This course is largely descriptive as it examines the social and cultural context of African languages. The course surveys how African languages reflect the ways of life and major beliefs of the people either orally or in written form. Part of the course explores the genetic classification of African languages, their characteristics, national and official languages, lingua francas and their contributions to linguistic theories. A major part of the course will call upon students to rely on their native languages to seekout those peculiarities that they think are unique to their languages and not found in other linguistic contexts. Hence a wide range of African languages and cultures will be studied.
1) To introduce students to African language families and characteristics
2) To increase students' awareness of the linguistic theories and how they serve African languages
3) To guide students to develop an awareness of the potential flaws and strengths when applying linguistic theories to the study of African languages
4) To encourage students to study/discuss their native languages at a deep level as they identify the unique features embedded in them
5) To offer students an opportunity to discuss the interface between African languages and culture
6) Encourage students to examine how the written form of African languages may differ from the spoken form and its impact on meaning
Course Learning Outcomes Students will be able to:
1) Assess to what extent Africa is linguistically fragmented
2) Assess mother-tongueism in contemporary Africa
3) Conduct comparative analyses of African languages
4) Critique the application of linguistic theories to African languages
5) Identify and critically discuss the shortfalls of linguistic in the face of African languages
6) Outline specific examples that illustrate how their native languages are unique as compared to other languages
7) Analyze one text written by an African writer and show how the written form of African languages may differ from the spoken form and its impact on meaning.