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Tracing Language Movement in Africa$
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Ericka A. Albaugh and Kathryn M. de Luna

Print publication date: 2018

Print ISBN-13: 9780190657543

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: February 2018

DOI: 10.1093/oso/9780190657543.001.0001

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Population Movements, Language Contact, Linguistic Diversity, Etc.

Population Movements, Language Contact, Linguistic Diversity, Etc.

A Postscript

(p.387) Chapter 18 Population Movements, Language Contact, Linguistic Diversity, Etc.
Tracing Language Movement in Africa

Salikoko S. Mufwene

Oxford University Press

This chapter argues that languages move with people for various reasons, including nomadism, long-distance trade, colonization, exile and refuge, and deportations. While not necessarily mutually exclusive, these categories enable a better understanding of the differential evolution of languages at home and in the diasporas, owing to differing population structures and other ecological conditions resulting from different kinds of migrations within, into, and out of Africa in particular. In contrast with the fragility of its languages in the diaspora, the continent has been remarkable for the resilience of its indigenous vernaculars relative to the prestigious European colonial languages and the urban varieties that European colonization generated. This resilience is due to the division of labor in communicative functions as well as to stagnation of African economies, both of which have sustained multilingualism through socioeconomic and cultural segregation. From this theoretical foundation, the chapter then engages with the previous contributions to the volume.

Keywords:   population movement, language contact, linguistic diversity, language ecology, multilingualism

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