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Revitalizing Endangered Languages

Edited by Justyna Olko & Julia Sallabank

Revitalizing Endangered Languages "This guidebook provides ideas and strategies, as well as some background, to help with the effective revitalization of endangered languages. It covers a broad scope of themes including effective planning, benefits, wellbeing, economic aspects, attitudes and ideologies."

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Dissertation Information

Title: Uses and Functions of Literacy in Morocco from 1960s to 1990s Add Dissertation
Author: Reddad Erguig Update Dissertation
Email: click here to access email
Institution: Mohammed V University - Agdal, Languages and Cultures in Contact
Completed in: 2003
Linguistic Subfield(s): Sociolinguistics;
Director(s): Brahim Moussabbir

Abstract: This study investigates the culture of literacy in the Moroccan context, with a particular emphasis on the historical changes in the uses and functions of the alphabetic literacy skills of reading and writing. Through the use of statistics, documents, informal observation, a questionnaire and interviews, we attempted to shed light on the literacy situation in post-independent Morocco and highlight the recurrent literacy practices of a representative sample of Moroccan people and show how they differ according to gender and urbanity.

The study first shows that people associate a variety of meanings with the concept of literacy: some of these meanings have been linked with the concept of literacy regardless of the historical context; whereas other meanings are determined by the social circumstances in each specific era.

Second, the results of the study reveal that the uses and functions of literacy have recently become various in kind and multiple in range. Some of these literacy practices have continued to be important while others have gained in value. Still new literacy practices have appeared. Such practices have been found out to be shaped by the context. They are influenced by gender differences, since men tend to make basically official uses of reading and writing; whereas women are inclined to make personal uses of reading and writing. The uses also vary along urbanity lines, since literacy use is limited in the rural areas.

Third, literacy attitudes have been found out to be mixed since the 1960’s. By and large, the literate were held in great esteem although people in some rural areas were unaware of the benefits with which literacy was associated. In the 1990’s, similarly, although literacy is stressed as a means whereby one can meet the everyday life needs, more critical attitudes are expressed towards it, especially concerning its connection with employment, because of the saturation of the job market and the increasingly widespread access to the audiovisual media. The electronic media and means of communication now perform some of the functions formerly associated with print literacy. In fact, out of the complex interplay of different media, the electronic media, which promote ‘second’ orality and challenge the role of reading and writing, are widely used; whereas print media, notwithstanding the increasingly various uses made of them, are used on a less regular basis. As for ‘primary’ orality, it has maintained its role of having access to local information.
The educational and pedagogical implication of such findings is that campaigns have to be elaborated and launched in different parts of the country to sensitise people to the danger of marginalising print literacy. The illiterate ought also to be motivated to participate in anti-illiteracy campaigns in order to acquire literacy through making them aware of the utility of literacy in their everyday lives. It would be fruitful, though, to use the audiovisual media, particularly television and the radio, in order to contribute to the success of literacy programmes.