What is it like to live as a Muslim in France? Out of one and a half billion Muslims in the world today, five million of them live in France. This large number represents ten percent of the total French population; as Islam is the second most predominant religion in the country following Roman Catholicism. With such a large percent of Muslims living in France, as in any society that has diverse cultures and religions, cultural clashes and misunderstandings are bound to arise. A history of conflict between France and its former Muslim North African colonies and large influxes of Muslim immigrant workers into France over the years, combined with the lack of trust for the Muslim community succeeding terrorist acts, have all contributed to the escalating problem of Islamophobia in France. Muslims living in France have struggled to assimilate into the modern Western society and they are treated as second-class citizens. Problems Muslims face include laws and bans against traditional Muslim dress, lack of social mobility, and an overall sense of suspicion of the Islamic faith.

The second-generation immigrants, who are born in France, feel as if they can never truly assimilate, due to all of these issues. And over time, this community has come to use the linguistic code of verlan to create their own cultural identities. This code, which is centuries old, has been adopted by the youth population of second-generation immigrants of North African ethnicity. The way in which the code is used has helped this community to reject standard French, to express themselves creatively and create their own separate third space identity.

Semester/Year of Award

Spring 4-29-2013


Randi L. Polk

Mentor Department Affiliation

Language and Cultural Studies, Anthropology, and Sociology

Access Options

Restricted Access Thesis

Document Type

Bachelor Thesis

Degree Name

Honors Scholars

Degree Level



Languages, Cultures, and Humanities

Department Name when Degree Awarded

Foreign Languages and Humanities