Informal English Learning Among Moroccan Youth

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapter


Morocco is one of the most multilingual nations on earth in terms of the number of individuals who are multilingual in three or four languages (Moroccan Arabic, Standard Arabic, French, and for approximately half the population, a variety of Amazigh, or “Berber”). English was introduced into the high school curriculum in the late 1960s, and since the advent of digital communications (satellite television, the internet, and mobile devices), in the 1990s, has become a prestige language in the country. In this study I investigated the informal learning strategies of first‐semester students in English programs in three public universities. Male and female students from a wide range of demographic backgrounds on average attributed more than half of their proficiency to an “invisible university” of online, digital, and face‐to‐face English‐language resources, and described sophisticated strategies for teaching themselves. Their TOEFL speaking scores also correlated positively with their self‐reported use of informal resources. Despite relatively high levels of spoken proficiency, however, literacy remains a challenge for many students, not only in English but in French and Standard Arabic as well. Implications of these findings for Moroccan education and language education more generally are discussed in conclusion.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationThe Handbook of Informal Language Learning
EditorsMark Dressman, Randall William Sadler
ISBN (Electronic)9781119472384
StatePublished - Feb 2020


  • multilingualism
  • Moroccan literacy
  • Moroccan universities
  • triliteracy
  • invisible university


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