In this paper, the author examines the challenges associated with the empowerment of African languages. Although it is generally agreed that this is a major plank of language policy in African countries, realization of the goal is often bedeviled by historical, political, linguistic, educational, attitudinal and global constraints. The effect of these constraints is a perpetuation of the low status of these languages. Yet, the empowerment of African languages is a necessary prerequisite to education, eradication of illiteracy, participatory democracy and development. The author then discusses avenues for the empowerment of African languages, drawing attention to possible domains and measures for achieving this goal. He then concludes that only a focused and informed language policy for each country can ensure that African languages have a relevant role in the context of globalization.
Selected Proceedings of the 40th Annual Conference on African Linguistics: African Languages and Linguistics Today
edited by Eyamba G. Bokamba, Ryan K. Shosted, and Bezza Tesfaw Ayalew
Table of contents