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FYI: Social/Political History of Languages in Southern Africa


Author: Finex Ndhlovu

Linguistic Field(s): Sociolinguistics
Anthropological Linguistics

FYI Body: Call for Entries

An Encyclopaedia of the Social and Political History of Southern Africa’s Languages

This is a call for entries for an edited volume, An Encyclopaedia of the Social and Political History of Southern Africa’s Languages (Publishers, Palgrave Macmillan, UK).


Brief Description of the Encyclopaedia:

This volume is designed as an interdisciplinary collection of articles (entries) that would double as a handy and accessible reference on the subject of southern African languages within the broader context of the region’s pre-colonial, colonial and post-colonial developments. The focus is on the social and political history of the covered languages, meaning their significance for ethnic, immigrant and social groups, as well as for various political projects, as they have unfolded during, roughly speaking, the last three centuries. In the Encyclopedia, the elements of linguistic description will be limited to a bare minimum necessary for positing the languages in a manner that is scholarly sound, but easily intelligible to the average reader. In this way, the stage is given to the social and political history of these languages.


Territories and States with Languages Covered:

The Encyclopedia will cover over 220 languages in the following states and polities included in the concept of Southern Africa used in the Encyclopaedia: Angola (AO), Botswana (BW), Comores, Lesotho (LS), Madagascar (MG), Malawi (MW), Mauritius (MU), Mayotte (YT), Mozambique (MZ), Namibia (NA), South Africa (ZA), Swaziland (SW), Réunion (RE), Seychelles (SC), Zambia (ZM) and Zimbabwe (ZW).


List of Languages Covered:

1. National/Official Languages and languages Recognised as such: Afrikaans NA ZA; Arabic (Standard) KM; Bemba ZM; C(h)okwe AO; Diriku NA; English BW LS MG MU MW NA SC SW ZA ZM ZW; French RE SC KM MG MU YT; German NA; Herero NA; Kaonde ZM; Kongo (Kikongo, Kisikongo) AO; Kwangli NA; Lozi ZM NA; Lunda ZM; Luvale ZM; Malagasy MG; Mbukushu ZM NA; Mbunda AO; Mbundu, North (Umbundu) AO; Mbundu, South (Kimbundu) AO; Nama NA; Ndonga NA; Ndebele (Southern) ZA; Ndebele ZW; Nyanja (Chewa) MW ZM; Oshiwambo (Kwanyama) AO NA; Portuguese AO MZ; Seselwa Creole French SC; Sotho (Northern) ZA; Sotho (Southern) LS ZA; Shona ZW; Swahili (occurs in the covered area, but official, among others, in Tanzania and Kenya); Swati (Swazi) SW ZA; Tonga ZM; Tsonga (Shangaan) ZA; Tswana BW NA ZA; Tumbuka TW; Venda ZA; Xhosa ZA; Zulu ZA

2. Regional Cross-border Languages: Aushi; Barwe; Birwa; Chopi; Chuwabu; Comorian (Ndzwani); Comorian (Ngazidja); Fanagalo; Ila; Kalanga; seKgalagadi; Kimbundu; Kokola; Koti; Kunda; Kwambi; Lala-Bisa; Lamba; Lambya; Lenje; Lolo; Lomwe (Mozambique); Lomwe (Malawi); Luc(h)azi; Luimbi; Lunda; Luvale; Luyana; Makhuwa; Makhuwa-Marrevone; Makhuwa-Meetto; Makhuwa-Moniga; Makhuwa-Saka; Makhuwa-Shirima; Makonde; Malagasy (Antankarana); Malagasy (Bara); Malagasy (Masikoro); Malagasy (Northern Betsimsaraka); Malagasy (Plateau); Malagasy (Sakalava); Malagasy (Southern Betsimisaraka); Malagasy (Tandroy-Mahafaly); Malagasy (Tanosy); Malagasy (Tsimhety); Mambwe-Lungu; Manyawa; Manyika; Maore; Marenje; Mashi; Mbwela; Morisyen; Mwani; Nambya; Ndali; Ndau; Ndebele (Zimbabwe); Ngoni; Nkoya; Nkumbi; Nsenga; Nyamwanga; Nyanja; Nyanyeka; Nyemba; Nyiha; Nyungwe; Phuti; Reunion French Creole; Ronga; Ruund; Sena (Malawi); Sena (Mozambique); Simaa; Soli; Songo; Taabwa; Takwane; Tawara; Tewe; Tswa; Vasekela (!’o!khung); Yaka; Yao; Yeyi; Zezuru.

Marginalized regional countries’ languages: |gwi; |xam; ||ani; ||gana; ||xegwi; !o!ung; !xóõ; ‡Hua; ‡Kx’au||’ein; Angolan Sign Language; Bolo; Bushi; Bwile; Camtho; Chokwe; Comorian (Mwali); Dema; Diriku; Dombe; Few; Gail; Gciriku; Holu; J|’hoan; Hai||om; Khwe; Kilari; Korana (!Ora); Kua; Kuhane; Kung-Ekoka; Kwadi; Kwangali; Madagascar Sign Language; Maindo; Makwe; Maligo; Mauritian Sign Language; Mbalanhu; Mbangala; Mbowe; Mozambican Sign Language; N|u (N|huki); Namibian Sign Language; Naro; Nathembo; Ndombe; Ngandyera; Nkangala; Nyengo; Nyiha (Malawi); Nyika; Oorlams; Phimbi; Sala; Sama; Shua; Seroa; Settla; South African Sign Language; Swazi Sign Language; Totela; Tsoa; Tsotsitaal; Tswapong; Xiri; Yauma; Yombe; Zambian Sign Language; Zemba; Zimbabwe Sign Language

3. Non-African indigenized (usually minority) languages: Chinese (Mandarin); Dutch; Bhojpuri; Greek; Gujarati; Hindi; Kachchi; Telugu; Tamil; Urdu

4. Liturgical languages employed in Southern Africa: Arabic (Classical); Hebrew; Latin; Sanskrit


Scope/Structure of Entries:

Ideally the full-length article should include the following elements:
(1) an introduction covering the linguonym (in English and self) of the language, linguistic classification, intelligibility with neighboring languages, information on the language’s emergence, connection to ethnic (social) group(s), the geographical distribution and the number of its speakers nowadays and in the past, the monolingualism/bilingualism/multilingualism of the language’s speech community(ies);

(2) information on codification;

(3) information on the political significance of the language;

(4) information on the social and cultural dimension of the language;

(5) a literature section giving full bibliographical details of the most important dictionaries, grammars, first books, first periodicals, first novels and the like published in this language, the URL of the Wikipedia in this language, and other websites with significant materials on this language.


Submission of Entries:

Include the following in your expression of interest to contribute to the volume (a) specify the language for which you wish provide an entry, (b) a 250 word abstract on the social and cultural history of the language, and (c) a 300 word biography of the author(s). These should be submitted electronically to the editors of the volume by 31 December 2012.


Editors' Contact Details:

Dr Tomasz Kamusella, University of St Andrews, UK encytomek@gmail.com;
Dr Finex Ndhlovu, University of New England, Armidale NSW Australia encyfinex@gmail.com

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