Languages and their different roles in multilingual Africa

Multilingualism, Marginalisation and Empowerment in Africa with Special Reference to Southern Africa: Dynamics, Good Practices and Paradoxes - Sozinho Francisco Matsinhe at the 11th Language & Development Conference, 2015

Sozinho Francisco Matsinhe is Executive Secretary of the African Academy of Languages (ACALAN), a body of the African Union Commission

Sozinho Francisco Matsinhe is Executive Secretary of the African Academy of Languages (ACALAN), a body of the African Union Commission

16 of the 20 most linguistically diverse countries in the world are in Africa and so it is fitting that many of the talks at this 11th Language and Development Conference are discussing issues relating to multilingualism and development on this huge continent. Sozinho’s talk aimed to do two things: make statements about what we know and secondly look at how we can push the frontiers of research related to multilingualism, marginalisation and empowerment, focusing primarily on Southern Africa. He highlighted the use of language as a window to culture and its function for building bridges between people and communities – especially important given the broad mosaic of languages in Africa. He challenged the notion that colonial languages dominant communication, indicating that there are multiple other languages of much greater importance to people’s day to day lives – the languages people use to dream, to cry, to share stories and to tell jokes. However, he also recognised that these colonial languages dominate official discourse, and so therefore do lead to exclusion. Sozinho’s talk will be available to watch soon on our YouTube channel.

The recording of the the his session can be viewed below:

Featured speaker Sozinho Francisco Matsinhe’s interview is available below:

Post by: Amy Lightfoot
The writer is the Assistant Director English Partnerships – Academic Quality Assurance at British Council India

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