Language Attitudes towards Teaching Tamazight Language in Tlemcen’s Primary Schools

Author: Nadia Ghounane

Keywords: Algerian educational system, attitudes, language policy, Tamazight, Tlemcen speech community


The language situation of Algeria presents an extraordinary mosaic
picture, characterised by the existence of a panoply of languages and
varieties. Namely, Modern Standard Arabic, French, which are
generally used in formal settings while Algerian Arabic and Berber
with its regional variations are found in informal contexts. This
linguistic diversity presents complex diglossic and multilingual
situations. In turn, these linguistic situations have amplified the
tension between speakers, especially with the amalgamation of
Tamazight in language teaching. To this vein, the current research
paper is geared to deal with the question of language attitudes towards
the inclusion of Tamazight in the Algerian educational system in
general and teaching it in Tlemcen primary schools in particular. In
other words, it addresses the implementation of the new language
policy which requires teaching Tamazight to all children and the
attitudes of both parents and teachers towards the new policy. In this
sense, data were collected quantitatively and qualitatively through a
questionnaire and an interview. To this end, the findings indicate that
the majority of the informants shared negative attitudes towards
teaching Tamazight in primary schools. It was also found that most
informants declared that Tamazight represents a part of Algerian
identity, although they were not motivated towards incorporating it in
the new educational system.