As with all natural life, languages either evolve or die. The decimation of language does not always mean that its people cease to exist; rather, these people may carry on with a language appropriated from ecologies hostile to the tongues of their origin. This leaves a situation where one is 'monolingual' yet speaks a language that is not one's own (Jacques Derrida, l989). In Eastern Africa (especially in Tanzania and Kenya) we nowadays can ask what it means to be a Chaga person who is a Swahili monolingual. This paper discusses the linguistic estrangement of East Africans (and by extension, sub-Sahara Africans) as an epiphenomenon of language shift.
Selected Proceedings of the 35th Annual Conference on African Linguistics: African Languages and Linguistics in Broad Perspectives
edited by John Mugane, John P. Hutchison, and Dee A. Worman
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