Reference : ‘Do you want me to translate this in English or in a better Mandinka language?’: Uneq...
Scientific journals : Article
Arts & humanities : Languages & linguistics
‘Do you want me to translate this in English or in a better Mandinka language?’: Unequal literacy regimes and grassroots spelling practices in peri-urban Gambia
Juffermans, Kasper mailto [University of Luxembourg > Faculty of Language and Literature, Humanities, Arts and Education (FLSHASE) > Languages, Culture, Media and Identities (LCMI) >]
International Journal of Educational Development
Literacy inequalities and social justice
[en] Mandinka ; English ; orthography ; literacy ; ideology ; ethnography ; text ; spelling ; Gambia ; West Africa
[en] This paper presents a comparative ethnographic analysis of two versions of a grassroots text in Mandinka language, one written by a non-formally educated man, the other a respelling by a formally educated urbanite. The analysis points at a crucial difference in spelling practices and inequality in literacy regimes, i.e., between established orthographic English literacy and the more creative, heterographic and emergent local language literacy. It is shown how English orthography affects local ideologies of literacy as well as Mandinka spelling practices itself, in greater or lesser extent, depending on the educational history of the speller.

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