Given that English has become a global language, the choice of French, as a second official language in Morocco, puts forward a myriad of controversial issues regarding its qualification as being the language of science.
Marrakech – The Moroccan government itself seems to take a new path through encouraging the use of English as a second language instead of French. In 2014, the minister of Higher Education, Lahcen Daoudi, stressed on the necessity of English in the upcoming time by saying that ‘‘anyone who does not master English, has no future.’’
According to “Ethnologue,” a catalogue of more than 6700 languages spoken in 228 countries, the total number of English speakers in the world exceeds 1 billion and two hundred speakers, among which only 400 million are natives. In His book, English as a Global Language, David Crystal views English as “the lingua franca” of the world. Simply put, English is the most commonly used means of communication among speakers whose mother tongue is not English.
The need of English language in Morocco can be looked at from three different angles.
At the intellectual level, English is the most widely used language in all sciences and in research. Millions of English books are published every year in anthropology, chemistry, education, history, linguistics, medicine, philosophy and physics. Let alone that more than 50% of online websites are in English.
In order to have access to the best digital libraries (like JSTORE, Bookshare), Information Technology (such as Amazon, Google, IBM, Intel and Microsoft) and news agencies (including Associated Press and Reuters) one needs to be an English speaker. The aforementioned factors resulted in the Moroccan incorporation of teaching English in many university majors. As it is known AL Akhawayn University in Ifrane offers an American curriculum, American professors, and English instruction. This is an outcome of realizing that English should be the language of science in Morocco.
At the economic level, English is the key to be a strong competitor in the world’s market and to create more job opportunities in the future. FDI (Foreign direct investment) classifies USA and UK among the main investing countries in Morocco, with a total percentage of the two countries estimated at 15%.
Morocco witnesses a large influx of English educational projects during the last decade, mainly the famous American language Centers (11 centers), British council (Rabat, Casablanca and Tangiers) and AMIDEST (Rabat and Casablanca), American School (Casablanca, Fez, Marrakesh, Rabat and Tangier), George Washington Academy (Casablanca), American University of Leadership (Rabat) and University of New England (Tangier).
These institutions have brought new work opportunities for Moroccans, particularly for teachers. It goes without saying that English is the official language of the majority of powerful international organizations and multi-national companies such as UNICEF, UNISCO, WTO, McDonald, Coca-Cola and Starbucks.
At the cultural level, globalization has brought a new popular culture to the world. In Morocco, the status of English has been growing as the language of Hollywood and American pop music. There are millions of American movies and songs preferred by Moroccans. The influence of American media has increased the interest of Moroccans to learn English. A research conducted by Elizabeth S. Buckner, a researcher at Stanford University, entitled “The Growth of English Language Learning in Morocco,” reveals the following:
There are other significant motives behind replacing French by English in Morocco, namely political and touristic ones. On the one hand, English is the language of the world’s diplomacy and one of the five official languages of the United Nation. On the other hand, Morocco has attracted many English speaking tourists from all over the world in the last decade.
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