English in the expanding circle of Morocco: Spread, uses, and functions

Date created: 
World Englishes
Expanding Circle
Shop signs
Linguistic landscape

Research using Kachru’s (1984) World Englishes theoretical framework and Three Circles model has produced a wealth of knowledge about the spread and functions of English to speech communities around the world. However, there is a recognition that disproportionate attention has been accorded across these spheres. The most compelling argument outlining this gap in the literature was offered by Berns (2005) over a decade ago and was reiterated by Elyas and Mahboob (2020) just recently. Berns (2005: 85) concluded that while the bulk of academic research has focused on the use of English in Inner and Outer Circle contexts, the Expanding Circle remains mostly overlooked. Elyas and Mahboob (2020: 1), who co-edited a special journal issue on the North African and Middle East contexts, underscored that the topic of English in these regions ‘is largely under-studied and undertheorized.’ Following Berns’ remarks, numerous studies have focused on this underrepresented context. Nevertheless, despite their solid contributions, these investigations remain insufficient for constructing a comprehensive understanding of the distinct dynamics of the Expanding Circle. To contribute to the Expanding Circle literature, this exploratory, qualitative, macrosociolinguistic study employs Kachru’s (1984) World Englishes theoretical framework to investigate in greater depth the spread, functional range, and domains of English use in the multilingual country of Morocco. Specifically, this study initially provides an overview of the various languages used in Morocco, then outlines the history of its contact with the English language. It next explores English use in Moroccan media, examining in detail the language’s wide-ranging uses in broadcast, digital, print, and film media. This is followed by an in-depth examination of the linguistic landscape of the metropolitan city of Casablanca, with a focus on shop signs and outdoor advertisements. Whilst the users and uses of the English language are the major focus of analysis, additional attention is given to what such a spread means for the other four historically well-established languages of use within this Expanding Circle context: Arabic, French, Spanish, and the indigenous language Tmazight. A further aim of this study is to contribute new perspectives to the existing literature on the distinct dynamics of the Expanding Circle in general.

Document type: 
This thesis may be printed or downloaded for non-commercial research and scholarly purposes. Copyright remains with the author.
Suzanne K. Hilgendorf
Arts & Social Sciences: Department of Linguistics
Thesis type: 
(Thesis) Ph.D.