Globalizing the Atlas: The Potential Benefits and Dangers of Non-Native Language Learning in Morocco
Presenter: Richard C. Landrigan
Theme: Cultural Exchange for Tolerance, Understanding and Peace
This paper will present the issues of globalization and non-native language learning in terms of their positive and negative consequences, offering potential solutions for realizing the former while reducing the latter. This discussion will be framed in the context of Moroccan Berbers, an ethnic group that makes up a large segment of that country’s population, but whose languages and culture are under siege. In a globalized world, the Berber dialects are not as economically practical as the more dominant languages spoken in Morocco: Arabic, French and, to a lesser but increasingly significant extent, English. Language and culture influence one another. Our words and our ways of speaking help us express and frame our perspective on the world, thus the death of a language seriously threatens the life of a culture. When a culture dies out, the wealth and depth of collective human knowledge and wisdom is diminished. As educators and as members of the global, it is our duty to use increased cross-cultural communication to encourage curiosity about all languages and cultures, that we may preserve them, learn from them and empower their speakers.