Workshop Superdiversity and the Sociolinguistics of Morocco

Superdiversity and the Sociolinguistics of Morocco

Workshop on Thursday 28 March 2019 in Tilburg University

(Dante Buildingroom 008; 10.00-17.00)


0930-1000 Registration Coffee-Tea

1000-1015 Opening workshop by prof. Odile Heynders, director of the Department of Cultural Studies of the Tilburg School of Humanities and Digital Studies.

1015-1115 Massimiliano Spotti (Tilburg) What is so super about super-diversity?

1115-1130 Coffee and tea break

1130-1230 Laura Gago Gómez (Salamanca)Amazigh and Standard Arabic in the Academy of the Kingdom of Morocco publications before and after 2011 Constitution

1230-1330 Lunch break

1330-1430 Khalid Mourigh (Leiden)Characteristics of Moroccan Dutch

 1430-1530 Jan Hoogland (Nijmegen) 35 Years of research on the use of Moroccan Darija for written purposes. A retrospective and the current state.

 1530-1600 Coffee and Tea Break

1600-1700 Jan Jaap de Ruiter (Tilburg) Arabic between tradition and globalization and superdiversity. An evaluation.

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What is so super about super-diversity? Massimiliano Spotti (  Tilburg University

In the present contribution, I will zoom on to the concept of superdiversity and the implications this concept has had across several disciplines among which socio-linguistics.  The term super-diversity finds its roots in a 2007 paper called “Super-diversity and its implications“. In that paper, the anthropologist Steven Vertovec drew attention to the tremendous demographic changes that had occurred in a city such as London since the early to mid-1990s, and the effects it had on research and policy. While “diversity” was commonly something perceived in terms of relatively stable, organized, resident and clearly identifiable ethnoreligious groups (e.g. “Jamaicans” or “Pakistani Muslims”), the post-Cold War patterns of migration showed far less clear-cut characteristics, leading to a considerable “diversification of diversity” and a consequent jeopardy in clustering diversity through homogeneous category terms. Ten years down the line we see that sociolinguistics, in as much as other disciplines (see Vertovec 2019 in his work talking around super-diversity), have taken stock of the benefits that super-diversity has brought to them calling for a revision of their conceptual as well as methodological armor. Against this background, moving away from sterile diatribe of whether someone is a believer or a non-believer of this concept, I will draw on data collected during a large ethnographic enquiry in asylum seeking centre in Flanders. Through these data, I will try to show how the re-evaluated sociolinguistic concept of ‘language repertoires’ as well as of ‘language biographies’ does play a role in shedding light on the heavily languagised spaces present in an asylum seeking centre.  My contribution will conclude by considering whether super-diversity loans itself to be a way into a renewed understanding of the process of integration and how this can turn to be beneficial for current globalized resilient societies.

Amazigh and Standard Arabic in the Academy of the Kingdom of Morocco publications before and after 2011 Constitution Laura Gago Gómez ( University of Salamanca

The Academy of the Kingdom of Morocco is an important actor in the sociolinguistic debate in Morocco (Benítez & Miller & Ruiter & Tamer 2013; López 2016;  Miller 2015). In order to approach this institution and its relevance, a brief introduction to Moroccan multilingualism is firstly presented (Ziamari & Ruiter 2016; Meskine & Ruiter 2015). After commenting the function and aims of the Academy, its discourse is analyzed, based on its publications before and after the acceptation of 2011 Constitution (specially, 2005, 2010 and 2013 publications). The focus will be on Amazigh and Standard Arabic, the two official languages. The analysis eventually demonstrates the underlying ideology that supports the Academy’s stance and view on these two varieties (Gago 2018). Finally, some preliminary examples of the reflection of this ideology in legal texts will be given. These are taken from drafted laws between 2015 and 2017 concerning linguistic regulations in Morocco (Project of Law number 26.16 of 2016 and number 04.16 of 2016; Proposal of Law 11/15/2017 by Istiqlal Party, Proposal of Law 12/11/2015 by Parti de l’Authenticité et Modernité and Proposal of Law 06/09/2017 by Parti de la Justice et du  Développment).

Characteristics of Moroccan Dutch Khalid Mourigh (

 Gouda is a relatively small town within the Randstad area of the Netherlands. While the total number of inhabitants is only about 70.000, there is a surprisingly large Moroccan Dutch minority comprising about 10% of the population; the highest percentage of any city in the Netherlands. Moreover, other large minorities in the Netherlands are underrepresented in Gouda. In addition, the Moroccan Dutch population of Gouda is quite homogenous in that they originate from approximately the same geographical area in North Morocco, making this the ideal ‘laboratory’ situation for the study of their youth variety or ethnolect.  Moroccan Dutch has developed in recent years into one of the more popular varieties adopted not only by Moroccan Dutch youth but also by other ethnicities. It has certain characteristics that set it apart from other ethnic varieties (such as Surinamese Dutch), of which the most conspicuous ones are the phonetic features, or more popularly known as the ‘accent’. In addition to the accent there are a number of grammatical and sociolinguistic features that characterize this variety. In this talk I will highlight some outcomes of the ATHEME research project on Gouda Moroccan Dutch. Special attention will be given to the way Moroccan languages, Berber and Moroccan Arabic, have or have not influenced this variety.

35 Years of research on the use of Moroccan Darija for written purposes. A retrospective and the current state. Jan Hoogland (

In 1983 I wrote my MA thesis on the use of Moroccan Darija in printed information for Moroccan guestworkers in the Netherlands.To compare the Dutch writings with materials printed in Morocco I tried to collect texts written in Darija from Morocco, however in that era almost nothing could be found in Morocco.At present, 35 years later, the situation in Morocco has drastically changed. Written Darija is everywhere now.When I was living in Rabat from 2009 until 2015 I was able to witness this development from the front row.An important part of that development is embodied in the magazine Nichane, which was published on a weekly basis between september 2006 and august 2010.In my article in Sociolinguistic StudiesI have carried out the first stage of a study of the use of  written Darija.In my contribution I will present the results of that first stage consisting of a statistical analysis of the quantity of written Darija in relation to the quantity of Modern Standard Arabic used in the magazine Nichane.I also intend to present some initial findings on which I will base the second stage of my study. In this stage I will focus on the function (effects) of the use of Darija in the magazine.

Arabic between tradition and globalization and superdiversity Jan Jaap de Ruiter (

I would like to present a bird’s eye view of the study of Arabic in all its varieties since Charles Ferguson described these using the diglossia model. The ‘traditional’ studies following since then on Arabic are as diverse as there are varieties of this language. The studies of Arabic discussed are viewed in the light of the most recent phase of globalization and superdiversity that the world, and thus the Arabic-speaking world as well, is currently undergoing, and which more than ever before is bringing about intra-Arabic contacts, as apparent, for instance, in TV shows on pan-Arabic channels and on the Internet.