Algeria has always been a multilingual country, due to its rich history of being colonized for centuries by different colonizers from the Romans to the Phoenicians to the French and many others. However, the French were the predominating colonizer in Algeria, since they adopted a nationalizing process to impose their language on the people. That has greatly influenced the spoken language in the country, and French was established for a long time as an official language in Algeria. The linguistic situation in Algeria has become quite complex, due to the mentioned reasons. As a result, many languages are spoken and coexist in the country. Standard Arabic, Algerian Arabic or as it is called “Darja”, Berber which is the language of the indigenous people of Algeria. It is also called Tamazight and is still spoken in many areas in the country. French, which coexists with all the spoken Algerian dialects, is heavily present in the Algerian territory and plays a significant role in the political, social, and educational sectors. The global spread of English around the world also reached Algeria, and an increasing interest in the language has been noticed during the recent years in the country. In this respect, the present study pursues the goal of defining the status of English while examining the linguistic situation of the country.
Hence, the aim of the present research is to explore the sociolinguistic profile of Algeria and highlight the role of each of the existent languages in the main domains in the country. What is more, the study investigates the emergence of English as a competing language and explores the potential consequences it can have on the other languages and on the Algerians in general.
The present research consists of seven chapters. The data were collected online using main Social Media platforms, in addition to a collection of photographs of the linguistic landscape of the country. (shops, street names, buildings ….). Both quantitative and qualitative approaches were selected to conduct the research, with a total of 494 survey respondents and 10 interviewees, and more than 100 photographs. The tools for research were a questionnaire of 27 questions and a concise questionnaire for the semi-structured interview. Photographs highlighting the visibility of English in shops and in the streets of Algeria were gathered to add information on the presence of the language in the country.
The results of the study indicate the intensity of the linguistic situation in Algeria and the continuous conflicts between the different language groups. The research explores the consequences of this conflicted situation and the effects of the misused language policies on the Algerian individual and on society. Further analysis reveals the increasing rate of the use of English, the results exhibit a noticeable development and a growing interest in the language especially among the younger generation. The qualitative data acquired from the photographs and the interviews extended this view and provided a more insightful view on the role of the languages on the Algerians and the society and the meaning of the potential spread of the English language in Algeria.
In conclusion, the research makes a few recommendations to policymakers and educationalists on how to moderate the linguistic atmosphere in Algeria by applying the needed reforms in key domains like education, and highlight the important role of well-planned language policies in improving the educational system and contributing to the development of the country.