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Bookmark and Share Paper 1293

African Language Literature as a Weapon against African Language Marginalization
John P. Hutchison
22-33 (complete paper or proceedings contents)


In francophone Africa, African languages are marginalized by neo-colonialist forces from Europe, and also within the polities that they exist in. When facing off with the French language in experimental multilingual education programs in that context, African languages are often judged as lacking in credibility due to the lack of documentation and literature. Referring to recent successes in empowering African populations through the availability of meaningful literature in their own languages, this paper discusses critical strategies for combatting African language marginalization. Here the success of the Pulaar language literacy movement in Senegal as fostered by the NGO known as ARED (Associates in Research and Education for Development Inc.) is examined for the lessons it can offer to other languages throughout Africa. The paper analyzes the works of Sonja Fagerberg-Diallo and the results of interviews with her that have documented ARED's success in establishing a literate environment in the Pulaar language. Using the template which emerges from this analysis, this paper then proceeds to evaluate the kinds of literacy efforts which either fail or succeed elsewhere in Africa.

Published in

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
Table of contents
Printed edition: $280.00