Speaking in Tongues Across Lingua Cultural Boundaries

Melicent Jalova


The Libyan government used to invest fully in
the English language teaching curriculum, which
focused on improving the teaching and learning of
English as a foreign language (EFL) in schools and
universities. As English becomes a dominant language
of power in global commerce, science, and technology,
the need to teach and learn English has made a
significant increase. The purpose of giving emphasis on
the teaching and learning of English in Libya is to
enable the country to go along in the development of its
economy and to promote international exchange. But
researches revealed that very few studies have been
done on teaching English in Arabic countries in Africa,
specifically in Libya. Thus, this paper delved on
empirical method to carry out the linguistic description
of how Libyans expressed their sentiments during the
Libyan uprising in 2011using English language.
Through linguistic and sociolinguistic analysis of the
different graffiti found on the roads of Tripoli and
Bengazi, the study revealed that group identity, social
class and the influence of L1 has a lot to do with
Libyan’s L2 learning. But, despite the deficiency of
English, the power of the English language heightened
the sentiments of the people who cried and waited for
freedom in the last 42 years. This shout for freedom was
heard internationally. Despite Libyans’ limited
knowledge of English, they made use of this language as
a global lingua franca. How the people actually used it
and made it work recorded an impact in the world. This
study clearly saw how English as a medium of political
purposes played an important role in shaping the future
of Libya.


English for political purposes, graffiti, lingua franca, sociolinguistics

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