The ubiquity of French not only aggravates the dependence of the Maghreb to France, it impedes the region's ability to develop beyond its traditional (colonial) ties. Worse, it not only serves as an economic chain, it culturally acts like an albatross around their necks: everything, from law to social models is borrowed from France. Considering how inefficient and sterile French models and intellectual production can be today in most fields when compared to their anglo-saxon counterparts, the Maghreb is riding a losing horse. It isolates individual Maghrebis from most scientific and economic literature...Some of the comments are worth reading as well, and the author links to published online papers (bibliography in a blog post - always a trend worth promoting!)
In a more personal post, "Filjazair" describes Algeria's linguistic "schizophrenia", as it appears to a heritage learner:
I hear, a lot, things like: "Don't bother learning darija, it's not worth it"; "You don't need to learn fusha [formal Arabic], nobody speaks it"; "Our language [Arabic, formal Arabic] is being corrupted - we're still in the age of colonisation!" (this from one student who'd heard that another student had to write her university thesis in French); "Everybody speaks French, that's all you need"; "Everybody speaks darija, that's all you need."
So I'm in a French class with Algerians who already know a lot of French but speak it sloppily, and who feel a need - because of work, because of school, because of future prospects - to get better. This week I start formal Arabic lessons with a tutor downtown. And along the way I'm trying to pick up snippets of darija to use in the street, so as not to have to use too much of the French or Arabic I'm learning, because French marks you as a foreigner (or worse, a snob - an Algerian in contempt of her Algerianness) and because nobody actually speaks the formal Arabic.