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Linguistic Commodification and Africa’s Linguistic Identities: Creating a Nexus!

  • Leonard Muaka
Chapter

Abstract

Linguistically, Africa is a rich continent with a heteroglossic map that represents the diversity of its people yet perceptually the continent is viewed and views itself as poor. This perception negates the critical pragmatic roles that the more than 2000 languages play for African people. Historical and political events in Africa and beyond, have aided this perception and rendered African languages to be viewed as liabilities rather than as assets. This chapter focuses on the East African linguistic landscape by examining language as a commodity, a cultural marker, and a resource in the twenty-first century. The main argument is that lingua franca such as Swahili and youth varieties such as Sheng can serve as economic vehicles without compromising their roles as cultural reservoirs.

Keywords

Language commodification Language policy Identity Language ideology Prestige 

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2020

Authors and Affiliations

  • Leonard Muaka
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of World Languages and CulturesHoward UniversityWashingtonUSA

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