"Globalization & the Role of African Languages for Devt."

Don Osborn dzo at bisharat.net
Fri Feb 22 17:42:53 UTC 2008

I just came across a link to Ghirmai Negash's 2005 paper, "Globalization and
the Role of African Languages for Development," on the Sociolingo's African
Linguistics blog at
role-of-african-languages-for-development/ and thought I'd pass on the
reference. Apparently it was just made available online at
http://repositories.cdlib.org/ies/050219/ . The abstract follows; the full
paper in PDF format can be downloaded at


"Indigenous African languages are largely eliminated, and marginalized from
use. Instead of investing in and using their linguistic, cultural, and human
potential, African governments and the elite still continue to channel away
their resources and energies into learning 'imperial' languages that are
used by a tiny minority of the populations. Against the backdrop of
constraining global forces, and Africa's internal problems (wars,
repression, and general economic misery), this paper argues that African
languages could be the most critical element for Africa's survival, and
cultural, educational and economic development. In order for this to happen,
however, Africa must invest in this sector of 'cultural economy' as much as
it does (should do) in the 'material economy', since both spheres are
interrelated and impact on each other."

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