Journal cover Journal topic
Advances in Cartography and GIScience of the ICA
Journal topic
Articles | Volume 3
29 Nov 2021
 | 29 Nov 2021

Dual naming as a mechanism to recognize multiple identities; Casablanca or Ad-Dār al-Bayḍā

Malak Alasli and Gábor Gercsák

Keywords: dual-naming, identity, toponymy

Abstract. The primary aim of place names is to provide clear direction and reference in order to distinguish geographical entities. The Moroccan linguistic situation allows for a bilingual presentation of place names, with an Arabized version and a French counterpart that differs phonetically. On the other hand, Casablanca has dual naming, a colonial name, and an Arabic variant, which is not simply a translation that happened as a result of Arabization policies introduced after the country's independence. This study relies mainly on questionnaires, in addition to interviews, in an attempt to address the following aspects: The attitude towards the standardization of only one variant, variants and the city's cultural heritage and significance, standardization of only one variant and the accurate representation of the place, dual naming as a reminder of the multiple place histories vs. dual naming as a mere case of the language difference, and Moroccans and the etymology of the variants. The findings indicate that Casablanca shifts from a mere marker of the colonial period to an active maker of the city's heritage. Its meaning is disconnected from its historical anchorage and converted into an instrument of identity and means of historical memory. Moreover, the choice of one variant is perceived as a loss of toponymic identity, which will serve as a hindrance against the population and their relation to their past.

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