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Language has played a pivotal role in societal transformation in postcolonial Africa towards the creation of globally competitive knowledge societies; however so far, this role has been under-researched and under-estimated. This volume addresses this gap in the literature, by bringing together a team of globally-recognised scholars to explore the effect of language on African postcolonial societies, and how it has contributed to achieving 'mental decolonisation'. A range of languages are explored, both imported (ex-colonial) and indigenous African, and case studies from different spheres of public discourse are investigated, from universities to legal settings. Demonstrating that multilingualism is a resource for, rather than barrier to, successful transformation, this book brings the intellectualisation and institutionalisation of African languages to the forefront of development discourse, and provides an insightful snap-shot of how current academic research, public discourse, political activism and social community engagement have contributed to societal transformation in South Africa.
African linguistics is defined by a triple research focus: (1) African languages, (2) language in Africa, and (3) the applied dimension of linguistics in Africa. Four answers are given to the question Why to deal with the history of African linguistics? The origin of African linguistics lies in organizing language learning for practical purposes to the benefit of expatriates. The colonial legacy accounts for the disempowerment of indigenous languages and hegemonic dominance of foreign languages. The postcolonial challenge targets the intellectualization and re-empowerment of indigenous languages and faces the uphill battle for adequate multilingual policies and their implementation. The chapter discusses the relevance of African languages for development and traces its change from ‘extractive’ to ‘inclusive’ approaches and policies.
Bringing together a team of leading scholars, this volume forms the first global history of African linguistics as an autonomous academic discipline, covering Africa, America, Asia, Australia, and Europe. Defining African linguistics, the volume describes its emergence from a 'colonial science' at the turn of the twentieth century in Europe, where it was first established mainly in academic institutions of former colonial powers. Its riddance from the 'colonial project' is traced, following its 'de-colonialisation' and subsequent spread from imperialist Europe across all inhabited continents, with particular reference to its academic establishment in the various regions of Africa. Providing inside views of African linguistic research and its ramifications over time, active researchers in its various subfields present highly informative accounts of current and past research priorities and achievements. The twenty-six authors are themselves representatives of the various regions of both the world and Africa, in which African linguistics has become entrenched in academic institutions.
This book provides an in-depth and comprehensive state-of-the-art study of 'African languages' and 'language in Africa' since its beginnings as a 'colonial science' at the turn of the twentieth century in Europe. Compiled by 56 internationally renowned scholars, this ground breaking study looks at past and current research on 'African languages' and 'language in Africa' under the impact of paradigmatic changes from 'colonial' to 'postcolonial' perspectives. It addresses current trends in the study of the role and functions of language, African and other, in pre- and postcolonial African societies. Highlighting the central role that the 'language factor' plays in postcolonial transformation processes of sociocultural modernization and economic development, it also addresses more recent, particularly urban, patterns of communication, and outlines applied dimensions of digitalization and human language technology.