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External Language Spread Policies in Mozambique and Guniea-Bissau at the turn of the 21st Century.

Casaca Figueira, C.S (2010). External Language Spread Policies in Mozambique and Guniea-Bissau at the turn of the 21st Century.. (Unpublished Doctoral thesis, City, University of London)


This study explores the argument that Postcolonial Africa has been the setting for competing external language spread policies (LSPs) by ex-colonial European countries
at the turn of the 21st Century. To explore the topic I examine the case studies of Mozambique and Guinea-Bissau, in the time frame of the 1990s to the present.

In both case studies is visible the pervasiveness of international European languages that has been fostered by the history, structure and functioning of the international system. African languages mostly remain circumscribed to non-official domains. This linguistic inequality reflects the power relations enacted in society and internationally. It further raises issues of linguistic/cultural human rights and the defence of language and cultural diversity that this study argues for.

Associated with the European languages are foreign governments’ policies that support language spread in different measures and, in some cases, are at the origin of the internal language spread policy of the African countries. In Mozambique, my research identified overt external language spread policies undertaken by the governments of Portugal, Brazil, France, UK and Germany.
In Guinea-Bissau, research identified external language spread policies undertaken by the government of Portugal, Brazil, France and Germany.

Languages are dynamic and the linguistic situation in Africa should not be read as a simple dichotomy of European versus African languages in a positive/negative balance. As it has been deployed, the process of spread of official languages in Africa leads to their de facto supremacy and can be read as a ‘glottophagic’/language cannabalism process (Breton 1991, Calvet 2002b). It is thus imperative that a strong political will supports policies for African languages allowing the maxium participation of the people in the governing process and promoting socio-cultural independence from the outside
world (Heine 1992).

This study is based on transdisciplinary analysis using elements of sociology of language, sociolinguistics and international relations. Research for this study focused
on the qualitative analysis of extensive documentary data and a series of elite

Publication Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
J Political Science > JV Colonies and colonization. Emigration and immigration. International migration
P Language and Literature > PL Languages and literatures of Eastern Asia, Africa, Oceania
Departments: Doctoral Theses
School of Policy & Global Affairs > Sociology & Criminology
School of Policy & Global Affairs > School of Policy & Global Affairs Doctoral Theses
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