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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:The contribution of the use of English in Africa to dependency in mission and development
Author:Harries, Jim
Periodical:Exchange: Bulletin of Third World Christian Literature (ISSN 0166-2740)
Geographic term:Africa
Subjects:English language
official languages
language usage
Abstract:This article contributes to the debate about dependency in the African church. It points out that language policies focusing on the use of European languages in Africa are a major aggravation to the dependency situation in Africa in general. It argues that the original attempt to limit the spread of English in Britain's African colonies has failed. The West's perception that use of its languages internationally does away with troublesome cultural differences is shown to be deceptive; maintaining European languages as 'official' languages in African States is an expensive exercise in terms of money and time. The attraction to African nations of the use of English in formal contexts ignores its negative consequences, including the creation of dependency. Unfamiliar categories in English undermine native sensibilities, while implicitly suggesting that native-English-speaking nations hold the key to African prosperity. The church - a body that primarily serves neither political nor economic interests - could lead the way in empowering the 'poor' in Africa by encouraging the use of indigenous languages. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract, edited]