Algeria: French on the Wane

At Everything2.com:

83% of Algeria's 31.13 million people are of Arab or Amazigh/Arab descent, while 16% claim pure Amazigh heritage. In general, the two groups are integrated and intermingled, while a few scattered Imazighen groups do not intermarry, namely the Sahara-dwelling Mozabits. Within the Imazighen are many different groups- Kabyle, Shawya, Mozabit, Tuareg, and others; these people live primarily in the less inhabitable regions of Algeria, the deserts and mountains. Traditionally, they hid there to seek refuge from the invading armies that scoured the Tell; over time the seemingly hostile geography became an integral part of their lifestyle and identity.

The official language is Arabic, which refers to both Algerian Arabic, a creole which incorporates many French and Amazigh words and is used in speech, and standard Arabic, used in schools, government, and the media. Algerian Arabic can generally be understood by speakers of other North African dialects, but not by Middle Eastern Arabic speakers. French, once the primary language of business, is rapidly losing ground. Many Imazighen speak their own indigenous languages, which differ from group to group.

No comments: