Saturday 10 September 2011

Trilingual Illiterates: Algeria's Language Crisis

How many of you (Algerians) get interrupted by eavedroppers questioning what language you're speaking or how many languages are you using at the same time? and how many of you get embarassed by this? or perhaps you feel proud?

You want to learn Algerian? hmmmm
This is not an impossible task but it sure is not an easy one.

First you need to learn Arabic then learn French then have some knoweldge of Berber, then you need to forget all that you've learnt about grammar and syntax and start conversing in all three languages at once and never appologise for it, and never make sense to any other but Algerians and perhaps other North Africans, namely Tunisians and Morrocans who thankfully share a bit of our Burden-Gift.

So you would say things like: Azul, Ca va chwiya? Hamdoulah. wenta bien? ok Ciao a bientot, oui oui Bye
A phrase containing no less than 5 languages, would you say this person is talented or a multi-tongue illiterate? or Trilingual Illiterates as they call us in the confidential report released through Wikileaks (see below).

We Algerians are either extraordinarily talented and gifted for languages or we can't master one language completely and fully.
A real linguistic indigence we suffer from, not many Algerians can start a sentence in the same language they finish it in, even the one who claim to be "Arabisant" will undoutedly use a couple of words like "ca va" and think they just spoke in Arabic.

It may seem all fun and cool to speak 3 to 5 langagues at the same time, but it is not fun when you find you can't express yourself in any of these languages alone. Have you ever wondered how this came to happen? have you ever stopped to think what the ramifications of this are?

Despite the Goverments best efforts to "unify" the national language, declaring Arabic Official lanaguage and Berber co-official. French though not an official language, is regarded as de facto co-official language as it is widely used by goverement officials, newspapers etc... having three official languages and perfecting none is where the dilemmas lies.

Not a huge number of Algerians will master all 3 languages, some master Arabic, some French and only the berbers will speak berber, even though it is taught is a number of schools, it remains largely marginalised and underdeveloped.

So I tried to do some research on the subject, and it reaped no result, there is no Algerian phrase book or a guide to the Algerian language, a dictionary would be out of the question.
Having considered writing a phrase book myself, I realised what an arduous task it was going to be and prompty gave up (probably also due to my a-peut-priste side). Algeria being so large, wide and diverse boasts so many dialects, accents and idioms it would take a team of people and a couple of years to finish.  By that time and with all the new linquistic additions and introduction of English words and so on, my project would be irrelavant.

I won't pretend to offer solutions or a conclusion, I can barely go three words in Arabic without uttering two in French but I fear for the desintegration of our language (bomb dropped). I will strive to finish my stences in the same language I started them in, I think that would be a good start or perhaps teach my children Arabic or is it Algerian? or French? (this is going to be harder for me than for them, I am just not going to have children)

I will leave you with the Algerian slogan that embodies everything said above all in 4 languages:
One..Two...Three...Viva l'ALGERIE

A MUST READ: What Wikilaks has on the subject:


  1. Salam,

    In fact, there is an algerian phrase book by the publisher "ASSIMIL" (Kabyle is available too from the same publisher) which you can find here : . I saw it once but didn't consider it in detail so I cant tell anything more about it.

    I have also read "Le petit prince" translated in whatever may be called algerian dialect (I forgot where exactly I've bought it, certainly in Paris) and I had a weird feeling reading an exclusively spoken language.

    There's certainly a room and the need to raise our "dialect" to a "language" on its own and this will be a long and hard work to do. But not impossible ! French, originally the local dialect of Paris, also had to be raised to a national language in the XVIth century, though essentially by the pure disregard of the other dialects (picard, franc-comptois … etc)

    As for me, I feel no shame to speak in my algerian language. This is what it is, none of the three languages it is made of. And a very very fast evolving one ...

  2. Thanks for that Hghouti. no english/algerian though!

  3. Berberian language (tamazight) is still not official but has the "national language" status.. There's plenty of grammar books and dictionaries for tamazight but yeah there's a lot of problems to fix.. beginning by the issue of the transcription : latin letters, arabic transcription, millenary tifinagh ?
    In my opinion Algerians can without problems speak and write two to three languages plus babbling in the local slang.. Where's the issue I don't get it.. oh wait I see : IDEOLOGICAL STRUGGLE !

  4. Ideological strugle!! perhaps!

    The issue is it isn't really true is it HomoErectus, only a minority can really master these languages, the rest of the populace struggle on a daily basis between 3 to 4 languages, we study in Arabic (apart from a few subjects) to then go on to work in a French speaking environement. Is this part of the idiological struggle?

    Sure: Tamazight is a national language by constitutional amendment since May 8, 2002.

  5. ce que je trouve dommage c'est qu'on abandonnent de jours en jours notre Algérien, surtout dans la capital.
    y en a qui ne font même pas l'effort de parler algérien avec l'épisser. alors qu'il n'ont ptetre jamais mis les pied hors d"alger

  6. "only a minority can really master these languages"
    I suppose you mean : "only a minority actually masters these languages" and I would agree with you.. But the fact is that all Algerians CAN speak and write correctly any language (at least two).. it's a human ability if one is correctly taught.. the real problem is that the algerian language cursus lacks a lot of pefagogy and good teachers.. It's a fact.. And it's a political problem.. Plus the other big shame : Algerians don't read at all.. Here again, the love of books and reading comes with a correct education.. Yeah it's complicated..

  7. @HomoErectus:
    So what's the diffrence between my phrase and yours? really vs. actually :)

    Did you read the link from Wikileaks?

    I have to also agree with you on the reading issue, Algerians pretty much give up on reading after they're done with their school text books, it s a culture not cultivated or encourgaed. HUGE SHAME.

  8. The difference is between " a minority can master" and "a majority can master" I stress on the fact that it's not a biological problem or a millenar curse.. My mother has abandoned school before (lycée) and her french is really fine.. The old school folks generally have a much better language abilities.. I think we can situate the problem somewhere around 1962.. Ideological struggle.. For your question : No i haven't but I will.. What time is it in London now ?

  9. Sorry I missed the majority vs minority! my bad and I am not sure I agree, have to see some statistics. do you have any? :)

    God I should hope it not bilogical, the problem does start in 1962 I couldn't agree more.

    21h25 in know what time that is? a bit late for an apero..but it's apero time.

  10. "Not many Algerians can start a sentence in the same language they finish it in"

    True! Il m'arrive de balancer des mots en arabe en parlant avec des français... (Shame on me?)

    Y a bien les libanais qui parlent arabe/français ou arabe/anglais
    ou bien les français qui essaient de glisser des mots anglais avec leur horrible accent. Donc ça va, ce n'est pas si grave que ça non?

    P.S: Viva l'Algiré machi l'Algérie.

  11. Ah ok we're time synchronized.. Yeah definitely late, but it's Saturday so.. Aya bon gazouz alors ;)..

  12. Gazouz fransa? Sante Bonne soiree

  13. Hahaha.. Gazouz à l'anis.. Bonne soirée ma belle, ciao..

  14. Thanks DZ-chick I really like the way you describe the subject matter.You made me laugh...or maybe I shouldn'
    I envie Moroccans who unlike us "algerians" can keep up with a convo without placing any word in French. I found it verry difficult for me and I felt like I was working out trying not to place a word in French. But is it the Algerians fault? I don't think so!! I have a friend who was an "Inspecteur d'arabe" who said "they teach arabic as if it was a foreign language so how do you want our kids to learn this language?!" I invite you to reflect on that :)

  15. Good article - it explains my confusion sometimes trying to read the comments to your posts. Which is fine, like a good dish - lots of flavours and spices added.

    But in the long run, it may not be something you will have to worry about. Take English as an equal example to the mixing you speak of. First the Vikings, then the Romans, then the French - they all came and left behind their language. It is actually very difficult to pick out the real language of the Angles from the Roman, French, German etc etc that was continuously added and borrowed.

  16. i find it irritating that we need to use some french words to fully say wat we want to say
    im trying to master egyptian arabic and lebanese arabic
    im trying to use most of the algerian arabic to my advantage to help me with the arabic spoken in other countrys but we have many words that are different so its a challenge :S

  17. That's pretty funny, it happened to me to hear this Algerian-arabic argot mixed with English :-))) But to reverse situation, can you imagine a face of your custom officer at the local airport facing someone who speaks classical arabic. Pity that tamazight languages are not supported, in the end this are languages of native inhabitans not just conquestors.

  18. Blue: Thank you, laughin is aloud it is funny :)
    Well no need to refelct on that I have seen it first hand, we are taught Arabic in schools as a language like French and English.

    Formosa: yeah I think it shed some light on our trilingual conversations for a number of non Algerian readers.
    English as you say is pretty much the same...Conclusion: Langauge is not rigid as much as the French would hate to find out, it changes and it evolves.

    Amel: you're trying to master Egyptien and Lebanese?? please explain?

    Irulana: in Algeria if you speak Academic Arabic you are laughed at, in the Capital or big cities, a lot of people speak mainly French and sometimes if you speak Arabic in a certain situation, it is almost as though you insulted them!!

  19. Hey Dz-Chick: I've been reading your blog for awhile and something just occurred to me - please don't see my comment as a criticism; it's not, as awkward as it may sound - but almost all your posts are about complaining/whining. Tell us a bit about what makes you happy in life for a change, pleeaaazzeee!

  20. hahahahahaha thanks Anonymous, this made me laugh, I guess you're right I do whinge and whine a lot, but surely I posted something happy at some point no? if not then I have only one thing to say: why do you think people watch EastEnders?? ;)

    Ok I am going to write my next post about happy times :)

  21. Lebanese arabic ? Egyptian arabic ? Come on ! they're just vernacular slangs full of foreign words just as our algerian vernaculars... why self-hate ? "Chou badak !" or "guibli mayah" are not more arabic than "wech bik !" or "a3tini el maa" for example (au contraire)... Never heard khaliji sayin' "mahmoul" or "naqqal" they say "mobile"(mobayyle !!) for the most of them ... So here again it's a typical example of the arab complex we inherited from the baath ideology era (thanks Boumediene and Ben Bella both good students well indoctrinated by Chief Nasser)..

  22. Well my dear your reaction shows that you're a true lady. Not everybody would have taken my comment the way you did. Thank you.

    I know (most) people have some sort of fascination for gloom and doom, but in these times of general morosity we desperately need something that cheer us up not the other way round.

    Looking forward to your next post... :)

  23. HomoErectus: Ba'ath Ideology!! Oh you just said a mouthfull there Mister.

    Our alliance to the Ba'ath Ideology and subsequent membership to the Arab League is the source of all the Algerian post-colonial problemes...Thank you Boumediene and Ben Bella indeed.

  24. Thanks Anonymous, I didn't think your comment would have caused a bad reaction at all, it's perfectly true and nicely presented

    But you're right I am alllright ;)
    Ok next post...happy thoughts, happy place...god I'll have to dig deep!

    Been meaning to post this question ages ago! where r u Allison!

  26. have there been any attempts or revendications to formalise the algerian darja into a bona fide language? or is that not really the issue?

  27. dz... I'm just a little worried about this promise to Anon to write about 'happy thoughts'. There's nothing wrong with whinging. It works.

  28. Saode: interesting, answer is no and that was never a real issue.

    Formosa: you don't want me to attempt to tap into my happy thoughts? surely that would be part of the "therapy"?
    Truth is I just don't know how to write happy, if you're sarcastic and cynical surely that's a challenge I have to accept.

  29. for me, i find that depending on the eavesdropper's background, i get different reactions ranging from:

    english friend: "were you having an argument on the phone there?" me:"no, i was being quite sweet actually"

    indian colleague: "what language is this? it sounds like chinese", me:"that's interesting, that chinese dude thought it sounded indian?"

    kenyan friend: "that créole sounds quite melodious and chilled out", me:"hmm does it? think i can use it to pull tonight?"

    obviously there are other occasions where i make up some random foreign-sounding words to daze nosey parkers,

    me on the phone: "agoudou goudou gouba doug doug dé dé go ma?"

    then like replying harshly to other person on the phone: "ÉEE-É ÓOOOh. OK, bye" then hanging up abruptly.

  30. Hmmm, no. If you've got happy thoughts then you don't need therapy.

  31. I think I like it. I like it when my lingo looks like a sh'kshouka, a piece of everything. In my case I'm amazigh/french native (and therefore don't speak proper classical Arabic) and I find it funny to see old folks using French and Tamazight deformation and think it's arabic. I do as well sometimes wonder where my words come from when I speak Algerian. Further more I always dig the French language to find the latin/greek roots of the words.
    The conclusion is that there is no pure language, no holy language or superior language... all the languages are built upon some bases, and that's the case even for arabic ...
    the most widely spoken language (namely English) is the perfect example. The base is Germanic, the vocabulary is danish, french, celtic, latin, german and probably more. You can find words as "entrepreneur", "scenari" or "ersatz"

    So I hope and believe that one day, all the Algerians will realise how cool it is to speak our lingo and will work all together on formalizing and standardizing it and an new language called Algerian with words such as "zalamite" "khoudmi" or "teyara" will appear.
    there is already some good work being done on the INALCO side.

  32. I completely agree with you. I would go further to say that most Algerians are more comfortable with French than any other language, and the sad thing is not all of us master the language. I would ask Algerian people, if you had to write a letter or an email to a another Algerian, what language would you use? I would bet you 98% of us will write in French. Secondly, Berber and Algerian language cannot be official languages because they are not rich languages, meaning they cannot be used when discussing scientific subjects or law for example. I agree with you, it is a tough decision to make (for those who live abroad) when it comes to what language we should teach our kids. I know it is important to teach our kids the language of our heritage, but I feel we'll do them a disservice to teach them Algerian because it's such a poor language. Because my French is better than my Arabic, i will teach my kids french (as a second language to English)so they can at least use it someday including when they visit Algeria.

  33. I have some happy thought! and some happy days... :) But surely I'd still qualify for therapy!

    @Azz: Thank you.
    Who is the INALCO?

    @Anonymous: I see your point about teaching French to your children but for me that would be a bonus, I would teach them Arabic/Algerian...the same way I learnt it! I know it's harder to learn but I would find it wierd if I had children who couldnt speak my language!

  34. I can confirm your languages capabilities are far much beyond avarage. That's a fantastic gift for a whole life. I just have seen similar phenomenon within Jewish community living in diaspora, so out of Israel. Usually if person knows Jidish, then German is so easy to master, same story with Ladino and Spanish. I refer to old generation only. Youth refuse to communicate with a dialect as they find it not really sophisticated. Shame, but on the end they master Hebrew, which I personally believe is the most difficult to study apart of Hungarian and Finish :)

  35. I strongly disagree with anonymous...
    In my message I highlighted the fact that all the languages, get richer by borrowing words from other language. And frankly the notion of "rich language" is not scientifically disputable.
    For instance many European languages have borrowed their Law lingo from french as a consequence of the empire expansion under Napoleon. The religious lingo in pretty much all the european language is coming straight from latin ... and if we really wanna be purist I'm sure we could find enough material in the berber languages to recreate all the words necessary for science, law, anatomy or astrology.

    in a perfect algeria, people would learn and speak standardized algerian based on what we speak now, study english as a second language for science and international affairs and Arabic as a classic for religious studies (Let's admit it, classical Arabic is slowly joining latin greek and Aramaic , it would be just absurd to keep forcing people into it)
    and if needed, keep french for law or whatever field we would need. It is already happening in many countries where the official language, the legal language and the business language are three totally different languages.
    the most important is obviously to get the language that pretty much everybody speaks now, taught, so people would be able to work with, write emails and communicate at a national level.
    and about the algerian writing emails, many of my friends "ya ketbouli bel'mail hakda"...

    DZ chick, L'inalco is the french institute for the eastern languages and civilization, I believe they have a chair about algerian languages

  36. @Azz,

    This is anonymous from (12 September 2011 15:46) You said we borrow words to make the language richer...the thing here is that the whole language is borrowed from multiple langauges for a language that has no specific root or multiple roots?

    Also, you gave an example on how you would write to another fellow algerian by using latin words to express yourself in arabic, (ya ketbouli hakda). Now that's interesting! In some instances you use numbers, (3) to be more specific, to express a sound that exists in Arabic, but you would not write it in Arabic. We are creating a whole new class of language here my friend. This is a very messy checkchuka and no one would be able to figure out the ingredients and how it was made. No foreigner will be able to learn it. It's just not gonna work. I am not suggesting that I have a solution, i am just saying that your option will not work. This is a crisis that will continue to hurt us because it create an identity problem.

  37. I thought english was a quite irrefutable example, but let me explain more. I am apologizing forehead to dz-chick for squatting your blog and maybe getting a bit out of the topic :)

    When I say that English has borrowed words from French, I don't mean, one word, two words or even 200 words, I'm talking about 60% of the vocabulary when the register is frozen or formal and 30% when it's casual! no kidding !
    so according to you, the English language should've never become a proper language as it has multiple roots ?
    and the examples are plenty. Latin which is heavily based on greek became actually a very rigorous ans strict language and then gave birth to many other languages which in turn have been influenced by other languages.

    Secondly, a writing system is something (almost) totally independent from a language. we can write chinese with latin alphabet, Arabic with Japanese Kanjis or algerian with letters and numbers. I'm not talking about theoretical applications or approximative writing, I'm talking about most concrete cases. For instance Turkish and Farci have used the arabic alphabet for ages even though their languages were as far as Korean from arabic, and it worked out for them. Today turkish have switched to latin alphabet and iranian have modified the arabic alphabet to better suit their language ( adding sounds as GA, PA, VA).
    Concerning teaching and learning a language, I would say it's just about standardization and unification of the language. When the south africans realised that their Afrikaans could never be Dutch (as our algerian could never be arabic) they made it their language and they codified it in order to be understood by everybody.
    Today you can teach algerians to write their language in latin, arabic or numerical alphabet, they will do. You can also change one of these alphabet to better reflect our language, You put a bench of linguistics experts in a room for 6 months and a new language is born with its rules, codes, expressions, grammar and alphabet. Give it few years and you will see a new shelf at your favourite store with books and films in Algerian(there are already some actually...)
    It could easily work we just need to do it. Think about it, songs and movies in Algerian arabic are always thought and written beforehand. in which language do you think ? in proto-algerian :)

  38. Azzi please be my guest and I think ur right on topic! I find what u say about writing and speaking very interesting ...Will comment as soon as I can of course but you guys please continue...

  39. I agree with Azz. Il ne faut pas voir les langues d'un point de vue normatif, mais comme un instrument de communication et d'expression de l'identité. Un seul locuteur suffit à justifier l'existence d'une langue. Et toutes les langues ont emprunté aux autres au fil de l'histoire, au gré des échanges et des cohabitations. Celles qui ont résisté ont fini par mourir (latin et grec, p. ex.). D'autres, comme l'hébreu, ont été ressuscitées et modernisées après plusieurs siècles.

    J'adore le parler populaire algérois et je trouverais dommage qu'il disparaisse. Il est coloré, imagé, bref plein de génie. Une de mes expressions favorites : Djet belataye.

    Allison de retour! :)

  40. Djiti blatay ta3 sah Allison!! welcome back :) I enquired about your wherabouts and here you are!

    I agree l'Algerois is very easy on the ear and it would be a shame if it was to be replaced with FRENCH. as it seems the case now...

    I don't need to comment further, I feel I said enough in the post itself :P forgive me.

  41. Hey Dz-Chick : I've been very busy lately but 've been lurking from time to time.

    Sorry I should have posted in English, but it just came that way. :(

    How's Safia? :)
    Where are GMA, Haniya, Saode/Daode/David, etc.?

  42. Well happy to have you back ma cherie!

    GMA, Nejma and Haniya are around lurking somewhere

    Daode: present as ever :)

    ATO and Maleko: missing in action

    Safia is coming along nicely...I am a few chapters down already :) you want a prologue?

  43. Thx!

    Sure send a sample of your work in progress. :)

    Got to run for now, but I'll be back soon.


  44. I hate to throw the towel this early, but I got your point and it makes sense from the historical perspective on how languages have evolved. I think what I want to say, the reason Algerian Dardja came to life is due to the lack of mastering a language and people's poor language skills. It was invented because people didn’t know which words to use, so they broke the rules to communicate. Maybe this is what happened to all living languages? Tell us Azz, since you sound like an etymologist.
    After several years living abroad and not using dardja very often, I became very self cautious when I speak it. I always look for the source of words, and wonder why don't we say it the way it was supposed used in it's original language? such as tomatiche, tabla, farchita, telephounali, demandali, etc. Some words i wonder where they came from, z'rodia, el khorchafe (this one always gets me). The funny think is, the same thing is happening with Algerian and English, for example: doring (turning), shorbing (drinking) shoufme (look at me). So, expect to see this new language evolve soon. Anyway, had el post m'chakhchakh!!!

  45. azz you brilliantly summed it up.All I can add is people seem to wrongly want to adopt a rigid aljazeera style arabic to feel like they belong :) I haven't met yet any algerian who says sabahou elkhayri ya oumah in the morning unless they've been forced to or they had a few :)
    I feel language should grow and exist organically not forced on people for political reasons !

  46. Sahitou!
    That's Algerian...and it belongs to Arabic language somehow...let me tell u or ask something, not a single arab country has his citizens speak academic arabic!
    So Algerian is a dialect derived from Arabic and combined with other languages!

    That's all!...

    @DZ-Chick: I bet your next post will be short or blank! ;)...

  47. Again me...DZ-Chick..

    did you mean crisis in the title of this post?...or intentionally made cricis...

    the important (Al Mouhim) let's not push a dead-donkey (ma entaba3ouch hmar mayat) Algerian dardja is a local dialact based mainly on Arabic language, and it's eveolving through time according to the conditions lived by its users (i.e. Algerians).
    For DZC I don't think that "Algerois" is dying but it is changing...maybe due to Zahf al rifi...and also to other considerations...
    a +

  48. Dz-cheikh: mou3alem entaya? U a teacher? :P

  49. @ Dz chick loukan ana, nkoun khaifa khatermah nb3ee na3ref mou3alemeen mleeh khatermah mate3refesh specialization ta3houm ;-) ^^

  50. Hey Anon, I'm far from being an etymologist but I do believe that the language is the first and most important factor in people's identity (and who hasn't ever wondered about the Algerian identity ?)
    the words that we do not say the way it is supposed to be said are, in my opinion, words that got "owned" by the Algerian.
    In order to communicate people are breaking rules, adopting, bending things and end up making almost a new word which they can claim theirs. Today no french would understand "zalamite" or "koudbi" but all algerians would do. Therefore the words are Algerian not french, period. As soon as a new generation learnt them without knowing their origins, they got owned.

    as to the many words with unknown origins it might have deep roots reaching ancient Amazigh (barely used today) or Latin. Spanish has also influenced our language quite a lot.
    Which brings me to Dz-cheikh comment, on Algerian is "somehow" Arabic dialect. Even though classical Arabic is a dead language (or on its way), I don't believe that every Arabic country has its very own language that surrounding countries can't understand.
    Egyptians perfectly understand and without effort Lebanese, Palestinian or Syrian but they won't get a word of what we say.
    we, for most of us due to the background noise of our mum watching black & white Egyptian movies, can understand them, but we won't get our way with them, sometimes not even with a Moroccan !!!
    all this make me think our arabic is way too corrupted to be simply a dialect of arabic. If it really was we would maybe have more in common with the east, where they can understand each other despite the dialects differences.

  51. I don't speak any language. In speaking, I employ a given combination of sounds to communicate with others. In writing, I employ certain combinations of images(letters) to trigger a desired response in the mind and emotions of the other being. Actually, it all is but a manipulation of imagery..Just an opinion, or two, of a primate born under the triple scorpio aspect with two stelliums in unforgiving angles.

  52. funky buddha you're what the english sum up in one word TWAT :)

  53. @ Azz...I agree with you but just to be more accurate, Algerian dialectal language, comes from Arabic and has lot of words mixed-adapted from berber-Amazigh, french, spanish, Malteese, and very importantly Ottoman/Turkish!

    For me I like it and i am proud of it...
    Just one little remark...we can talk like Egyptians, Lebaneese, Syrians....we understand them easily...and they would understand us if we talked in their "Lahja"...but if we spoke our "Lahja and Darja" they'll understand roughly to the max about 10-15%.
    This is my opinion... speak good algerian-arabic for a Polish girl!

  54. @Maleklondon/finsburypark,

    You but over-inflate your gross ego by thinking you possess the intelligence needed to place an identifying label on me.
    Now, you don't want to turn this into a slug-fest of personal insults. It is painfully obvious that you are not properly equipped to survive such a risky venture. Or, as someone once said: "it requires some grey matter." A substance of which you are sadly lacking.
    So take some well-meaning advice before you proceed further with your girlish impulses: Take it easy, read, reflect, and be nice.

  55. @dz-cheikh, it's just writing so far, but thank you anyway. When I try to speak usually my friends have a good laugh with me due to pronunciation. It's rather discouraging so I need to feel very comfortable in someones presence to continue :)
    @dz-chick, I look forward to your "freshly baked" post on a very delicate matter. Hope you are about uploading :)
    @Malekolondon, please note FB(i) feeds his ego with people attention. I feel huge deficiency, in other words: smaltzy meshugner ;-)

  56. "You but over-inflate your gross ego by thinking you possess the intelligence needed to place an identifying label on me."

    @ Funky Buddha

    How about 'convicted paedophile' ? Don't try to threaten anyone here, ya kalb. Your real name comes next if you start any of your stalking games here. Want to tell us more about your time in prison?

  57. wow it's getting HOT in here!
    This is my meagre attempt at moderating!

    @ Urilana: yeah it's cooking but will be a heavy one I fear! I will insert the obvious joke or 3 and shall see...

  58. @Dz chick, tsunami is about to come as far as I can see ;-) To change a subject and make some happy noise. I have noticed that arabic swearings refers to the following animals: dog, donkey and pig while in my native language to call someone pig is nowadays rather less derogatory and could be considered even as a funny way to approch close friend. Dog is totally out of our dirty language, we tend to say " as faithful as a dog" describing somebodys love and devotion. However, Algerian if you are around any Slavs: Polish, Russian, Ukrainian, Slovak, Czech, please refrain from using word: brother (khouya) as it means literally ( excuse me my language!) a "dick" and it's very offensive, suggesting someone his/her total inability and shady character. Have a look how people react around you, you may notice rather vague smiles ;-)

  59. Irulana: That was a long time ago I thought we established that already :)

  60. Looking for views and opinions. I am an Algerian man living in an English speaking country and married to an Eastern European woman. My kids are being taught an Eastern European language and French at home, and English in school. The reason I decided to teach them French than Algerian darja is because a formal language will benefit them more in the future. Darja is useless outside Algeria. Also, half of darja is French, so why not go with french? I didn't choose Arabic because my Arabic is very poor. I am part of the camp that sees darja as a dialect that will continue to evolve as a language, but I don't believe it will become a formal language, at least in our lifetime. Since I don't travel to Algeria (Algiers) very often and have very little contact with Algerians, I would like to know how would Algerian people view the way I choose to teach my kids? How would my kids be viewed and treated if they decide to visit or move back to Algeria?

  61. Anonymous,

    Have you thought about your kids not being able to read or understand Quran?

    As for when your kids go or move to Algeria, they will be treated like butter "des beurs". :)

  62. I think they should learn Arabic, english and the language of their mother....dont understand why they should learn French...

  63. To Anonymous,

    I totally understand your concern. It is a difficult decision when it comes to deciding which language we should teach our kids when living in a foreign country. It is further more difficult when one of the parents doesn’t speak the same native language. It is clear that the Algerian language as a dialect will serve your children in Algeria or with the Algerian community only. Whereas French, would be a better choice and a plus as a skill for their future career. Now, is it a good thing to erase their Algerian identity? Language and identity are deeply related. “A language is a powerful symbol of national and ethnic identity”. (Spolsky, 1999, p. 181)
    As of being able to read Koran, as one of the bloggers pointed out, I believe it is a different issue that we also should think of. We all know that speaking the Algerian dialect will not help in any way our kids to read the Koran. The only options we have if we decide that our children should learn the formal Arabic, is either hire a tutor or send them to Sunday school.
    One of my former neighbors, who is Moroccan and married to an eastern European woman (Bosnia I believe), has a son who speaks a perfect Moroccan dialect and his mother’s native language as well. I don’t think his father chose to teach him French but I would like to point out that the mother is not a native Arabic speaker and it didn’t prevent the kid to speak his father’s language even though the father is mostly outside of the house working.
    I don’t claim knowing the answer of this dilemma but I honestly think that in addition to French, your children should be able to understand and speak Algerian. I hope this was a helpful response.

  64. Talking from lifelong experience here. If you want your western born kids feeling Algerian and appreciating Algeria, they have to know 'Darja' and they have to be sent back to Algeria as much as possible to absorb themselves into the culture with their family and community. They can only do this by knowing 'Darja'.

    They can know proper French and proper Arabic also if one chooses, it doesn't have to be one or the other. Kids pick up languages easily as long as you start from a young age.

    Arabic is better than French not just for the Quran. Kids in the UK start to learn French in school from about the ages of 10-12. You can give them a headstart and then supplement their teaching as a parent outside of school hours. Many Algerians wrongly think French is better than Arabic for their future career. Arabic (along with Mandarin) are far more sought after languages at a business level.

  65. Regardez DZfoot pour 'Le Dictionnaire Algérien' :

    aie aie aie

  66. I don't think that you should consider teaching arabic only for the Quran. In my opinion, Learning arabic as we do it in Algeria is useless because for religious purposes (as in taffsir or religious studies ) you need to master the language prodigiously, and for identity or "nationalism" purposes you need derja, the people's languages.
    That obviously won't prevent your kids from being muslim as I believe you can prey in whatever language. I know that many people keep granting a holy status to the arabic language as if God couldn't understand other languages ... you just must not pay attention to this I guess.

    With regards to what language to teach in general, I believe that the most important is the language of the country where they live, comes after derja if you want them to feel algerian (very simply put). English French or German are obviously taken care of by schools given their importance in education/business and international scene so I think we should not really worry about these, however it's an advantage if you can naturally speak it to your kids ... kids learn as much as you teach them.


  67. Habibati sorry Iam not semring english but Boussaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa gued bel hamlaoui moubacharatene mne ka3 sour ta3 B.E.O...



  68. Mon grand Peres est une douleur Quine meyer jamais
    ai ai aie gros bisou et merci pour Le coucou!

  69. Thank you guys for your opinion. Your comments are trully constructive. As far as learning Arabic to learn the Quran, it would definately help, but that is if the kids will be interested in their faith. Look at how many arabic speaking people who can read in Arabic that never opened the Quran. This is a great topic. I still wish we had only one spoken language not a hybrid of multiple languages, I dont like algerian darja.

  70. Your design is so exclusive in comparison with a lot of others. Thanks for publishing if you possess the option,Guess I'll just make this bookmarked.two

  71. Very interesting topic as per usual DZ-chick. The Algerian dialect reflects the rich heritage of Algeria, the indigenous people (the Berbers), the Arab conquerors and the French colons. I am sure that our dialect contain a few Turkish and Spanish words for good measure! I don't speak our language unfortunately and I would love to speak it poor Arabic or not that's irrelevant! My daughters who have a non-Algerian father (where is Cerrine, she might have something to say about it?!) only speak English unfortunately, they understand French fairly well but can hardly speak it. I am aware that I have repeated a mediocre pattern.

  72. well my dear i don't understand what is upsetting you about our dialect!!! it is alright to have a long history which is reflected on our language, there is nothing to feel ashamed of !!! language is not stable, it is dynamic!! which is very natural !! you can learn more about Algerian history, and have some courses on sociolinguistics, what was a dialect becomes a language(Quraych dialect for instance is the classical Arabic now), what was a language becomes a dialect and then raise into a language( Berber language), there is also what is called language contact. for your information, most of the English words are borrowed from Arabic and many other languages( home, tall, table, cave, house and hundreds of others ) why english speakers are nt called trilingual illiterates!!! be proud of beng algerian w hoti rejlik felma yeberdou

  73. I don't usually answer comments from readers who don't actually read but judge but I am going to make an exception since it's an old post. I suggest you read again to understand what I am actually saying and my position on this Sarah Sunshine. As for my feet they are right int heir place.

    Try to take a's called "Chill" ;)


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