How English Transforms the Linguistic Landscape in Algeria Introduction
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The arrival of the English language in Algeria is linked to the landing of American parachutists in Algiers during WW2, yet its presence has been constantly reinforced to become a serious threat to both the native and the foreign languages occupying the area. A study by Euromonitor conducted in 2012 confirms that “Over the years, English has expanded despite the modest number of its actual speakers „7% according to the British Council, compared to the 60% for French, yet 57% consider English as important.‟ A number of studies by Algerian scholars (Benrabah, 2014; Fodil, 2014, 2016; Belmihoub, 2017; Ouahmiche et al, 2017) and by graduate and post-graduate students in the department of English at Mouloud Mammeri University of Tizi-ouzou (Sidhoum, 2016; Kasdi, 2017; Boulahia, 2018; Hocine, 2019) have all emphasized the change presently taking place in the Algerian linguistic landscape where English is slowly, but steadily imposing itself. Therefore, starting from Shohamy‟s contention that „the display of language transmits symbolic messages as to the legitimacy, relevance, priority, and standards of languages and the people and groups they represent ‟ the aim of the present research is to make an endeavour at providing a further explanation for this new linguistic deal in present Algeria. The paper considers that one of the best illustrations of this expansion of English can be shown in a change of the linguistic landscape in a city of medium size, taken as an example, and located at one hundred Km east of Algiers, the capital of Algeria. One of the major signs of this expansion lies in the increasing number of neon shops written in English where more than two hundred signs have been identified and photographed, while none of them existed thirty years ago. Another indicator of this change relates to the ever growing number of students registering in the Department of English, at the University.