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

  • Childs, George Tucker. (c2003) An introduction to African languages, Amsterdam: John Benjamins.
  • Heine, Bernd; Nurse, Derek. (2000) African languages: an introduction, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Saving southern Africa’s oldest languages - The Mail & Guardian, https://mg.co.za/africa/2020-07-20-saving-southern-africas-oldest-languages/
  • (2007) A Linguistic Geography of Africa, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
  • Kembo-Sure; Webb, Victor N; Webb, Vic. (c2000) African voices: an introduction to the languages and linguistics of Africa, Oxford: Oxford University Press.
  • Mazrui, Alamin. (2019-05-16) 'Sociocultural and Political Settings of Language in Africa', in The Cambridge Handbook of African Linguistics: Cambridge University Press., pp.419-441

The above list is indicative of the essential reading for the course. The library makes provision for all reading list items, with digital provision where possible, and these resources are shared between students. Further reading can be obtained from this module's reading list.

Assessment items, weightings and deadlines

Coursework / exam Description Deadline Coursework weighting
Coursework   Assignment 1  13/11/2020  40% 
Coursework   Assignment 2  18/01/2021  60% 

Exam format definitions

  • Remote, open book: Your exam will take place remotely via an online learning platform. You may refer to any physical or electronic materials during the exam.
  • In-person, open book: Your exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer to any physical materials such as paper study notes or a textbook during the exam. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, open book (restricted): The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may refer only to specific physical materials such as a named textbook during the exam. Permitted materials will be specified by your department. Electronic devices may not be used in the exam.
  • In-person, closed book: The exam will take place on campus under invigilation. You may not refer to any physical materials or electronic devices during the exam. There may be times when a paper dictionary, for example, may be permitted in an otherwise closed book exam. Any exceptions will be specified by your department.

Your department will provide further guidance before your exams.

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

Dr Christopher Lucas
University of London
Senior Lecturer in Arabic Linguistics
Resources
Available via Moodle
Of 430 hours, 0 (0%) hours available to students:
430 hours not recorded due to service coverage or fault;
0 hours not recorded due to opt-out by lecturer(s).

 

Further information
Language and Linguistics

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