The Case of the Bajunis

  • Derek Nurse
Part of the Language Policy book series (LAPO, volume 16)


In recent years, Language Analysis for Determination of Origin (LADO) has been increasingly used in asylum determinations, especially in Europe. Somali and especially Bajuni cases have played a central role in this. This chapter has several components. The first is language: since the language situation in Somalia and the particular status of Bajuni and its community, the linguistic nature of Bajuni and its relation to Standard Swahili will be unknown to most readers, they are sketched at the outset. Second is the recent calamitous situation of Bajunis in Somali, their exodus, and their initial reception in Europe. This leads into a description of the linguistic and non-linguistic asylum interviews, the reports and analyses written on the basis of these interviews, and the governmental decisions taken. Fourth, it is argued that the official or commissioned reports and analyses on the Bajunis and their language are deeply flawed and unreliable: they are a house built on sand, therefore the government and legal decisions based on these reports/analyses are also largely unreliable. Fifth, it is concluded that if LADO is based on an adequate body of linguistics, analyses carried out by linguistic literates, and decisions based on such analyses, it is a useful and reliable tool. A final section deals with the bleak future facing Bajunis in Somalia.


Bajuni Endangered languages LADO Language mixing Native speaker Refugee camps Somalia Sprakab Swahili 


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  • Derek Nurse
    • 1
  1. 1.Memorial University of Newfoundland (ret’d)St. John’sCanada

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