Reference : Literacy and multilingualism in Africa
Parts of books : Contribution to encyclopedias, dictionaries...
Arts & humanities : Languages & linguistics
Multilingualism and Intercultural Studies
Literacy and multilingualism in Africa
Juffermans, Kasper mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Education, Culture, Cognition and Society (ECCS) >]
Abdelhay, Ashraf []
Encyclopedia of Language and Education: Literacies and Language Education
Street, Brian V.
May, Stephen
[en] Africa ; education ; languages ; mobile phone ; linguistic landscape ; scripts ; mother tongue ; digital literacy ; literacies ; multilingualism ; orthography
[en] Literacy and multilingualism in Africa is approached here as a field of practice rather than a unified field of research. This field presents a crucial paradox: African contexts present some of the world’s most diverse and vital multilingual situations but also feature in the world’s poorest literacy rates and are routinely said to lack a literate tradition altogether. By reviewing Africa’s script inventions this chapter offers counter-evidence for this deceptive view. Throughout Africa – from the Maghreb over West and Central Africa to the Horn of Africa – there have been significant indigenous script traditions and inventions, including Tifinagh, N’ko, Vai, Bamum and Ge’ez. In fact, some of the world’s oldest known scripts (e.g. Egyptian hieroglyphs) are African scripts. The chapter further outlines two relatively young fields of practice and research that have begun to make major contributions to literacy and multilingualism in Africa: digital literacy and linguistic landscape. These fields share a common interest in the materiality of real language as opposed to idealized images of language and in local agency and creativity in the site of struggle that is language. Like digital language practices, linguistic landscapes constitute a domain for African written multilingualism that is not generally supported or monitored by African states. Nor does either field present simple continuities from colonially inherited language policies and ideologies, in the way that classrooms do. As spaces for writing par excellence linguistic landscapes and mobile phones promise to contribute in no minor way to the development of African language literacies and multilingualism in Africa.
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