The Sociolinguistics of Development in Africa
Paulin G. Djité
- Hardback - 248 pages
- 17 Jan 2008
- Multilingual Matters
- 210 x 148 (A5)
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- Aims to describe the place and role of African languages in four areas of development: education, health, economy and governance
- Book argues that language lies at the heart of development
This book discusses the existing sociolinguistic order in Africa, how it is sustained, how it might be changed to the advantage of those who are dominated by it and, most importantly, how it affects the development potential of the Continent. It raises issues about African languages that the average person is not always aware of. For example, why must the African child learn how to read and write in a foreign language? Why must all African doctors be trained in languages that their patient population do not understand? Why must African leaders address their people in languages they know the people do not understand? What are the flow-on effects of these language practices on Africa’s development goals? The book also proposes sustainable and development-oriented alternatives to these practices.
The manuscript will make an important contribution to African sociolinguistics and will have an impact beyond African scholarship. It will expand and deepen the work in African sociolinguistics because of the range of topics which include, but are not limited, to economics, health, education and development.
Professor Sinfree Makoni, Linguistics and Appied Language Studies and African and African-American Studies, Pennsylvania State University.
This is a powerful piece of work that draws together a lot of disparate information, much not readily accessible to an English speaking public, about African languages, their use and the impact of that on the (non)development occurring in Africa, thereby highlighting the role that African languages might play in reversing that situation.
Richard B. Baldauf Jr., University of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia
Paulin Djite brings together different sets of data - economic, political,- to provide a convincing perpective on language problems in Africa. Linguistic diversity is not a handicap by itself : monolingualism is not going to solve all development problems as naive apologists of global English would like us to believe. Multiculturalism without multilingualism is mere posturing! This book provides some tools to understand this truth.
Alain Ricard, directeur de recherche au cnrs, Paris
Scholarly, engaging, and accessible, Paulin Djite’s book challenges two of the lingering myths about the role of language in Africa’s development - multilingualism is an obstacle to development and the latter is possible only via the medium of an ex-colonial language - and calls for the use of the African languages in the key areas of development: education, health, the economy and governance. Language policy makers, language professionals, and anyone who is interested in the language question in Africa will find in this important book an insightful and most timely contribution to knowledge about language and development in the continent.
Professor Nkonko M. Kamwangamalu, Howard University
What an excellent book. I enjoyed every moment I devoted to reading it. The book is going to become compulsory reading for anyone wishing to work on sociolinguistics and applied linguistics in Africa. It has numerous qualities that will make it inescapable as a vade-mecum in these fields. It describes concisely the state of the art with respect to the relationship between language policy, language use and economics, health, education, and governance, the domains that it covers in the main. At the same time, it challenges all the myths and many orthodox assumptions and authoritative positions in these domains. As such, it will undoubtedly give rise to very necessary polemics inside and beyond the continent. In view of the global trend towards the valorisation of cultural diversity, the positions that are put forward here, such as the relationship between multilingualism and economic development, will undoubtedly help to shape the orthodoxy of the future. Coming as it does at the very moment when a Pan-African Masters and Doctoral degree programme in Applied Linguistics and African Languages is about to be launched, its seeds will fall on fertile ground.
Neville Alexander, University of Cape Town, South Africa
Paulin Djité is Associate Professor of Sociolinguistics, Translation and Interpreting and French in the School of Humanities and Languages at the University of Western Sydney. His previous books include From Language Policy to Language Planning: An Overview of Key Languages in Australia (1994) and Voir l’Amérique et mourir (1992). A practitioner in the fields of Translation and interpreting, Paulin Djité acts as an adviser for many international organisations in education and translation and interpreting.
Postgraduate, Research / Professional, Undergraduate