Publication details [#61472]

Tilmatine, Mohand. 2016. French and Spanish colonial policy in North Africa: revisiting the Kabyle and Berber myth. International Journal of the Sociology of Language 2016 (239) : 95–120.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher
De Gruyter


Based on the ascription of some distinctive qualities, French colonialism in North Africa generated “the Kabyle (or Berber) myth”, deployed both by North African nationalists and the academic world to legalize their inculpations against the colonial powers of using a divide and defeat tactic. The French and Spanish colonial policies of capacitating Arabic as imperial and ruling language at the expense of the peripheral and low status Berber languages, highly added to the global adoption of an additional myth, i. e., North Africa being “Arab and Muslim”. Thus post-colonial governments disavowed the distinctiveness of Berbers in general, and repudiated their claims for linguistic and cultural admission. Recently though, the Berber people have opposed these myths; a resistance movement emerged, a revolution in Algeria (Kabylie) and the evolution of cultural pride and identity. This made us consider afresh the colonial Berber myths.