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Outrage as competition calls for using Moroccan dialect instead of standard Arabic in texts

May 3, 2023 at 12:05 pm

Wikipedia logo displayed on a phone screen on January 19, 2023 [Jakub Porzycki/NurPhoto via Getty Images]

There has been outrage at attempts to use the Moroccan dialect instead of standard Arabic for Wikipedia entries, Rai Al-Youm newspaper reported yesterday.

Facebook page Wikimedia Morocco launched a competition calling for making Wikipedia entries using Moroccan dialect, calling on people to submit a rich array of content related to Morocco on the Wikipedia platform, offering prizes for winners.

“This competition is aimed at fighting standard Arabic… I do not think that the next generation will be able to understand the simple Arabic language,” one critic said online.

Another asked: “Is standard Arabic not part of our identity?”

“What is the benefit of not using standard Arabic?” one social media user added.

Najiyyah Al-Mukhtari, head of Reading Network in Morocco, said that the aim of this competition “is to encourage and develop writing entries with standard Arabic, Moroccan dialect and Amazigh language.”

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