Dissertations, Theses, and Capstone Projects

Date of Degree


Document Type


Degree Name



Liberal Studies


Cecelia Cutler

Subject Categories

Anthropological Linguistics and Sociolinguistics | Linguistics | Near Eastern Languages and Societies


France, immigrants, Laïcite, Muslim, repertoire, secularism


France is a secular society with a deeply rooted Catholic tradition. This environment affects the acceptability of demonstrations of Muslim religious identity. Muslim immigrants to France are often ghettoized into rent controlled housing in suburbs around the cities. Rejected from French society, these immigrants cling to what links them together, which is their religion. By the third generation, fluency in heritage languages declines greatly, yet the youth of the banlieues re-appropriate Arabic words into their French speech, leading to the emergence of a Muslim repertoire that is not always accepted by speakers of standard French. This thesis surveys French people of diverse backgrounds as to how they rate elements from this repertoire in terms of religiousness and which they find acceptable in French shows the correspondence between perceived religiousness and social acceptability. Religious terms in Arabic can be interspersed in French. Uttering these words or phrases in the original Arabic instead of French translation demonstrates knowledge of religious Arabic and a connection to the religion.