The impact of social factors on the use of Arabic-French code-switching in speech and IM in Morocco

Post, Rebekah Elizabeth
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The use of French in code-switching (CS) with Moroccan Colloquial Arabic (MCA) has been explored qualitatively in a number of studies, but quantitative methods have rarely been applied to CS in this language pair. Research on CS patterns as a function of extra-linguistic factors has similarly received little attention, despite the implication in many studies that these factors are significant in the use of CS. This dissertation seeks to address these gaps in the literature by quantitatively examining the use of Arabic-French CS by young adult speakers of MCA in spoken and written information communication. This study examines three extra-linguistic factors in speech and Instant Messaging (IM): Sex, French Proficiency, and Language Attitude. The analysis reveals that male speakers are significantly more French in written IM. Positive attitude toward French and MCA-French CS has a highly significant impact on the rate of French employed in spoken conversation. Meaningful results are also found for the French constituents employed in CS with regard to each of the extra-linguistic factors. Notable differences are found between sexes in the types of French constituents used in both communication modes, as well as for speakers of different French proficiency levels. The categorization of French-origin nouns as instances of CS or borrowing is also explored by considering multiple aspects of use of these lexical items. A number of French-origin nouns, absent from dictionaries of MCA, are proposed to now be borrowed into the dialect. The analysis also reveals a number of French-origin words that are used by a number of speakers, but remain instances of CS. The results of this investigation highlight the importance of quantification in studies of CS and provide data for comparison with other corpora from this and other language pairs. The differences identified in CS by communication mode indicate that there is a need for a model of written CS that accounts for the unique characteristics of this mode. Finally, little work has been published on the relationship between extra-linguistic factors and structural patterns in CS, but the current results suggest that the impact of social factors should not be ignored when considering structural aspects of CS.