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It's Been Said Before

By Orin Hargraves

It's Been Said Before "examines why certain phrases become clichés and why they should be avoided -- or why they still have life left in them."

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Sounds Fascinating

By J. C. Wells

How do you pronounce biopic, synod, and Breughel? - and why? Do our cake and archaic sound the same? Where does the stress go in stalagmite? What's odd about the word epergne? As a finale, the author writes a letter to his 16-year-old self.

Academic Paper

Title: Recruiting a nonlocal language for performing local identity: Indexical appropriations of Lingala in the Congolese border town Goma
Author: Karen Büscher
Institution: Ghent University
Author: Sigurd D'hondt
Institution: Ghent University
Author: Michael Meeuwis
Institution: Ghent University
Linguistic Field: Discourse Analysis; Pragmatics; Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: Lingala
Abstract: This article describes discursive processes by which inhabitants of the Congolese border town Goma attribute new indexical values to Lingala, a language exogenous to the area of which most Goma inhabitants only possess limited knowledge. This creative reconfiguration of indexicalities results in the emergence of three “indexicalities of the second order”: the indexing of (i) being a true Congolese, (ii) toughness (based on Lingala's association with the military), and (iii) urban sophistication (based on its association with the capital Kinshasa). While the last two second-order reinterpretations are also widespread in other parts of the Congolese territory, the first one, resulting in the emergence of a Lingala as an “indexical icon” of a corresponding “language community,” deeply reflects local circumstances and concerns, in particular the sociopolitical volatility of the Rwandan-Congolese borderland that renders publicly affirming one's status as an “autochthonous” Congolese pivotal for assuring a livelihood and at times even personal security. (Lingala, Democratic Republic of the Congo, Goma, orders of indexicality, language community, autochthony, Kiswahili)


This article appears IN Language in Society Vol. 42, Issue 5.

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