Contemporary Moroccan urban experiences in Dārija: a reading of Youssouf Amine Elalamy’s Tqarqīb Ennāb (Chatter)

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Through the lens of the modern-day Moroccan city, I examine contemporary literary and sociocultural issues represented in Youssouf Amine Elalamy’s 2005 Tqarqīb Ennāb (Chatter), the first Moroccan book written entirely in Dārija (the Moroccan dialect of Arabic). I also explore the ways in which Elalamy uses everyday language in Tqarqīb Ennāb as a form of artistic expression that aims to engage the masses in the reading and understanding of the sociocultural and political developments in contemporary Morocco. The author depicts in his book urban experiences through conceptual art to express concerns about his society—a narrative in which he captures twenty-first-century Moroccan society by means of iconography and visual art but also through text and popular language in rhymed prose. In particular, I investigate Elalamy’s use of a new aesthetics of the big city, a fragmented and ailing space, while addressing an array of issues related to language, identity, religion, race, gender, terrorism, and globalism.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)815-838
Number of pages24
JournalJournal of North African Studies
Issue number4
StatePublished - 2021

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2021 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group.


  • Dārija
  • Moroccan fiction narratives
  • Moroccan popular culture
  • aesthetics of the city
  • contemporary urban experiences

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Geography, Planning and Development
  • Development
  • Political Science and International Relations


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