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The Shadow-Politics of Wolofisation

Shuffling Along to Nationhood?
  • Donal B. Cruise O’Brien

Abstract

Here we withdraw into a poorly-lit political area, an area of potentialities, where new political shapes emerge as the outcome of half-conscious choices made by very large numbers of people.1 Language choices in the first place: the expansion of the Wolof language in Senegal, principally though far from exclusively an urban phenomenon, is to be seen in a context where the individual may speak several languages, switching linguistically from one social situation to another. Such multilingualism is general in Africa2: the particularity of the Wolof case at least in Senegal is the extent to which this language has spread, far beyond the boundaries of core ethnicity, of a historical Wolof zone from the colonial or pre-colonial periods. And diese individual language choices cast their political shadow.

Keywords

Language Policy National Language French Language Language Choice Islamic Society 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    Thus Jean-Loup Amselle remarks, with reference to the relation between language and ethnicity in Africa, that the area of linguistic research on this issue is one of “great confusion”. J.-L. Amselle, “Ethnies et Espaces”in J.-L. Amselle and E. M’Bokolo (eds), Au Coeur de l’Ethnie Ethnies, Tribalisme et Etal en Afrique, Paris: La Découverte, 1985, p. 31.Google Scholar
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Copyright information

© Donal B. Cruise O’Brien 2003

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  • Donal B. Cruise O’Brien

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