Language Contact Phenomena among Algerian University Students

  • Messaouda Annab

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis


Globalisation and the rapid development of technology have created an important context in which different languages and structures can be used in the same conversations. This research investigates the practice of language contact phenomena within social media using Facebook as the main platform, and also within face-to-face interaction among Algerian Vernacular Arabic (AVA) students. More specifically, this study explores how Algerian students have incorporated lexical English borrowing in their online conversations and face-to-face interactions. In this study, the possible factors underlying language mixing of French, English and AVA are explained and the relationships between language, culture and identity among a multilingual group are examined. The nature of the study entails the use of three research methods. The first one is an online research method that uses Facebook private conversations collected from Bachelor and Masters AVA students recruited from the English department at the University of Oum El-Bouaghi, Algeria. The second method is a face-to-face group discussion collected from a different group of 13 Masters AVA students, and the third method is one-to-one interviews that involved six Masters students. One-to-one interviews are used to assess participants’ attitudinal dimensions concerning the use of borrowing from English into AVA. The analysis of data revealed that Facebook as a social media platform may provide the users with opportunities to switch between languages, and indicates that the participants of this study are skilled in more than one language. This practice was observed in both Facebook online conversations and face-to-face group discussion methods. Despite the fact that AVA is the mother tongue of the chosen sample, adapting from English was more significant than French code-switching. The results revealed that different language mixing patterns are adopted by AVA students according to the topic of discussion. In this research, several reasons are provided to explain why AVA students borrow from English. The analysis of both modes of communication led to similar results in terms of language mixing patterns under the different discussion topics. Finally, it was noticed that morphological integration was used in AVA students’ social media writing and speech. As a result, this research has specifically contributed to the evolution of understanding of language contact phenomena in social media and its impact on the linguistic development of AVA students.
Date of AwardJul 2020
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University of Northampton
SupervisorJanet Wilson (Supervisor), Dave Burnapp (Supervisor) & Andrew Pilkington (Supervisor)


  • AVA
  • language contact
  • social

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