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A Sociolinguistic Approach to the Cinematic Discourse in Amazigh Film
This paper examines the function of language choices and stylization in constructing an indigenous Amazigheity in Amazigh films set in different countries around North Africa and the diaspora. Drawing upon data from films shown at NYFAF ( Myopia by Sanaa Akrout, Tamellest by Chahine Berriche, and Papicha by Mounia Meddour) alongside other Amazigh films, such as La Montagne de Baya by Azeddine Meddour, and the sociolinguistic concept of cinematic discourse (Androutsopoulos, 2012), the analysis will attempt to explain what ideological statements and meanings underpin the representation of Tamazight language(s) in dialogues and subtitle translations. The paper uses a qualitative approach that includes an account of the mono- and multilingual language choice patterns in the movies in question and an analysis of the audience reactions generated either by NYFAF audience or social media comments (YouTube in particular). The analysis reveals three major findings: 1) when language choices are styled linguistically as local and/or Tamazight, a rejection of colonial ethnolinguistic essentialism is often the main goal in defiance of a homogenous monolingual ideology that has longly lumped Imazighen under one category; 2) Amazigh filmmakers’ stylistic choices interact continuously with the dominant-language ideology perpetuated by Darija, Arabic, and/ or French to reinforce, oppose, and in some way to just negotiate it while highlighting the historical reality of the Amazigh linguistic hybridity;3) Despite audience’s appreciation of a pluralist and heteroglossia depiction in Amaizgh film, their ideologies often hold traces of the dominant language ideology and mainstream stereotypes.
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