First Advisor

Keith Walters

Date of Publication

Winter 3-21-2014

Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts (M.A.) in Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages


Applied Linguistics




Code switching (Linguistics) -- Libya, Tamazight language -- Libya -- Usage, Arabic language -- Libya -- Usage, Berbers -- Social aspects -- Libya, Language policy -- Libya -- History



Physical Description

1 online resource (vii, 84 pages)


The purpose of this study is to investigate the nature of code switching between Tamazight and Arabic in light of Myers-Scotton's Matrix Frame Model (MLF) (Myers- Scotton, 1993), and the 4-M model of code switching (Myers-Scotton & Jake, 2000). Data come from the very first Libyan Tamazight news broadcast in Libya on May 2, 2011, during the uprising against the Gaddafi regime. I analyzed the broadcast in an attempt to understand the nature and implications of the switching between the two languages in the utterances of the speakers in the video. I also argued that in many ways what many might think of as code switching is actually borrowing.

During the Gaddafi era, the government banned the use of Tamazight in formal settings such as the media, work place, and schools. Since the fall of Gaddafi and his regime, the Imazighen (or Berbers) in Libya have sought to present themselves, their language, and their culture as an important part of Libyan culture. Libya's Imazighen are bilingual speakers, a fact that set up the conditions for the switching between Tamazight and Arabic analyzed in this study. Their bilingualism, along with Libyan language policies under Gaddafi, help account for the nature of code switching in the data.

This study documents contact phenomena among different languages in Libya. It also facilitates understanding of some of the sociolinguistic changes occurring there as a result of the political changes in the wake of so-called "Arab Spring."


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