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Beur (or alternatively, Rebeu) is a colloquial term to designate European-born people whose parents or grandparents are immigrants from North Africa, more specifically Maghreb.[1] The equivalent term for a female beur is a beurette. The term rebeu is neither applicable to females nor does it have a female version.

The word beur was coined using verlan for the word arabe, which means Arabic or Arab in French. Since the late 1990s, a lot of young people have used the twice-verlanised term rebeu as a synonym. This term is now the dominant term used by the younger generations (under 30). The word beurette, the female version of beur, is created by adding the -ette female suffix in French. In French many slang words are created by simply reversing the word in terms of spelling and then reading it out. Because of French grammar rules, the new word is usually completely different from the result of reversing the word phonetically. The word beurgeois is derived from a combination of the words beur and bourgeois.

The term is slightly familiar and not advised in formal speech with respect to etiquette though it will be used in the media. The term beur is used to refer to all the Arabs from either Maghreb or Mashreq areas of the Arab world born in France.

The term beur is of French origin, and as such was traditionally mostly used in French-speaking European countries such as France (where the term originates), Belgium, Monaco, Luxembourg and Switzerland, as well as in North Africa. Due to cultural integration between such peoples across Europe, the term is now popular in other parts of Europe with a large North African community, such as the UK, Spain, the Netherlands and Italy.

Someone who is a North African from Europe is not necessarily a beur: the term is applied to those who have a hybrid culture between their North African roots and their status as someone who was born and raised in Europe. There is a big difference between a French Moroccan and a beur, for instance. There is a strong identity and solidarity between these people that exists irrespective of which North African country one comes from, nor the European country they were raised in: a French Algerian will see another French Algerian as they would a French Moroccan, a Belgium Moroccan or a Belgian Algerian. The term can apply to people of any ethnicity or religion, such as Arabs, Berbers, Pied-Noir or Jews or even Blacks who originate from North Africa.

Since 1992, the BEUR.FM[2] radio station has broadcast nationwide (106.7 FM in Paris). It specializes in North African Arab music and other genres (funk, rap, ... ) discussion, and news.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Beur Archived July 21, 2011, at the Wayback Machine. Larousse Dictionary. Accessed 2011-04-25
  2. ^ BEUR.FM. Accessed 201-01-11

Further reading[edit]

  • Nora Barsali, François Freland and Anne-Marie Vincent (Hg.): Générations Beurs. Français à part entière. Éditions Autrement 2003
  • Philippe Bernard: La crème des beurs. De l'immigration à l'intégration. Seuil 2004
  • Hafid Gafaïti (Hg.): Cultures transnationales de France. Des «Beurs» aux… ? L'Harmattan 2001

On Beur Literature:

  • Alec G. Hargreaves: La littérature beur: Un guide bio-bibliographique. CELFAN Edition Monographs, New Orleans 1992
  • Alec G. Hargreaves: Voices from the North African Immigrant Community in France. Immigration and Identity in Beur Fiction. Berg, New York/ Oxford 1991/1997
  • Michel Laronde: Autour du roman beur. Immigration et identité. L'Harmattan 1993
  • Laura Reeck: Writerly Identities in Beur Fiction and Beyond. Lexington Books 2011

External links[edit]