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Gender and language in sub-Saharan African contexts: Issues and challenges

Atanga, L., Ellece, S. E., Litosseliti, L. & Sunderland, J. (2012). Gender and language in sub-Saharan African contexts: Issues and challenges. Gender and Language, 6(1), pp. 1-20. doi: 10.1558/genl.v6i1.1


In this paper, we examine a range of issues associated with the study of gender and language in sub-Saharan African contexts. These include whether (and in what sense) such contexts may constitute a ‘special case’, the relevance of feminism, and what might be encompassed by ‘context’, ‘African contexts’ and ‘African topics’ – and a substantial amount of what we write is relevant to Applied Linguistics in Africa more broadly (see Makoni and Meinhof 2004 for a discussion). We argue that while all the gender issues are of interest and importance to language and gender study in general, it is possible to see some of these issues as ‘characteristic’ of African contexts (albeit with ‘echoes’ elsewhere). It will be evident from this first paper (and those which follow) that along with taking on board commonalities in terms of the theoretical notions used in our field in African and non-African contexts, there is also a need to recognise a range of situated understandings of gender identities, gender relations, understandings of gender more broadly, and feminism.

Publication Type: Article
Publisher Keywords: gender, context, Africa, discourse, feminism
Subjects: P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics
Departments: School of Health & Psychological Sciences > Language & Communication Science
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