This chapter deals with the use and function of manipulated language in contact situations. Some previously unknown forms of semi-engineered contact in Africa are described, using the example of language contact along river systems. These issues are not only central to our understanding of how language is related to the structure of society, but are also important for historical linguistics, being of relevance to current debates concerning the idea of “mixed” languages, and providing insights into the working of social stratification of language and the social mechanisms behind its development. Furthermore, they are crucial to understanding the stimulus of deliberate language change and in this respect also the dynamics of language and knowledge systems in Africa.
Keywords: ritual communication, contact, difference, imitation, alterity, slave trade, Kororofa Kingdom, relexification, invented language, magic, mimesis, liquids, noun classes, Nigeria, river systems
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