LINGUIST List 15.2341

Thu Aug 19 2004

Disc: New: Review: Bromber & Smieja

Editor for this issue: Naomi Fox <>


  1. Anonby, Re: Linguist 15.2327, Review: Bromber & Smieja 2004

Message 1: Re: Linguist 15.2327, Review: Bromber & Smieja 2004

Date: Wed, 18 Aug 2004 15:25:27 -0300
From: Anonby <>
Subject: Re: Linguist 15.2327, Review: Bromber & Smieja 2004

Re: Linguist 15.2327

I would like to comment on the two sentences below.

Secondly, the paradox
> that African countries that have strongly embraced ex-colonial
> languages as their official as well as national languages appear to
> have provided (unintentionally) a better environment for the survival
> of the multiplicity of their local languages. As a result of this
> last point, language shift and the associated process of language
> death is less dramatic on the African continent than in most other
> parts of the world.

I agree that language shift is less dramatic in Africa than elsewhere, but I
wonder how much that has to do with ex-colonial languages. I think the
reason there has been less language shift has mostly to do with the
socioeconomic conditions in Africa. It seems to me that Africa is still
primarily rural, so the linguistic ecology has not changed to the same
degree as elsewhere in the world. Like Fishman said, when a world dies, a
language dies. In Africa, the old, subsistence farming world is still alive
and kicking. This does more than anything else to maintain the minority
languages there.

Stan Anonby
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