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Jost Gippert: Our Featured Linguist!

"Buenos dias", "buenas noches" -- this was the first words in a foreign language I heard in my life, as a three-year old boy growing up in developing post-war Western Germany, where the first gastarbeiters had arrived from Spain. Fascinated by the strange sounds, I tried to get to know some more languages, the only opportunity being TV courses of English and French -- there was no foreign language education for pre-teen school children in Germany yet in those days. Read more



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What is English? And Why Should We Care?

By: Tim William Machan

To find some answers Tim Machan explores the language's present and past, and looks ahead to its futures among the one and a half billion people who speak it. His search is fascinating and important, for definitions of English have influenced education and law in many countries and helped shape the identities of those who live in them.


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Medical Writing in Early Modern English

Edited by Irma Taavitsainen and Paivi Pahta

This volume provides a new perspective on the evolution of the special language of medicine, based on the electronic corpus of Early Modern English Medical Texts, containing over two million words of medical writing from 1500 to 1700.


Academic Paper


Title: “I am Maasai”: Interpreting ethnic parody in Bongo Flava
Author: Katrina Daly Thompson
Institution: University of California
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics
Abstract: In the Tanzanian Bongo Flava youth music scene, Abel Motika is a popular artist who uses both verbal and visual markers of Kisongo Maasai ethnicity to style himself as “the Maasai rapper” with the stage name “Mr. Ebbo.” Through analysis of his 2002 song “Mi Mmasai” ‘I am Maasai’, this study investigates his ethnic stylizing in playful use of Maa pronunciation and an understudied Swahili language game known as kinyume ‘backwards style’. The study finds that while Ebbo strategically disrupts the sociolinguistic order that privileges Standard Swahili, the Maasai persona he projects is humorously stylized as unable both to speak Standard Swahili and to engage with the urban lifestyle associated with Tanzania's de-ethnicized Swahili modernity, thereby leaving dominant ideologies of language and ethnicity intact. Moreover, in arguing that Motika's stylization of ethnicity has a contradictory effect, both affirming a local ethnic identity and preserving the logic of ethnolinguistic stereotyping, the study critiques approaches to hip hop that privilige authorial intent and assume linguistic subversiveness. (Swahili, Maa, Bongo Flava, parody, ethnicity, rap, kinyume)

CUP at LINGUIST

This article appears in Language in Society Vol. 39, Issue 4, which you can read on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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