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Countering linguistic violence by place-making in the public space

Malika Sabri,

Abstract: Much is discussed in the literature about the Arabization of Algeria’s public space since its independence from France in 1962. This privileging of the contest between Arabic and French eclipses the stake claimed by speakers of Tamazight, the Afro-Asiatic language spoken by the majority in the historic province of Kabylia, to the east of the capital Algiers. Taking the wilaya of Tizi-Ouzou, in the heart of Kabylia, as the focus for this article, we adopt a performative approach to exploring the making of place, and in particular a Tamazightophone space, by triangulating traditional Linguistic Landscape data, interviews with residents, and 200 years of competing language management strategies. In response to the linguistic violence perpetrated by French colonial powers and aggressive Arabisation policies, we investigate how the discourses of place, particularly Amazigh cultural and linguistic identity, challenge the double erasure of Tamazight.
Keywords: Arabization / Kabylia / place / making / linguistic violence / French / language / Tamazight

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