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Wildsmith-Cromarty, Rosemary, Reilly, Colin and Kamdem, Seraphin (2023) 'Investigating the opportunities and challenges for African languages in public spaces: an introduction.' Journal of Multilingual and Multicultural Development, 44 (9). pp. 765-772.

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This introduction to the Special Edition provides a rationale for the inclusion of the selected articles. We begin with a consideration of various factors that led to the marginalisation of African languages, including the hegemony of English, colonialism and ensuing language policies that still hold today. Such policies proclaimed languages exogenous to the continent as official languages for formal public discourses, including the education domain. This led to the low visibility of indigenous languages in such domains. European missionaries also contributed to this by imposing Western linguistic frameworks on the continuum of African languages such that they became separate, named and bounded, which is counter-intuitive to the heteroglossic, multilingual realities of language use in African indigenous communities. We then examine the expanding role of African languages in response to technology, social media, globalisation and more responsive and dynamic language policies. The articles in this Special Edition cover language policy and language in education; language and identity negotiation in contexts of migration; language use on social media platforms; language and the workplace and language use in advertising. These contributions reveal that the multilingual reality of Africa’s language ecology is increasingly visible in many domains.

Item Type: Journal Article
Keywords: African languages, multilingualism, public domains, visibility, marginalisation, diaspora
SOAS Departments & Centres: Departments and Subunits > School of Languages, Cultures & Linguistics
ISSN: 01434632
DOI (Digital Object Identifier):
SWORD Depositor: JISC Publications Router
Date Deposited: 09 Jul 2023 08:22

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