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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Language policy in multilingual countries vis--vis language maintenance, language shift and language death
Author:Kashoki, Mubanga E.ISNI
Year:1998-1999
Periodical:The Journal of Humanities (Lusaka) (ISSN 1027-7455)
Volume:2
Pages:41-62
Language:English
Notes:biblio. refs.
Geographic terms:English-speaking Africa
Africa
Subjects:language policy
multilingualism
language
indigenous languages
Language and languages
government policy
Education and state
Abstract:Both natural disasters and cultural factors may lead to the decline or extinction of a language. Among the cultural factors are culture contact and clash, language policy, education, labour migration, residence, urbanization and interethnic marriages, the numerical size of a speech community, its self-esteem and the prestige attached to a given language, and population displacement. The present article focuses on the likely effects of one factor - language policy - on language shift, decline and possible extinction in multilingual settings. It examines the reputed drift to English and to dominant indigenous African languages, with special reference to English-speaking sub-Saharan Africa. Data from Zambia, Kenya and Tanzania indicate that indigenous African languages designated or used as auxiliary official languages are emerging as languages imbued with varying degrees of prestige by the general public and are increasingly assuming the status of a lingua franca. The data also indicate a growing incidence of spoken and sometimes even written competence in two or more linguistic codes. Both these phenomena are to a considerable degree largely the result of social and economic forces triggered off by a country's language policy and education system. However, evidence to establish a definite cause-effect relationship between language policy and official languages, on the one hand, and the decline and eventual death of nonofficial or 'minority' languages, on the other, is still lacking. Bibliogr., notes.
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