LG360-6-AU-CO:
African Languages

The details
2020/21
Language and Linguistics
Colchester Campus
Autumn
Undergraduate: Level 6
Current
Thursday 08 October 2020
Friday 18 December 2020
15
29 June 2020

 

Requisites for this module
(none)
(none)
(none)
(none)

 

(none)

Key module for

(none)

Module description

The module provides students with an introduction to the study of linguistic diversity in Africa and the African diaspora. It will explore the four language phyla of Africa, comparing the ways that they differ and their main characteristics from a linguistic perspective. It will also explore aspects of African languages in diasporic communities in different parts of the world. The module covers topics related to structural variation in Africa languages, including sound systems and word and sentence structure. We will focus on those linguistic characteristics that distinguish the language groups of Africa from other more widely studied language families. The module will also provide students with an opportunity to explore issues relating to sociolinguistics, language identity and language policy as these play out in the African context. We will explore the effects of multilingualism and language practices and how this impacts both identity and language policy in different African contexts, comparing and contrasting the roles of local versus national versus official languages.

Module aims

The module aims to introduce students to the linguistic diversity of Africa and the African diaspora. It will look at the main properties of Africa’s major language families, with a particular focus on the patterns that are widespread on the continent and/or rare outside Africa. This will cover sound systems, as well as word and sentence structure.

The module will also provide students with an opportunity to explore the way in which a number of sociolinguistic features play out on the African continent and the diaspora. This includes multilingualism, language policy, language and identity, language and discrimination, and broader issues of language and social justice.

Module learning outcomes

• Students will be familiar with key organising features of African languages.
• Students will be able to demonstrate understanding of the lines along which the languages of Africa vary in terms of their structural properties.
• Students will be able to engage with issues relating to language and identity, and language policy in Africa.
• Students will gain an understanding of the role of multilingualism in shaping policy in different spheres of life.
• Students will gain an understanding of how diasporic African communities and their language practices relate to the language context in Africa.
• Students will be able to engage with and synthesize material from a range of sources to support arguments and points of discussion.

Module information

10 x 2-hour seminars delivered on a weekly basis.

Learning and teaching methods

10 x 2-hour seminars delivered on a weekly basis.

Bibliography*

(none)

Overall assessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%

Reassessment

Coursework Exam
100% 0%
Module supervisor and teaching staff
Dr Hannah Gibson, email: h.gibson@essex.ac.uk.
Dr Hannah Gibson, 4.317, h.gibson@essex.ac.uk
Dr Hannah Gibson, 4.317, h.gibson@essex.ac.uk

 

Availability
Yes
Yes
No

External examiner

No external examiner information available for this module.
Resources
Available via Moodle
No lecture recording information available for this module.

 

Further information
Language and Linguistics

* Please note: due to differing publication schedules, items marked with an asterisk (*) base their information upon the previous academic year.

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