This article appeared in a Canadian journal devoted to Francophone language policy, in its special issue on the state of language policy in North Africa. It covers the whole range of issues affecting Tunisia. While the state of French is a main concern, the article takes a broad approach, tackling the issue in the context of the country’s own diglossia (dialectal/modern Arabic) and the evolving status of English, as well as of the differing literacy rates for men and women there and in other Arabic-speaking countries. I look at gender attitudes to languages, the social context of teaching (opportunities to visit France/Britain etc.; access to modern teaching approaches), the imperatives of globalization and modernization (language literacy in relation to computer and technological literacy), and political background (state arabization policies, democratic deficit, impact of the foreign policies of France, UK and America). From this a complex picture is brought to light, with shifting roles for different languages, with French still playing a key role in social promotion, functional English becoming more widespread, and a tendency for local Arabic to move closer to standard Arabic. Finally I introduce the dimension of language as one of many life skills, needing to take their place along with technology, initiative and collaborative skills.
|Number of pages
|Revue d’aménagement linguistique [formerly ‘Terminogramme’]– Office québécois de la langue française (special issue on the Maghreb)
|Published - Dec 2004