening consequences due to the improvised application of this political decision.
When French colonialism reached its end in Algeria, the French language was still dominating the Algerian school by 1962. Standard Arabic was yet gradually gaining ground. “[…] only 5.5% (around 300,000) of the population literate in Literary Arabic” were estimated (Benrabah, 2014: 46). Yet, the spread of education has led to the spread of standard Arabic among pupils and students. This fact was further boosted by the increase witnessed in the Algerian population growth as well as the socialist-management economy adopted by the government between the late 60s and late 90s (Benrabah, 2007). Table 2 shows the rise in the number of enrolled pupils at the Algerian schools between 1962 and 2011.
|primary & secondary schools||648,000||3.9 million||7.8 million||8.2 million|
At the advent of the millennium, the rate of literacy reached 70%, after that it was in 1990 only 52% and much less in 1962 (10%) (Benrabah, 2014). Ahmed Ben Bella, the first Algerian president, inaugurated schooling Arabization in October 1962, and between 1963 and 1964, standard Arabic became the medium of instruction at all primary school degrees. Subsequent Algerian presidents followed the same Arabization process until the arrival of Abdelaziz Bouteflika who was appointed president of Algeria in 1999. This president showed less support to Arabization policy and claimed publically that the Algerian school has gone through serious deficiency (Benrabah, 2007): “[…] the imposition of an exclusively Arabic monolingual schooling system implemented during the nationalist phase is considered to be a major source of its current ‘failure’ […]’’ (ibid: 226). Yet, our data do not entirely support this claim but demonstrate that a few Arabization objectives have been reached at school. Special reference is presently made to literature, proverbs and idioms due to the importance of their use in everyday speech. And this fact invalidates our hypothesis that Classical Arabic is employed in daily speech for religious purposes only.
220.127.116.11. Literature: Poetry
It is assumed above that the absence of translation into standard has affected unfavorably schooling manuals. This is an overgeneralization against the Arabization policy: Not all the disciplines are necessarily in need of translation to reach their teaching objectives, including literature in its different aspects whether drama, prose, poetry or fiction. Literary production is also either written or oral and orality covers daily linguistic behavior that occurs spontaneously in various forms. It influences literature, and so does literature affect ordinary conversations as in the case of speakers in Oran. Particularly, poetry that pupils do at school is present in the form of verses they have learnt by heart or heard recurrently. As an illustration, the verse Man cannot reach all what he desires (تَجْري الرّيَاحٌ بمَا لَا تَشْتَهي السَّفَنُ ) is heard many times in interactions among the Algerians() and this is confirmed by the informants. It is used by a good number of Arab poets and as one of them is the well-known poet Abu at-Tayyib al-Mutanabbi (ابو الطيب المتنبي ) in his poem How can I be identified (bima attaʕallul بم التعلُّل ).
مَا كُلُّ مَا يَتَمَنَّى ﭐلْمَرْءُ يُدْرِكُهُ
تَجْري ﭐلرّيَاحٌ بمَا لَا تَشْتَهي السَّفَنُ
maa kullu maa jamanaahu al marʔu judrikuhu
taʒri rjaaħu bimaa laa taʃtahii assafanu
Man cannot reach all what he desires
the winds do not blow as the vessels wish()
Another verse is also commonly employed among Arab poets and then uttered by the Oranees is (لا حياة لمن تنادي ), just like it is illustrated in one of Abdurrahman bnu al hukmu bnu al ʕaaʂ (عبد الرحمن بن الحكم بن العاص )’s poems. It is said about someone who does not care,
لقد أسمعت لو ناديت حيا
ولكن لا حياة لمن تنادي
laqad asmaʕtu law naadajtu ħajja
w laakin laa ħajaat liman tunaadii
I called somebody alive
but he did not give any response()
Based on popular claims, Benrabah (2002) writes that Arabization has made of the Algerians bilingual illiterate. This is exaggerating, we find, since the author puts aside important language elements acquired by Algerian learners through this process of Arabization such as proverbs which pupils have the tendency to use as anonymous sayings in their everyday interactions. Despite its regional variation, a proverb has a universal value admitted in various contexts and has a significant effect on one’s mind. It is a human philosophical consensus about a truth given in a summarized and convincing way. It results from deep thinking or experienced knowledge.
Proverbial sayings have proved to be a beneficial device in language teaching owing to their precision and conciseness. Linguistically, new words, meanings and constructions are supplied to the learners and / or consolidated in their language repertoire. Communicatively, they are a more colorful and persuasive tool in carrying and transmitting a message. “Moreno and Di Vesta (1994) […] find that proverbs aid students in the comprehension and retention of new material as proverbs make main ideas more noticeable and relevant through the application of the selective attention” (Asimeng-Boahene, 2014: 118). Like literature, these collocations take a figurative, narrative, rhythmic or poetic form. They embody morality and wisdom,
|الحاجة أم الاختراعal ħaaʒatu ummu al ʔiχtiraaʕNecessity is the mother of invention||حبل الكذب قصيرħablu alkaðibi qaʂiirA lie has no legs|
|ان الله يمهل ولا يهملinna allaha jumhil wa laa juhmilGod is mill grinds slow but sure||لكل حادث حديثlikulli ħaadiθin ħadiiθ Don’t cross the bridge before you come to it|
They can be the source of advice,
|احفظ الميم تحفظكiħfaɖ almiim taħfaɖakMind your own business||المظاهر خداعةal maɖaahiru χaddaaʕa You cannot judge a book by its cover|
|الغائب حجته معهil ɣajib ħigitu mʕaahThe absent party is not faulty||فاقد الشيء لا يعطيهfaaqidu ʃʃajʔi laa juʕʈiih You can’t give what you don’t have|
Warning can be another function of the present embedded proverbial sayings,
|اذا زاد الشيء عن حده انقلب الى ضدهiðaa zaada ʃʃajʔu ʕan ħaddihi inqalaba ila ɖidihiAll work and no play make Jack a dull boy||كما تدين تدانkamaa tadiinu tudaan What goes around comes around|
|مصائب قوم عند قوم فوائدmaʂaʔibu qawmin ʕinda qawmin fawaaʔiduOne Man’s Meat is Another Man’s Poison|
When French colonizers were departing from Algeria, they persuaded massively European qualified professionals to emigrate. Later on, the migratory process involved also Algerian intellectuals who were looking for more favorable conditions outside their country. This (see Section 5.2) has offensively affected the Arabization process and was one reason behind its failure. Yet, the findings at hand have demonstrated the prevalence of standard Arabic in daily speech in one form of language that needs careful instruction. Many standard Arabic idioms (or idiomatic expressions) are used in parallel with those in dialectal Arabic. They “are fixed expressions whose meaning is not immediately obvious from looking at the individual words in the idiom […]” (O’Dell and McCarthy, 2015: 04). The authors here highlight the importance of learning idiomatic meanings and the way they are employed. They explain: “Sometimes in the past, teachers used to argue that it was a waste of time for learners to study idioms as they might start using them in an inaccurate or unsuitable way. But idioms are in such widespread use that it is inappropriate to ignore them” (ibid). So, the lack of qualified instructors did hinder idiomatic learning in Classical Arabic neither did it prevent their embedded occurrence within matrix Algerian Arabic.
Linguistically, some idiomatic collocations used by the informants have in common the conjunction و and or أو or. They may be also composed of two parts in which the first part is affirmative whereas the second is the negative form of the same sentence, as in
|حدث ولا حرجħaddiθ walaa ħaraʒtell me about it!||بين عشية و ضحاهاbajna ʕaʃijjatin wa ɖuħaaha overnight|
|أَكَلَ عَلَيْهِ الدَهْرُ وَشَرِبَʔakala ʕalajhi ddahru wa ʃarib to become obsolete||صدق او لا تصدقʂaddiq ʔaw laa tuʂaddiq believe it or not|
|عليها نحيا وعليها نموتʕalajha naħja wa ʕalajha namuutwe live for it and we die for it||أسمعك ما لا يرضيكʔasmiʕuka maa laa jurɖiik I make you hear what you don’t like|
Other diverse data we have come cross are listed as follows,
|فقركم سبب غنائيfaqrukum sababu ɣinaaʔiiyou poverty is the cause of my richness||الحب جنونal ħubbu ʒunuun love is madness|
|حب الظهور يقسم الصدورħubbu ɖuhuur jaqsimu ʂʂuduur the greater the outward show, the greater the inward poverty.||لبن العصفورlabanu lʕuʂfuur these nuts|
|واضحة كالشمسwaaɖiħa kaʃʃamsas plain as the nose on your face||تفاءلوا خيرا تجدوه tafaaʔalu χajran taʒiduuhhope for the best|
|على سبيل المثالʕala sabiili lmiθaalas an example||بدون استثناءbiduun stiθnaaʔno exception|
Middle-East instructors were hired to fill in the monitoring gap in Algerian education: “[…] 1,000 Egyptians were recruited as Arabic-language instructors. Most of these teachers turned out to be unqualified for teaching and totally ignorant of the Algerian social reality (Sarter & Sefta, 1992: 111–112). Their spoken Egyptian Arabic was incomprehensible to Algerians in general […]” (Benrabah, 2007: 230). However, the fact that the media is another sector, which has gone through Arabization process, has changed the situation. It also invalidates our hypothesis that restricts the use of Classical Arabic to the religious context in daily speech. Television, radio and newspapers reach the major number of the Algerian population and therefore have been seen as urgently in need of being de-frenchified. In the national Algerian channel, Egyptian serials have been broadcasted and the Algerians likewise have been introduced to the Egyptian speaking way and more importantly, the way standard Arabic has been used by them. Other broadcasts have been launched in standard Arabic in addition to the daily journalistic news and political/ economic/ sociocultural debates, which have had a linguistic impact on the Algerian audience. Some recurrent media collocations that have been detected in the informants’ speech are gathered below,
|خبر عاجلχabar ʕaaʒil breaking news||اليك الخطilajka al χaʈthe floor is yours|
|بغض النظرbiɣaɖ annaɖar no matter||علاقة جديةʕlaaqa ʒiddijja committed relationship|
|بدون تعليقbiduun taʕliiq no comments||بين قوسينbajn qawsajnin brackets|
|بدون سابق انذار biduun saabiq inðaarwithout warning||كل شيء ممكنkullu ʃajʔin mumkinanything is possible|
Sociolinguists like Benrabah (2002, 2007, 2014) state that standard Arabic came to specialize in religious and spiritual fields, and that the Algerian language policy makers’ objective to replace the mother tongue, dialectal Arabic and Berber, by standard Arabic was not achieved. Therefore, Arabization failed. We have nevertheless seen above that standard Arabic has not been the language of religion only, but it has also succeeded in penetrating to Algerian daily speech through school (standard Arabic literature, proverbs and idioms) and media. Adding to this, globalization has played a major role in bringing the world together and making of it a small village in which individuals, particularly the Arab world, can meet virtually through technology. The growing online facilities have encouraged computer-generated communication among the Arabs and the Algerians in concrete from different regions to interact in many times in standard Arabic to increase their mutual intelligibility. Simple collocations are used to establish relationships such as,
|صباح النور ʂabaaħu nnuurGood morning||ليلة سعيدةlajla saʕiida Good night|
|مع السلامةmaʕa ssalaama Goodbye!||ما هذاmaa haðaa What is this?|
|لا أستطيعlaa ʔastaʈiiʕI can’t||تحيا الجزائرtaħja lʒazaaʔir Algeria shall live!|
They also may come to discuss political and economic issues using the following frequent collocations in these fields,
|في الوقت الحاليfii alwaqti al ħaalicurrently||اذا اقتضى الأمرiðaa qtaɖa lʔamr in case|
|مشكلة عويصة muʃkila ʕawiiʂa serious question||حالة خاصةħaala χaaʂa special case|
|بكل صراحةbikul saraaħa frankly speaking||بدون مجاملةbiduun muʒaamalaTo put it blintly|
|بحد ذاتهbiħaddi ðaatihiitself||سؤال غبيsuʔaal ɣabij stupid question|
Algeria is a multilingual country in which more than two languages are used. It is also diglossic whereby two varieties of the same language source are used namely Classical Arabic and dialectal Arabic. Today, the gap between the two varieties is filled with different levels of Arabic ranging from the more to less formal due to diglossic switching as indicated by researchers, such as Boussofara-Omar (2006). In many studies and in our hypothesis, it has been stated that Classical Arabic in diglossic situations has the function of serving religious requirements. It is the language in which the Quran is revealed and the language that shapes the prophetic messages and his companies. Muslim experts in Islam have been inspired by these sources to carry on teaching morality in the Islamic way. Indeed, the findings confirm that Classical Arabic prevails in the Algerian daily speech to refer to religion and its specificities.
Nevertheless, not all data is restricted to this field and the recurrent claim that Arabization policy, implemented since the Algerian independence for expanding Classical Arabic use, has been a failure is not validated either by our results. Even if there is some failure, we say here that it is partial. In the case of daily life of the Algerian Oranees for example, the school has played a significant role in making this Arabic type penetrate in their ordinary communication using devices such as poetic verses, proverbs and idioms to make their speech more significant. Arabization through the media also has had important effects on Algerian Arabic and enriched it with embedded collocations, which, as well, are learnt as an outcome of globalization by intensifying intercommunication through technological online tools among the Arabs.
However, it should be mentioned that the list supplied presently is still not comprehensive and needs to be further supplied by data. Also, it is more significant to increase the number of informants all over the country to reach more reliable conclusions regarding the penetration of Classical Arabic in the ordinary interactions of the Algerian majority.
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