Conference on Language Ecology in Africa, University of Namibia, Windhoek, 9-13 September 1991

Conference on Language Ecology in Africa, University of Namibia, Windhoek, 9-13 September 1991 The Department of African Languages at the University of Namibia has been able to mark the fresh inauguration of the university by means of a highly successful conference on language in modern Africa which, while its brief was the whole continent, tended inevitably to focus on the problems and policies of Namibia itself. At the same time, there was a sense that South Africans from all communities used the conference and its actual setting, Windhoek, as a crystal ball, attempting both eagerly and anxiously to foresee ways in which language policies may develop in their own country. Inevitably, there was some puzzlement, unrelieved by either conference circulars or the conference itself, over the definition of the term "language ecology," although the approximately 50 papers presented by an international range of participants during the four-and-a-half days of the conference tended to explain the term impressionistically. The majority of topics fell within four general areas of discussion: Problems involving the establishment of "official," "national," and "regional" languages in postcolonial African societies; language contact and language change; specialist studies of Bantu and Khoisan languages in Southern African, where the emphasis was on languages spoken in Namibia and Botswana; and, finally, languages http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Matatu Brill

Conference on Language Ecology in Africa, University of Namibia, Windhoek, 9-13 September 1991

Matatu , Volume 10 (1): 197 – Apr 26, 1993

Conference on Language Ecology in Africa, University of Namibia, Windhoek, 9-13 September 1991


The Department of African Languages at the University of Namibia has been able to mark the fresh inauguration of the university by means of a highly successful conference on language in modern Africa which, while its brief was the whole continent, tended inevitably to focus on the problems and policies of Namibia itself. At the same time, there was a sense that South Africans from all communities used the conference and its actual setting, Windhoek, as a crystal ball, attempting both eagerly and anxiously to foresee ways in which language policies may develop in their own country. Inevitably, there was some puzzlement, unrelieved by either conference circulars or the conference itself, over the definition of the term "language ecology," although the approximately 50 papers presented by an international range of participants during the four-and-a-half days of the conference tended to explain the term impressionistically. The majority of topics fell within four general areas of discussion: Problems involving the establishment of "official," "national," and "regional" languages in postcolonial African societies; language contact and language change; specialist studies of Bantu and Khoisan languages in Southern African, where the emphasis was on languages spoken in Namibia and Botswana; and, finally, languages and cultural expression, including literatures. Extensive parallels were drawn by different speakers between situations pertaining in the USA, Canada, and Belgium, and in African societies. The emphasis here was especially on the choices being made in Namibia, which has followed the declared pre-Independence SWAPO policy of setting up English as official tongue despite the existence of some 50 percent of the population as mother-tongue speakers of a group of closely related dialects of one of the Bantu languages, and despite the prevalence of Afrikaans as a lingua franca between the many population groups and the...
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Publisher
BRILL
Copyright
© Copyright 1993 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
0932-9714
eISSN
1875-7421
D.O.I.
10.1163/18757421-90000020
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

The Department of African Languages at the University of Namibia has been able to mark the fresh inauguration of the university by means of a highly successful conference on language in modern Africa which, while its brief was the whole continent, tended inevitably to focus on the problems and policies of Namibia itself. At the same time, there was a sense that South Africans from all communities used the conference and its actual setting, Windhoek, as a crystal ball, attempting both eagerly and anxiously to foresee ways in which language policies may develop in their own country. Inevitably, there was some puzzlement, unrelieved by either conference circulars or the conference itself, over the definition of the term "language ecology," although the approximately 50 papers presented by an international range of participants during the four-and-a-half days of the conference tended to explain the term impressionistically. The majority of topics fell within four general areas of discussion: Problems involving the establishment of "official," "national," and "regional" languages in postcolonial African societies; language contact and language change; specialist studies of Bantu and Khoisan languages in Southern African, where the emphasis was on languages spoken in Namibia and Botswana; and, finally, languages

Journal

MatatuBrill

Published: Apr 26, 1993

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