Preserving linguistic diversity: a critical analysis of the language debate in postcolonial societies

Hassan, Shabina (2011). Preserving linguistic diversity: a critical analysis of the language debate in postcolonial societies. University of Birmingham. M.Phil.

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This thesis examines the argument for preserving linguistic diversity, using the works of Achebe and Ngũgĩ as the theoretical framework central to the analysis of the language debate in postcolonial societies. This in turn forms the basis for understanding the necessity of preserving linguistic diversity thus informing the strong reasoning behind preventing language death. Therefore, although the language debate is not embedded exclusively within the postcolonial paradigm, it is very much informed by it. In the wake of independence by former colonies, it is the subversion inflicted both by the self and by wider systems (such as globalisation and Ngũgĩ’s conception of the ‘cultural bomb’) which fuel the prospect of language death. The primary argument of this thesis is: firstly, an intrinsic connection exists between a language, identity and the culture it carries; secondly, in postcolonial societies, it can be a positive step to reclaim native languages if desired, and finally, diversity in languages is a positive and enriching attribute for the intricate mosaic of the cultural repository of humanity. Ultimately, the thesis encourages the protection and preservation of endangered and indigenous languages as it recognises the invaluable knowledge bases which exist in different languages and cultures and sees this value as irreplaceable if lost.

Type of Work: Thesis (Masters by Research > M.Phil.)
Award Type: Masters by Research > M.Phil.
College/Faculty: Colleges (2008 onwards) > College of Arts & Law
School or Department: School of Languages, Cultures, Art History and Music
Funders: None/not applicable
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HS Societies secret benevolent etc
H Social Sciences > HT Communities. Classes. Races
P Language and Literature > P Philology. Linguistics


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