Language maintenance and spread: French in Algeria | Intellect Skip to content
Volume 10, Issue 1-2
  • ISSN: 1368-2679
  • E-ISSN: 1758-9142


The present article studies the survival of French in Algeria despite an assertive policy of linguistic Arabization designed, among other things, to displace French. This language has been maintained and the number of its users has increased substantially since independence. Four major factors affecting language maintenance are considered here against a background of social change: economic change, demographic growth, institutional support and language status. In addition to these measurable predictors of language survival, the attitudes of senior secondary school students towards French and other languages were investigated via a large survey. All four social factors proved important for explaining the maintenance of French. The results of the survey revealed that respondents were attached to the ex-colonizers' language. The study concludes with a number of implications for language planning in Algeria.


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