Multilingual Margins: A journal of multilingualism from the periphery <h3 style="font-weight: normal !important;">Multilingual Margins aspires to deliver incisive theorizations that critically deconstruct ways of talking about language and multilingualism that emanate from the Center. It seeks to provide a forum for the emergence of alternative discourses of multilingualism rooted in close (historiographical) accounts of local language practices and ideologies of the translocal and entangled communities of the geopolitical South. To the extent that margins are productive spaces of annotation and commentary on the body or main theme of a text, an approach to multilingualism from the geopolitical margin promises also to contribute to reflection and afterthought, and to new epistemological approaches to language formulated in the Center.</h3> Centre for Multilingualism and Diversities Research, University of the Western Cape en-US Multilingual Margins: A journal of multilingualism from the periphery 2221-4216 Linguistic Marginalia: A Special Issue on African Urban Youth Language (AUYL) Practices <p>This introduction to the Multilingual Margins special issue on “African Urban and Youth Language (AUYL) Practices” is divided into five parts. The first part presents an overview of urban and youth language practices in Africa, with particular attention paid to the symbolism of youth and urban identity, multilingual composition, and a sample of commons names for AUYL. The second part of the introduction provides an overview of the history of colonial monolingualism and metropolitan infrastructures that created a niche or third space for the multitude of speakers who lacked access to housing, services, and colonial standard languages. The third part of the introduction overviews how the exclusionary policies of colonialism created a marginalization that spawned an informal sector of business, replete with a language of solidarity for the people on the periphery. The fourth part of the introduction discusses how the speakers of AUYL practices are not vicitms or imperial debris, rather they have become agents to localize the global and globalize the local by being fluid enough to renegotiate the colonial with the traditional and engender a reconceptualization of what it means to be globalized and cosmopolitan. Finally, in the fifth part, the introduction presents the eight articles that constitute the special issue.</p> Philipp W. Rudd Copyright (c) 2022 2023-05-25 2023-05-25 9 1 10.14426/mm.v9i1.1390 Linguistic Features in a Marginal Corpus. The Case of Written Camfranglais, a Cameroon Youth Language <p>Cameroon youth language. Two types of corpora are examined: Camfranglais written by its speakers and another based on transcriptions of oral corpora by researchers. It is revealed that Camfranglais written by the speakers, Cameroon youth, shows two varieties: one variety written by post-secondary school students, which includes Baccalauréat/Advanced Level holders, primary and secondary school teachers, young university lecturers, young civil servants, etc. reproduced, in all its aspects, up to grammatical inflections and graphological renderings, with original French and English languages, with a high tendency towards “Frenchification” of all non-French and English words from Cameroon source languages like Duala, Ewondo, Basaa, Mokpe, etc. Another variety of Camfranglais written by either those who did not go to school or are dropouts, or those who did not complete the entire secondary education. They lack good mastery of the source languages involved in Camfranglais, particularly French and English. This study shows that Camfranglais corpora written and/or transcribed by authors and speakers reveal linguistic tendencies, particularly at the levels of spelling, syntax and morphosyntax, which vary according to the level of knowledge of the source languages Camfranglais relies on.</p> Augustin Emmanuel Ebongue Copyright (c) 2022 2023-05-25 2023-05-25 9 1 10.14426/mm.v9i1.1392 Language on the margins: multilinguality, marginality and linguistic precarity in the Nigerian context <p>Multilingualism and multilinguality are conspicuous and sometimes contentious features of the sociolinguistic profile of many African countries. This article looks at the manner in which multilingualism and multilinguality key into marginality and precarity at both societal and individual levels in a representative African community such as Nigeria. Examining the nexus between language, socio-economic status, and government policy, the article suggests that the faulty management of multilingualism in African states produces a precarious multilinguality among citizens across the different social strata. The resultant ‘linguistic precarity’ creates capacity underdevelopment, entrenched poverty and the devaluation of social capital at societal and individual levels. The article draws data from three key sociolinguistic domains in Nigeria – the school, the linguistic landscape of the urban streets, and the political terrain – to illustrate the interesting and theoretically germane ways in which multilinguality, marginality and precarity intersect.</p> Taiwo Oloruntoba-Oju Copyright (c) 2022 2023-05-25 2023-05-25 9 1 10.14426/mm.v9i1.1393 Empaako, the Magic Word: A Special Form of Address Used in Western Uganda <p>This paper investigates Empaako, a special form of address and communicative process used in western Uganda. Through a historical and ethnographic background, the next section explores the linguistics of the magical word. Next, the paper traces naming and traditional names and examines examples of such naming for the Banyoro and Bantoro peoples. In particular, it discusses the etymologies for six semantic categories of secret names and how they have been reduced in these modern times to four groups. Meanwhile, more and more Batooro and Banyoro families are replacing traditional naming with a more European style of naming in which the clan’s name becomes the surname and a given name is derived from either Islam or Christianity. Finally, what remains is the requirement to employ Empaako communicatively to show respect and intimacy, and to avoid taboo violation.</p> Gerald Heusing Copyright (c) 2022 2023-05-25 2023-05-25 9 1 10.14426/mm.v9i1.1395 Strategies for Identifying Sheng: What counts as Sheng? <p>The purpose of this paper is to look at different characteristics of Sheng that distinguishes it from other linguistics codes and specifically Standard Swahili. A loose application of the markedness theory will be used to show the elements that distinguishes Sheng from Standard Swahili. Sound segments, some prosodic features, morphological and lexical elements are examined and contrasted with those of their donor languages to identify the marked sounds that are regarded as markers of Sheng. These innovations are attributed to borrowing from various languages. The structural deviation and semantic shift of familiar words in Swahili and other languages is seen as another manifestation of markedness that qualifies those forms as Sheng. The paper concludes by calling for the expansion of the field of study of youth and urban languages to pay more attention to the linguistic areas that have not received adequate attention in order to provide a complete account of these languages.</p> Peter Githinji Copyright (c) 2022 2023-05-25 2023-05-25 9 1 10.14426/mm.v9i1.1398 The ‘rural-urban’ mix in the use of prepositions and prepositional phrases by students of literature in Kenyan universities <p>The language of instruction at university level in the Kenyan education system is English, so all written work for assignments and examinations is generated in English. And yet, each student probably uses two or three languages in their everyday life in situations away from the classroom. Indeed, the language policy allows the use of mother tongue as language of instruction in Primary School classes One to Three. African languages are structured differently from the English language, particularly where prepositions are concerned. Furthermore, each language grows in a specific cultural context; and the range of vocabulary of the African languages in Kenya is different from that of English. This may present a challenge for university students using English as the language of instruction in understanding academic concepts for which there is no equivalent in their mother tongue. In some instances, only a single word is available in the first language, where several different English words are possible or even necessary for clarity depending on the context. This paper explores this cultural peculiarity of linguistic marginalisation, which is both lexical and syntactic, as manifest in the written research papers of university literature students who would otherwise work simultaneously in different languages.</p> Esther K. Mbithi Copyright (c) 2022 2023-05-25 2023-05-25 9 1 10.14426/mm.v9i1.1410 Escaping the Margins of Society: New Media and Youth Language Practices across the Rural Urban Divide in Kenya <p>In Kenya, among the youth, traditionally there were established language practice differences where youth in the rural areas would speak the domicile mother tongue while the urban youth re-designed their identity by creating and communicating in ‘Sheng’. This is no longer the case as the rural-urban language divide is linguistically flattening due to increased use of digital media, urbanization of rural spaces and globalization. This paper describes new digital media language trends among Kenyan urban youth and explains how globalization and digital media have become the unifying factor between rural and urban youth language practices. The paper contends that the narrowing of the urban-rural dichotomy in language use seems to have created semi-homogenous language practices among the youth in both rural and urban areas. This has been made possible by affordable internet which gives the rural youth access to urban culture and global trends. The paper also describes how urbanization of rural towns and rural-urban-urban-rural migration has created pathways that carry urban language practices to previously rural areas and created a form of African modernity and urbanity in these spaces.</p> Fridah Kanana Erastus Daniel Ochieng Orwenjo Margaret Nguru Gathigia Copyright (c) 2022 2023-05-25 2023-05-25 9 1 10.14426/mm.v9i1.1412 Marginality, subversive language and sex tourism: Multilingual practices at the Kenyan coast <p>Kenyan beaches are multilingual spaces of encounters between European ‘package tourists’ and African beach vendors, but also play host to the social inequalities and marginalization of the ubiquitous sex tourism business. In contrast to well-researched youth language practices, often understood as playful linguistic trends, young beach boys’ patterns of foreign language acquisition and their multilingual performance at the beaches are based on economic survival and offer a different perspective on multilingual practice: Most of the male sex workers with broad linguistic repertoires undergo a painful process to learn the tourists’ languages, based on experiences of degradation, hostility and shame. The fluid translanguaging practices of marginalized speakers draw from Kiswahili and local Mijikenda languages while also incorporating a vast lexicon from tourist languages. At the same time, they serve a subversive function, evident in the modification of vulgar German lexemes, which allows marginalized sex workers to mimetically “speak back” to their female customers. In my overview paper, I aim to discuss the role of tourists’ languages in emerging translanguaging processes and I intend to investigate the “darker side” of heteroglossic repertoires in the tourism sector; where I claim that multilingual experience is often linked to and reflects marginality, exploitation, and social inequality.</p> Nico Nassenstein Copyright (c) 2022 2023-05-25 2023-05-25 9 1 10.14426/mm.v9i1.1416 The Performative Grammars of Civic Action: Decolonizing Interstices of Language through Theatricalizing Sheng <p>Martin Banham’s ‘Languages of African Theatre’ evaluates artists torn between creating in English and writing in vernaculars. He asks, how can artists ‘decolonize the spirit’ of performing in the settler’s language without limiting what they say and how they say it? Banham goes on to argue that performance with its hybrid and transcendent multiple tongues allows for rich territory in which to both decolonize a subjugated past while bringing cultures together more freely and equally.</p> <p>With this article, I problematize Banham’s proposal by analyzing from multiple positionalities a performance about language devised by students while I was a visiting professor in Kenya. The project: explore how youth employ the African Urban Youth Language ‘Sheng’ to build identity and resist oppressive systems. This performance was steeped in irony as the common ground for the theatre project was English, the oppressive lexicon of the students’ colonized past yet my only fluent language. Thus, as Banham attests, the artists used tools of ‘grammar’ and ‘politics of performance’ they had at their disposal to negotiate the performance landscape. Through the lenses of Kenneth Burke’s A Grammar of Motives, Janelle Reinelt’s artists as ‘citizens-in-the making,’ echoed by Banham’s belief in the potential for theatre to transcend rigid borders and systems of power, I analyze a performance that liberated language while simultaneously being bound by it.</p> Karin A. Waidley Copyright (c) 2022 2023-05-25 2023-05-25 9 1 10.14426/mm.v9i1.1419 Table of contents Quentin Williams Copyright (c) 2022 University of the Western Cape 2023-05-25 2023-05-25 9 1 10.14426/mm.v9i1.1389