In most African countries, former colonial languages continue to be used as languages of instruction (LOI) in the school system, based inter alia on the claim that African languages have not developed scientific and technical vocabularies. At the same time, however, the general public, including students, has a poor command of those LOI. This paper focuses on the situation of Lingála, which is the dominant language in Kinshasa, the capital of DR Congo. Kinshasa students speak Lingála in their daily life, but in the classroom French is the language of instruction. In the framework of code-elaboration, this paper describes a methodology for creating chemistry vocabulary in Lingála and promoting it among teachers and students. It also analyzes the users' attitudes vis-à-vis the presence of Lingála in a school text. It strives to prove that it is relatively easy to coin relevant terms for any scientific or technical field, and to highlight the importance of improving positive attitudes towards this African language and the commitment by its speakers to pursue this type of work and use the resulting terms once they have been developed.
Selected Proceedings of the 42nd Annual Conference on African Linguistics: African Languages in Context
edited by Michael R. Marlo, Nikki B. Adams, Christopher R. Green, Michelle Morrison, and Tristan M. Purvis Table of contents
ISBN 978-1-57473-453-9 library binding
xi + 337 pages
publication date: 2012
published by Cascadilla Proceedings Project, Somerville, MA, USA