Languages in Africa

Languages in Africa : Multilingualism, Language Policy, and Education

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People in many African communities live within a series of concentric circles when it comes to language. In a small group, a speaker uses an often unwritten and endangered mother tongue that is rarely used in school. A national indigenous language - written, widespread, sometimes used in school - surrounds it. An international language like French or English, a vestige of colonialism, carries prestige, is used in higher education, and promises mobility - and yet it will not be well known by its users. The essays in Languages in Africa explore the layers of African multilingualism as they affect language policy and education. Through case studies ranging across the continent, the contributors consider multilingualism in the classroom as well as in domains ranging from music and film to politics and figurative language. The contributors report on the widespread devaluing and even death of indigenous languages. They also investigate how poor teacher training leads to language-related failures in education.
At the same time, they demonstrate that education in a mother tongue can work, linguists can use their expertise to provoke changes in language policies, and linguistic creativity thrives in these multilingual communities.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 160 pages
  • 152 x 229 x 12.7mm | 318g
  • Washington, DC, United States
  • English
  • 10 Tables, unspecified; 15 Figures; 47 Halftones, black and white
  • 1626161526
  • 9781626161528
  • 3,162,901

Table of contents

Introduction: Layers of Language-Some Bad News and Some Good News on Multilingualism, Language Policy, and Education in Africa 1 Early Reading Success in Africa: The Language FactorElizabeth C. Zsiga, One Tlale Boyer, and Ruther Kramer2 Multilingualism as a Sociolinguistic Phenomenon: Evidence from AfricaEyamba G. Bokamba 3 Classroom Discourse in Bilingual and Multilingual Kenyan Primary SchoolsLydiah Kananu Kiramba 4 Investigating Teacher Effects in Mother-Tongue-Based Multilingual Education ProgramsStephen L. Walter 5 Ghana's Complementary Education ProgramKingsley Arkorful 6 Language Contact and Language Attitudes in Two Dagara-Speaking Border Communities in Burkina Faso and GhanaRichard Beyogle 7 Language and Education Policy in Botswana: The Case of SebirwaOne Tlale Boyer and Elizabeth Zsiga 8 Ethnic Language Shift among the Nao People of EthiopiaSamson Seid 9 The Role of Language and Culture in Ethnic Identity Maintenance: The Case of the Gujarati Community in South AfricaSheena Shah 10 "The Palm Oil with Which Words Are Eaten": Proverbs from Cameroon's Endangered Indigenous LanguagesEyovi Njwe 11 The Linguistic "Glocal" in Nigeria's Urban Popular MusicTolulope Odebunmi 12 Language Use in Advertisements as a Reflection of Speakers' Language HabitsLeonard Muaka 13 The Persuasive Nature of Metaphors in Kenya's Political DiscourseLeonard Muaka 14 African Languages on Film: Visualizations of Pathologized Polyglossia Anjali Pandey Contributors Index
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Review quote

The volume offers a major contribution to multilingualism scholarship and opens up unexplored dimensions of the phenomenon. It provides fresh insight into the sociolinguistics of multilingualism by bringing together a wide range of case studies, especially those on languages whose critical status has not been reported before. Its coverage is enhanced by contributions from scholars that work both within and outside Africa. It will interest a wide range of readers, including African linguists, language educators, policy makers, and graduate students interested in multilingualism research. African Studies Quarterly
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About Elizabeth C. Zsiga

Elizabeth C. Zsiga is a professor in the linguistics department at Georgetown University. One Tlale Boyer is a postdoctoral research associate in the linguistics department at Georgetown University. Ruth Kramer is an assistant professor in the linguistics department at Georgetown University.
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