Young Moroccans, do they prefer English to French?

Young Moroccans, do they prefer English to French?

A beginning of linguistic switch begins to be felt in Morocco. The fourth French-speaking country in the world is slowly cut short with the language of Molière. For Najoua Alami, professor of French literature “ this prestige language begins to lose its momentum and experience a remarkable decline to give way to English“.

“Switch to English”, a new demand that young Moroccans are constantly demanding. The progressive generalization of the learning of English from the start of college was decided by the Ministry of Education, without however being in a logic of replacing French.

Contacted by us, Najoua Alami tells us that ” no one can deny that French is a privileged language in the Moroccan linguistic environment. However, in recent years, this prestigious language is beginning to lose its momentum and experience a remarkable decline to give way to English: a language that is becoming popular with young Moroccans.“.

Moreover, the International Organization of La Francophonie (OIF) estimates the proportion of French speakers in the country at 36%. Without being an official language, French continues to occupy an important place in economic life, administration and the media. It is the first foreign language of schoolchildren and enjoys the status of language of instruction in two thirds of higher education courses. Doubts, however, are being heard about the future of the Francophonie, faced with an attachment to the language of Molière which is disintegrating among a large part of young Moroccans, in favor of that of Shakespeare.

Several specialists question this penchant for English among young Moroccans. Can it be reduced to a fad, a utilitarian choice? Or does it take on a political significance due to the colonial past?

According to Najoua Alami, the new generation of young Moroccans seems to prefer English to French for several reasons.

” On the one hand, she said, iThey find that English is an easier and more useful communication tool that would allow them to open up to the world and access universal learning, and on the other handtheir penchant for English also takes on a desire to be among an elite who practice a language of seduction without difficulty”.

According to a survey published by British Council in 2021, 40% of young Moroccans consider English the most important language to learn, compared to 10% for French. Two-thirds believe that English will supplant French as the first foreign language in the coming years.

In short, not speaking English means risking missing the train of development, such is the new ideology of Moroccans.

Since Morocco’s independence, the French language has been present in the territory. No substitution policy has been able to dislodge it from its de facto status as a second language. Anchoring in the Francophonie has long seemed obvious, an unsurpassable horizon. Destabilized from its place as the first foreign language in Morocco, the French language risks being dethroned by English.

In short, this interest shown by young people in English will certainly have a great impact on the place of the French language in Morocco, something that clearly shows that Morocco and Moroccans are preparing for a new linguistic era. “, concludes our speaker.


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