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Linguistic Messianism: Multilingualism in Mozambique
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Swedish Language and Multilingualism, Centre for Research on Bilingualism. University of the Western Cape, South Africa.
Stockholm University, Faculty of Humanities, Department of Swedish Language and Multilingualism, Centre for Research on Bilingualism. Eduardo Mondlane University, Mozambique.
2017 (English)In: Sociolinguistics in African Context: Perspectives and Challenges / [ed] Augustin Emmanuel Ebongue, Ellen Hurst, Springer, 2017, p. 35-51Chapter in book (Refereed)
Abstract [en]

This chapter focuses on the idea that in Mozambique, multilingualism, commonly understood as the co-existence and juxtaposition of more than one language, is one mechanism whereby essential features of colonial social logics are reconfigured in contemporary ‘postcolonial’ societies. They interrogate how multilingualism, whilst ostensibly promising a trope for linguistic (and cultural) diversity, is best seen, in common with other forms of neoliberal governance, as a response to ‘the effects of anti and postcolonial movements in the liberal world’. They conclude that this constancy is not accidental, but a key dimension of how multilingualism as a particular political regime of language organization has been used historically and in contemporary time as a technology of liberal governance. The paper highlights the meaning, the significance and the indexical values that African languages have vis a vis Portuguese, in a context where African languages are subordinated.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Springer, 2017. p. 35-51
Series
Multilingual education ; 20
Keywords [en]
Cultural Heritage, Local Language, Official Language, National Unity, Durative Present
National Category
General Language Studies and Linguistics
Research subject
Bilingualism
Identifiers
URN: urn:nbn:se:su:diva-151976DOI: 10.1007/978-3-319-49611-5_3ISBN: 978-3-319-49609-2 (print)ISBN: 978-3-319-49611-5 (electronic)OAI: oai:DiVA.org:su-151976DiVA, id: diva2:1176260
Available from: 2018-01-21 Created: 2018-01-21 Last updated: 2018-04-06Bibliographically approved
In thesis
1. Manufacturing Multilingualisms of Marginality in Mozambique: Exploring the Orders of Visibility of Local African Languages
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Manufacturing Multilingualisms of Marginality in Mozambique: Exploring the Orders of Visibility of Local African Languages
2018 (English)Doctoral thesis, comprehensive summary (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

Colonial era language policies and practices in Mozambique sought to render native African languages (and their speakers) invisible in public space. This ‘order of (in)visibility’ was later adopted by many African states, including Mozambique, by choosing the ex-colonial language as the one and only official language and prohibiting or ignoring the use of African languages in the interest of so-called national unity. Recent postcolonial democratization of African countries is seemingly beginning to change the colonial heritage of local linguistic underdevelopment, with the introduction of language policies that – on the surface at least – give more value to local African languages. This thesis argues, however, that African languages remain marginalized in systematic ways that replicate historical linguistic inequities. The three studies that make up the thesis focus on the technologies, spaces and mechanisms whereby these languages have been manufactured as marginalized from colonial times until the present. The studies build on a combination of ethnographic and archival data. A theoretical framing in a sociolinguistics of globalization approach broadly defined, and complemented with an explicit emphasis on temporality provides the conceptual framework and methodological toolbox for analysis. Study I explores the impact that colonial politics had on the management of multilingualism focusing on how local African languages were ideologically constructed as frozen in the past, whereas Portuguese was depicted as a modern, state-bearing language of progress. This ideology was later assimilated by the postcolonial regime always placing the local African languages in a position of inferiority in relation to Portuguese. Study II analyses how public space was used in chronologically different political regimes to produce different orders of visibility for local African languages and Portuguese in the semiotic landscapes of urban Maputo. The focus of this paper is on artifacts of memorization and public discourses that made local African languages invisible in public spaces until early 1990, when political changes introduced new orders of visibility for these languages in public space. However, ‘archaeological’ traces of Portuguese remain in the orthographic and linguistic forms in which local African languages are authored, testimony to its continued hegemony in public space. Study III explores how local African languages are now used in practices of hip hop relocalization, where ‘keeping it real’ and authenticity as features of the genre simultaneously serve to ideologically resuscitate political individuals such as the incorruptible President Samora Machel (1920–1986). In this way, the very marginalization – past-ness – of these languages carries a vibrant contemporary protest. The main thrust of the thesis is to argue that local African languages are discursively produced in temporal frames distinct from the mainstreaming of Portuguese. It is this that continues to reproduce the relative marginality of these languages.

 

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Stockholm: Department of Swedish and Multilingualism, Stockholm University, 2018. p. 66
Series
Dissertations in Bilingualism, ISSN 1400-5921 ; 29
Keywords
African languages, bilingualism, language ideology, linguistic landscape, Maputo, Mozambique, multilingualism, Portuguese, transnational multilingualism
National Category
Languages and Literature
Research subject
Bilingualism
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:su:diva-153564 (URN)978-91-7797-207-5 (ISBN)978-91-7797-208-2 (ISBN)
Public defence
2018-05-24, Nordenskiöldsalen, Geovetenskapens hus, Svante Arrhenius väg 8 C, Stockholm, 10:00 (English)
Opponent
Supervisors
Available from: 2018-04-27 Created: 2018-03-21 Last updated: 2018-04-20Bibliographically approved

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