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Title:Style and Meaning in African English: A Sociolinguistic Analysis of South African and Zimbabwean English
Author(s):Magura, Benjamin Jameslai
Department / Program:Linguistics
Degree Granting Institution:University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign
Subject(s):Language, Linguistics
Abstract:This study presents an analysis of the style and 'meaning' of the variety of English used in the sociocultural context of South Africa and Zimbabwe. The focus is primarily on the African or Black English variety.
It is argued that the Blacks in this region have developed a variety of English that deviates in several ways from what is traditionally referred to as the 'standard' variety. Such deviations are essentially due to cultural and linguistic contact. The new variety thus developed has a set of functions which are not necessarily identical to those contexts in which the 'standard varieties' are used. It is also a variety developed for communication among non-native users of English. In short, the emerging Black variety has a style and meaning system appropriate for the African local situation.
It is shown that deviation in this variety is a result of many productive linguistic processes. These range from direct translation from local African languages, to various types of collocations, semantic shifts, calques, and innovations in lexicalization. These deviations are also evident at the discoursal level where they reveal a close relationship with discourse patterns in African languages.
The study provides a historical context for understanding the development of a Black English variety. It has passed through three basic stages. The first stage was when English education was restricted to very few Blacks who were expected to attain a near-native fluency, and whose only other communicants in English were native speakers of English. This group's English showed an obsession with the flamboyant style of the great English literary works. The second stage was greatly influenced by missionary education, and thus echoes themes and linguistic style with a religious flavor. Even then, the goal at this stage is near-native fluency. The third stage marks a period when English education and use is no longer a privilege of a few. It is this stage that shows distinct features of Black English in this region. The features at each stage are exemplified through literary works by Black artists such as: Plaatje, Dhlomo, Brutus, Mphahlele, Themba, Mungoshi. The study is organized in five major chapters: Chapter 1 is an overview of the study. Chapter 2 discusses various Africanization processes which make African English a distinct variety of English. Chapter 3 provides the sociolinguistic profile and gives an analysis of discourse in African English. Chapter 4 discusses the lexical innovations in African English. The final chapter concludes with a summary and recommendations for further study and research. There is also an extensive bibliography.
Issue Date:1984
Description:252 p.
Thesis (Ph.D.)--University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, 1984.
Other Identifier(s):(UMI)AAI8502230
Date Available in IDEALS:2014-12-15
Date Deposited:1984

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