The Rise of English in Morocco and the Question of Identity
Ibn Tofail University Students as a case study
Keywords:Identity, Culture, Identity reconstruction, Identity negociation, EFL learning, Language and culture
English, as the lingua franca of the world, is gaining considerable popularity in Morocco in response to the calls of globalization, social mobility, and neoliberalism. Given this new status of English in the multilingual scope in Morocco, it is highly interesting to study how learning English in EFL settings influences learners’ identities, namely in tertiary education. This paper introduces an exploratory study that aims to highlight the impact of learning English as a foreign language on students’ self-identities in Morocco. Therefore, the objective of this study is to track any possible impact of the target culture on beliefs, and values learners of English and how exposure to the English language affects their perception of Moroccan culture as English majors. The study also aims at weighing the extent to which students are allowed /pushed to behave outside the norms of their cultural values by adopting an identity change model. This study utilized thematic analysis to qualitatively analyze data from focus group interviews aimed at understanding the impact of learning English as a foreign language on Moroccan students' self-identities. Four key themes emerged from the analysis: 1) self-confidence enhancement, 2) self-identity transformation, 3) identity negotiation in intercultural contexts, and 4) degrees of identity change. The participants' positive attitudes toward learning English and its influence on their self-identities were evident. The findings underscored how English proficiency affects self-confidence, cultural beliefs, and attitudes, revealing a complex interplay between language acquisition and identity shifts. The study contributes to understanding the evolving role of English in Moroccan society and its implications for individual identities amidst globalization.
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Copyright (c) 2023 Ali Bekou, Dr. Ben Mhamed
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