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Empowering national languages: The Bantu language area.

Chapter in book
Authors Karsten Legère
Published in Raija Kramer Kramer & Roland Kießling (eds.) Mechthildian Approaches to Afrikanistik
Pages 243-260
ISBN 978-3-89645-226-9
Publisher Rüdiger Köppe
Place of publication Köln
Publication year 2017
Published at Department of Languages and Literatures
Pages 243-260
Language en
Keywords Sub-equatorial Africa, Bantu language area, 22 countries covered, analysis of official documents (mainly constitution) and grassroots situation, non-African official languages priority, selected Bantu languages lower priority, terminological preferences
Subject categories Bantu languages


This paper deals with the role of ex-colonial and Bantu languages South of the Equator in 22 countries ranging from Angola to Zimbabwe. In official domains (i.e. Legislative, Executive and Judiciary and law enforcing institutions) English, French, Portuguese or Spanisch are stipulated throughout. In 11 countries major Bantu languages are also recognized as being official. The situation is rather similar in formal domains such as education, mass media, post and telecommunication etc. In informal domains (e.g. at the market, traditional meetings, sport events) national languages are predominantly used. In ethno-linguistically heterogenous places prominent Bantu languages act as supra-ethnic means of communication.

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