Full-time Professor of Romance Linguistics at the University of Bremen. Her main areas of interest are the varieties of Spanish and French in America, sociolinguistics, and contact linguistics, with a special focus on linguistic contact resulting from mobility and migration.
An analysis of linguistic dynamics in postcolonial societies: Hybrid linguistics vs. Fixed pragmatic concepts
Postcolonial spaces are often characterized by great ethnic and cultural diversity as well as multilingualism, since the languages of the former colonial powers coexist with indigenous languages and immigrant languages. While in sociolinguistics and contact linguistics, languages are no longer treated as monolithic entities but as complex and dynamic systems, at a metapragmatic level. (cf. Agha 2007) rigid concepts of language(es) are still used. In this talk, the contradiction between these sociolinguistic and metapragmatic concepts and its consequences for the study of linguistic dynamics in postcolonial areas will be analyzed. Based on empirical examples taken from various African postcolonial areas, the supposedly fixed concept of ‘colonial language’ is deconstructed and the need to review and adapt the methodological approach to the study of linguistic contact in postcolonial societies is discussed.