The sociolinguis1ics of Ungala as a diaspora lingua franca: Historical and language-ideological aspects (Michael Meeuwis)
The sociolinguis1ics of Ungala as a diaspora lingua franca: Historical and language-ideological aspects Michael Meeuwis Introduction In their recent book on the potential of African linguistic diversity, the Mazruis make the point that over the last five or so decades a number of African languages have acquired the position of players 'that matter' on the linguistic markets of Western countries (Mazrui and Mazrui 1998). It is worthwhile quoting their account of this development in full: Ironically, it is precisely the European linguistic domination ushered in by colonialism that has created ripe conditions for Africa's own linguistic counter-penetration of the West through the diaspora of colonisation. For a long time, African labour could only migrate from one part of a country to another, or at best from one African country to a conterminous one within the same geographical region. But the acquisition of European languages, as additional media, has now accorded African labour the capacity to be mobile on a transcontinental level. With the faculty of the English language, for example, Africans from the Anglophone region of Africa can now migrate more readily than ever before to English-speaking parts of Europe, Canada and the USA, in the process taking with them a whole range of African tongues to their new hornes. (Mazrui and Mazrui 1998: 49-50) The linguistic imperialism of the European colonisers, who introduced and imposed European languages onto the African continent, and the neo-colonial Mrican regimes' tendency to maintain this Euro-lingual dominance, have in some way 'backfired' on the...
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