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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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Language Movement and Civil War in West Africa

Language Movement and Civil War in West Africa

(p.187) Chapter 9 Language Movement and Civil War in West Africa
Tracing Language Movement in Africa

Ericka A. Albaugh

Oxford University Press

This chapter examines how civil war can influence the spread of language. Specifically, it takes Sierra Leone as a case study to demonstrate how Krio grew from being primarily a language of urban areas in the 1960s to one spoken by most of the population in the 2000s. While some of this was due to “normal” factors such as population movement and growing urbanization, the civil war from 1991 to 2002 certainly catalyzed the process of language spread in the 1990s. Using census documents and surveys, the chapter tests the hypothesis at the national, regional, and individual levels. The spread of a language has political consequences, as it allows for citizen participation in the political process. It is an example of political scientists’ approach to uncovering the mechanisms for and evidence of language movement in Africa.

Keywords:   civil war, Krio, Sierra Leone, language spread, violence, conflict events

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