French Algerian Acculturation
Many people define culture as the combination between language, religion and social norms making it a distinctive form of identity. A large number of others identify themselves and their cultures retrospectively to their parents’ lineage and are therefore associating the word ‘culture’ to customs. Acculturation on the other hand refers to the influence of one culture on another; thus, creating what is called a ‘hybrid’ culture. The aim of the following essay is to discuss the impact of the French culture, namely the French language, on Algerian bureaucracy and its administrative procedures as well as the modifications brought upon the Algerian popular dialect; it will also show how a new form of language has emerged as a result of this influence.
It is well known among Algerian citizens that the red tape affairs are carried out in both Arabic and French language. Most Algerian documents, if not all, carry a duality of language; since French is the second language in Algeria, it is quite evident that the majority of legal papers exist in both versions and sometimes in a blended version of the two languages within the same document. As an example, the Algerian ID clearly displays the name in both French and Arabic. French documents are often compulsory for administrative procedures. Many national enterprises require résumés and recommendation letters written exclusively in the French language. The French language has also influenced the oral aspect of the Algerian community tremendously.
After a colonial period which lasted more than a century, the Algerian dialect has been greatly influenced by the French language. Both colonizers and colonized had to communicate with one another; consequently, a language of compromise has been created. To illustrate, one might mention the inability for Algerians to sustain a full conversation without the presence of French terminology. Algerian people have also developed the tendency to use French vocabulary in an atypical syntax; that is to say, applying Algerian syntax ruling on French words, such as, ‘ntelephoner’or ‘nconnecter’ instead of ‘telephoner’ and ‘connecter’ which is Algerian for ‘I call’ and ‘I surf on the net’. Nowadays, Algerians use a mixture of French and Arabic in their daily speech.
French language is present among the Algerian society in both written and oral forms. Whether in legal documents or familiar discourses, its influence still remains significant. The French occupation of Algeria is undoubtedly the main reason behind this cultural impact; ergo, the Algerian inhabitant has partially lost touch with his own culture and thereby his own language. Although the current Algerian speech may not represent a pure form of language, it has nonetheless given birth to a particular set of utterances unique to the Algerian individual, granting him a new language, hence, a new culture.