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Language, Names, and War: The Case of Angola

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  23 May 2014

Abstract:

This article shows the links between naming practices and war. The focus is on MPLA war names used during the Angolan struggle for independence. These names are framed in the wider context of the relations between language and war. In many African contexts, names are not singular and fixed, but may change with every personal transformation. Entering the life of a soldier constitutes just such a drastic change. The article shows that through war names, a kaleidoscope of issues may be addressed, including the relations between language, rank, and power, personal history and popular culture, spirit possession and resurrection, self-description and labeling, writing and legitimacy, and secrecy and identity.

Résumé:

Résumé:

Cet article met en évidence le lien entre les pratiques nominatives liées et la guerre. Il se concentre sur les noms de guerre employés par le MPLA (Partido do Poder em Angola) pendant le conflit angolais pour l'indépendance. Ces noms sont envisagés dans le contexte plus vaste des relations entre la langue et la guerre. Dans de nombreux contextes africains, les noms ne sont pas singuliers ou définitifs, mais ils évoluent souvent avec chaque transformation personnelle. L'entrée dans la vie de soldat constitue un exemple radical de ce type de transformation. L'article montre comment, à travers les noms de guerre, un éventail de questions peuvent être adressées, y compris les relations entre la langue, la hiérarchie et le pouvoir, l'histoire individuelle et la culture populaire, les phénomènes de possession et de résurrection, l'auto description et le choix du nom, l'écriture et la légitimité et enfin, le secret et l'identité.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © African Studies Association 2004

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