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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Urban languages in Africa
Author:Beck, Rose MarieISNI
Year:2010
Periodical:Afrika Spectrum (ISSN 0002-0397)
Volume:45
Issue:3
Pages:11-41
Language:English
Geographic term:Africa
Subjects:urbanization
lingua francas
sociolects
language history
External link:http://journals.sub.uni-hamburg.de/giga/afsp/article/view/375
Abstract:Against the backdrop of current research on the city, urbanity is understood to be a distinct way of life in which (in the spatial, factual and historical dimensions) processes of densification and heterogenization are perceived as acts of sociation. Urbanization is thus understood to include and produce structuration processes autonomously. This also includes autonomous linguistic practices, which are reflected as sediments of everyday knowledge in language and thus create the instruments needed for facilitating and generalizing such urbanization: urban languages. Looking at cities in Africa from the point of view of language sociology, two large phases of urbanization can be distinguished. The first phase is related to trade networks and cultural métissage of small groups of middlemen predating colonial rule. The second phase, characterized by the development of an autonomous African modernity, began with colonial times, but its heyday was during the postcolonial urbanization processes of the last forty years. With regard to language structure, the absorption of a large number of loans into a basic language can be observed in both cases. More recent developments, so-called 'urban vernaculars', are mostly found in southern Africa. Besides these, urban languages such as Sheng (Nairobi), Tsotsitaal (Cape Town) and Camfranglais (Douala, Yaoundé) can be viewed as generalizations of youth languages. Bibliogr., notes, ref., sum. in English and German. [Journal abstract, edited]
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