This study examines spoken and written data among young adults in Morocco to probe the effects of social factors on Moroccan Arabic-French code-switching, the use of two languages in a single conversation. Due to its colonial history, French remains an important language in Morocco but its use today in spoken discourse occurs mainly through code-switching with the vernacular dialect of Arabic. This study will examine, from a linguistic perspective, how speakers integrate these two grammatically diverse languages. While Arabic-French code-switching has been the topic of previous studies, the current project will quantify the rates of French usage among young adults of varied backgrounds to determine how social factors correlate with differences in observed code-switching grammatical patterns. At issue is how bilinguals utilize their linguistic repertoires in varied media and whether conventionalized forms of code-switching can be identified.

40 native speakers of Moroccan Arabic will participate in two task types: 1) spoken conversational tasks and 2) text-based chat via internet. In each task type, participants will be free to discuss any topic(s) of their choice in any language(s) they desire. The inclusion of both oral and written production of the same individuals allows for the identification of emerging linguistic conventions in this traditionally spoken dialect.

The focus of this study is to quantify the extent to which French permeates Arabic discourse and whether or not there are identifiable patterns of French use that correlate with social predictors, such as gender and class. Such an analysis will allow comparison with future research in other geographic areas. Additionally, this investigation will contribute to the study of bilingual language forms more broadly by creating a corpus of spoken and written mixed Moroccan Arabic-French discourse that will be shared with other researchers and adding to an understanding of language use in a post-colonial context.

Project Start
Project End
Budget Start
Budget End
Support Year
Fiscal Year
Total Cost
Indirect Cost
University of Texas Austin
United States
Zip Code