Darija: It’s High Time

There’s a very interesting article in Le journal Hebdo about a round-table that took place in Rabat about the use of Darija, the vernacular language of Morocco. Writers, poets, linguists, artists, and rappers took part in the debate, i.e. all those for whom language is an essential means of creation or scholarship. I was quite pleased to see a few misconceptions discussed and cleared up during the debate (e.g. the ridiculous idea that somehow Darija is not a proper language because it is not written. Piffle.) So hopefully this is the precursor to a wider national debate about the issue. I’m fully in favor of using Darija, because of the huge impact it would have on the creation of a reading culture. Imagine: All children’s books right now are in Modern Standard Arabic, which is a language no one learns until first grade (i.e. age 6 or 7), by which time reading habits are already in place for many kids.