How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.
This is a book about the use of languages as a proxy for conflict. It traces the history of Algeria from colonization by the French in 1830 to the celebration of 50 years of independence in 2012, and examines the linguistic issues that have accompanied this turbulent period. The book begins with an examination of 'language conflict' and related concepts, and then applies them to both the French colonists' language policies and the Arabization campaigns which followed independence. This is followed by an analysis of the rivalry between the English and French languages in independent Algeria. The book concludes with a study of the language choices made by Algerian writers and the complex tensions which arose from these choices among intellectuals in the colonial and post-colonial periods.