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Title: Globalisation and language policy in Tunisia : shifts in domains of use and linguistic attitudes
Author: Aouina, Hichem
ISNI:       0000 0004 2742 8883
Awarding Body: University of the West of England, Bristol
Current Institution: University of the West of England, Bristol
Date of Award: 2013
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This thesis builds on previous studies on the linguistic situation, attitudes and domains of language use in the Maghreb countries undertaken by Marley (2000, 2004, 2005, 2008) in Morocco, Benrabah (2007a, 2007b), in Algeria, and by Jabeur (1999) Daoud (2001, 2011a, 2011b) and Bahloul (2001) in Tunisia. It explores the shifts in the domains of language use, the differences in linguistic attitudes between generations in Tunisia and the role played by globalisation in this process. In order to investigate the ways in which domains of use and attitudes to English and French are shifting, a questionnaire was administered to a group of 100 teachers aged 40 to 60 and a group of 200 students aged 17 to 19. SPSS data analyses showed some statistically significant differences between the two groups. With respect to domains of use, the younger group uses significantly more English as a lingua franca, in chatting online, reading for pleasure, watching TV programmes and listening to songs. Teachers, by contrast, use significantly more French in activities such as reading and watching TV programmes. French remains the preferred foreign language of the older generation, but they believe it is threatened by English in Tunisia, whereas the younger generation preferred English. One main reason for these differences could be what the older generation consider to be the negative impact of globalisation on French and its positive impact on English. Interesting qualitative data were also extracted from the responses to a vox pop questionnaire submitted to 100 lay people in the street and from essays written by two groups of 25 students. These confirmed that the majority of Tunisians consider English to be the most useful foreign language in Tunisia and that it should be given more importance in academic settings due to its world status as an international lingua franca. This thesis also investigates language policy in Tunisia by analysing all relevant extracts from the speeches of Ben Ali, Tunisia’s ex-president, and interviews conducted with the three senior inspectors of the three main languages. Policy has promoted English over French in two ways: first, Arabic rather than French is now the vehicle for the teaching of the human and natural sciences in the Basic Education and, second, new measures in favour of English have simultaneously been taken in and outside academia. To conclude, the findings of this study contribute to knowledge in three ways: Firstly, by identifying differences in domains of language use and attitudes between generations in contemporary Tunisia, secondly, by scrutinizing the way students, teachers and lay people feel about French and English, the two main rival foreign languages in the country and, thirdly, by exploring the political discourse which influences the language situation both directly, through language policy, and indirectly, through hearts and minds.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: globalisation ; language policy ; language planning ; francophony