Vol.10, No.2 | [Article] The conflict between Arabs and Berbers in Algeria Focusing on linguistic and cultural identity



Algeria is a country of multiple cultural identities in terms of language use. Recent social changes suggest that Tamazight might become an official language despite Algeria’s consistent post-independence Arabization policy. As in Morocco, this could be another important event in the Maghreb that will play a significant role in defining Algerian identity.
This paper examines current language use in Algeria, specifically the status of the Tamazight and Berber languages, in light of political decisions, legal grounds, and other processes of change. In doing so, it also reviews changes to Algerian identity in modern Algerian history in accordance with contemporary Arabization policy. Tribal disputes such as that in M’zab seem to have a considerable impact in shifting Algerian identity by bringing issues of human rights, balanced regional development, and Berber into focus, despite the lack of direct connections to the Berber problem. Hence, examining Algeria through the lenses of language and culture will contribute to establishing and understanding the region’s cultural identity.

Keyword : Berber, linguistic policy, Algeria, cultural identity, Kabyle, Mozabite