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Arabization in Tunisia: The Tug of War

  • Author(s): Daoud, Mohamed
  • et al.
Abstract

This study presents the policy of Arabization in Tunisia as an example of language planning which has been used to pursue and maintain power. It argues that Arabization has been promoted only to the extent that it served the interests of the politico-economic ruling elite. After reviewing the relevant literature, the study evaluates the language situation in Tunisia in terms of the degree of implementation of Arabization in three domains: 1) education; 2) government administration; 3) the media and general use. The study shows that the official authorities have been quite inconsistent in promoting Arabization, and that they have encouraged bilingualism (Arabic and French) and biculturalism (Arab-Islamic and Western European, mainly French) much more consistently. In this light, the study analyzes the attitudes and objectives of the authorities, who represent the influential elites, as they interact with other competing elites in order to maintain power.

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