Abstract

This paper addresses language vitality from an Africanist perspective. I identify central components for the paradigm Mufwene (2017) invites us to conceive: the investigation of communicative practices in language ecologies (rather than the study of a language), of fluid speech and its relation to imaginary reifications, of indexical functions of speech and language, and of language ideologies and the perspectives contained in them. I argue that the study of small-scale multilingual ecologies driven by adaptivity, rather than by fixed ethnolinguistic identities and ancestral languages, and the recognition of small languages as causally related to language vitality, not to endangerment, are crucial for a rethinking of linguistic vitality and diversity.

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Additional Information

ISSN
1535-0665
Print ISSN
0097-8507
Pages
pp. e275-e279
Launched on MUSE
2017-12-21
Open Access
No
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