P172
African indigenous languages as urban youth languages: the rural-urban exchange

Convenors:
Taiwo Oloruntoba-Oju (University of Ilorin)
Chair:
Taiwo Oloruntoba-Oju
Format:
Panels
Location:
PG215
Start time:
29 June, 2017 at 14:00
Session slots:
2

Short abstract:

This panel invites papers on African rural-urban youth languages and on their predictive value for language change and social development. The panel is interested in theoretical reflections and empirical exposé on the urbanisation of indigenous (rural) languages and ruralisation of urban languages.

Long abstract:

The dominance of colonial languages in African scholarship has often led to misconceptions of phenomena such as urban languages as being mostly colonial or colonial-based; hence indigenous African languages are hardly studied as independent urban languages. For example, African 'urban youth languages' are predominantly studied as colonial contact phenomena, or as offshoots of the interaction between colonial and indigenous language forms. Yet, indigenous languages are widely employed as medium of wider social communication in some of the densest African cities. Indigenous youth and other varieties of these languages (such as Yoruba, Igbo and Hausa in Nigerian cities) demonstrate that rural-urban interaction in public and private spaces does generate 'urban languages' that are largely independent of colonial languages. This panel invites papers on African rural-urban youth languages and on their predictive value for language change and social development. The panel is interested in theoretical reflections and empirical exposé on the urbanisation of indigenous (rural) languages, and the reciprocal ruralisation of urban, especially colonial, languages. Discussions of African Urban Youth Language varieties that are based almost exclusively on indigenous forms will be very interesting. However, papers are also welcome to tease out the rural in the urban and the urban in the rural in linguistic expressions and forms by both adult and youth populations, as attested in specific social and cultural speech communities or domains. Data from naturally occurring speech, as well as from literature and popular culture, will be welcome.