Complexities of the Arabic Language in France
When the Family Reunification Acts of 1976 (Regroupement Familial) was passed in France in 1976, thousands of North Africans working in France, most of whom served in the French Army during World War II, were able to bring their wives and children onto French territory. This marked a turning point in French history; today, second-generation men and women of North African descent comprise an increasing percentage of the population of France. Most speak slang Arabic with family and French outside the home. In urban areas, French youth use a few Arabic words in their everyday French. Some people in France consider Arabic the language of the “other,” whereas some consider it the language of insubordinates. In a country that promotes assimilation, the Arabic language has become a point of contention raising the question of what it means to be French: is it more a matter of principles or a matter of customs? The country is facing a turning point in its cultural history as it has the option of reevaluating its politics on assimilation and incorporating minority cultures into the public sphere. This chapter approaches the issue from the perspectives of postcolonial theories and social justice.
KeywordsPostcolonial theory Social justice African French Second-generation immigrants Immigration Nationalism Discrimination Racism Islamophobia
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