Article published in:Language Documentation and Endangerment in Africa
Edited by James Essegbey, Brent Henderson and Fiona Mc Laughlin
[Culture and Language Use 17] 2015
► pp. 37–58
Different cultures, different attitudes
But how different is “the African situation” really?
The maintenance or restoration of vitality to endangered languages has become an important part of many current language documentation projects, and the development of orthographies and primers is often seen as a key instrument in this endeavor. The present contribution, which focuses on endangered languages on the African continent, takes a somewhat different perspective on this issue. First, it is argued that the situation in many African countries differs from that in the United States or Australia in that language loss in these latter countries often leads to monolingualism; many people in Africa on the other hand are multilingual, and consequently they have a more utilitarian attitude towards the obsolescence of specific languages, also because primary language and ethnicity are not necessarily linked to each other. In spite of these differences, it is claimed here that the situation with respect to African minorities speaking endangered languages is not all that different from that in First World countries. The Tima language in Sudan and attempts to revitalize this endangered language is taken as an example here. As argued below, language loss may be delayed in some cases, but in all cases it is an irreversible consequence of globalization. Consequently, language revitalization as such is a hopeless cause.
Published online: 22 October 2015
Cited by 1 other publications
This list is based on CrossRef data as of 08 june 2021. Please note that it may not be complete. Sources presented here have been supplied by the respective publishers. Any errors therein should be reported to them.
Bakker, Peter & Mous, Maarten
2010 A Phonetic and Phonological Study of Tima. PhD dissertation, University of Khartoum.
Bentahila, Abdelai & Davies, Eierlys
Chumbow, Beban Sammy
Comaroff, John L. & Comaroff, Jean
Dimmendaal, Gerrit J.
To appear. Linguistic isolates. In The Oxford Handbook of African Languages, Rainer Vossen and Dimmendaal J Gerrit eds) Oxford OUP
Dorian, Nancy C.
Evans, Nicholas & Levinson, Stephen C.
Fafunwa, Aliu Babs & Iyabo, Juliet
Greenberg, Joseph H.
Hinton, Leanne & Hale, Ken
Kihore, Yared Magori
Miller, Catherine & Abu-Manga, Al-Amin
Mugaddam, Abdelrahim Hamid & Abdelhay, Ashraf Kamal
2010 Terminological Modernization of Luganda in the Field of Linguistics. PhD dissertation, Makerere University, Kampala.
Reyhner, John and Lockhard, Louise
Schneider-Blum, Gertrud & Dimmendaal, Gerrit J.
To appear. Lexicography of endangered languages in Africa. In International Handbook of Modern Lexis and Lexicography, Patrick Hanks & Gilles-Maurice de Schryver (eds) New York NY Springer