How the English language influenced African literature Essay Example


the language of african literature

PDF | In the s, much diatribe was exchanged by African literary artists within their caucus, and outside with different scholars interested in African literature. Wali demonstrates this. 'African Writers of English Expression' sat down to the first item on the agenda: 'What is African Literature?' English, like French and Portuguese, was assumed to be the natural language of literary and even political mediation between African people in the same nation and between nations in Africa and other continents. In. African literature, the body of traditional oral and written literatures in Afro-Asiatic and African languages together with works written by Africans in European languages. Traditional written literature, which is limited to a smaller geographic area than is oral literature, is most characteristic.

African literature | Article about African literature by The Free Dictionary

We use cookies to give you the best experience possible. Essay Topic: LiteratureLanguage. The use of the English language plays a crucial and dominant role in African literature. In contemporary African literature the use of English is often the key element for success as an African writer. However writing in English instead of their native tongues may come at a high price for these African writers.

By them replacing their native languages with English could eventually lead to the eradication of their native tongues. Don't use plagiarized sources. The aim of this essay is to address the following key elements which influence the role of English in African literature. Colonization played a leading role in placing English at the forefront of African literature.

The English language forms the core of African literature, throughout most parts of Africa. This is often evident in our everyday experiences. For example, the majority of the educational institutes in Africa, use English as a medium for engaging in learning activities. English has long been the language of politics. Furthermore, in the media and in literature, English is clearly the dominant language. In order for us to gain an understanding as to why English is the dominate language in African literature we need to address the main factor which has placed English at the centre of African literature.

The effects of colonialism had the most influence over this situation. These separate colonies were classified according to the languages of Europe, English- speaking, Portuguese-speaking and French-speaking African countries, the language of african literature. Colonialism controlled and limited the use of African languages by imposing negative and stereotypical views upon these African languages.

This is clearly stated by S. This interpretation was historic, and a typical example of how British colonisation and a British education system impacted on language use. With colonialism, African languages were downgraded, and the language of the colonising country, English became the language of commerce, education and an instrument with which to measure knowledge Dlamini The use of English in African literature can most definitely be viewed as a necessary evil.

On the one hand, the English language plays a fundamental part in many aspects of communication. For instance, those African writers who choose to write in English can express their opinions, views, the language of african literature, experiences and the like, across a more global scale.

Obviously, people would generally feel more comfortable writing in their home language as opposed to an additional language. Or we may go on resenting it because it came as part of a package deal which included many other items of doubtful value and the positive atrocity of racial arrogance and prejudice which may yet set the world on fire. But let us not in rejecting evil throw out the good with it.

There is no use in ignoring the fact that most literature will continue to be written in English. There are many reasons as to why it would not be feasible to banish the use of European languages in Africa, the language of african literature, in replace of an African language.

Firstly, this would affect the levels of communication within Africa and in relation with the rest of the world, as there are very few individuals in other parts of the world that understand one of the African languages, the language of african literature.

Secondly, this process would entail many expenses and complications. Clearly, there are many advantages of writing in a first world language. Firstly, this would cultivate Africa to be a part of the global network of communication. For instance, this would allow African writers to express their views across a broader scale of the globe. Secondly, with the ability to communicate, this allows these different social and cultural groups to interact, thus creating recognition for these different cultural groups.

Charles Taylor creates a clear indication of the importance of recognition in his article The politics of recognition. The demand for recognition in multiculturalism is given urgency by the supposed links between recognition and identity, where this multiculturalism designates something like a persons understanding of who they are, of their fundamental defining characteristics as a human being.

The thesis is that our identity is partly shaped by recognition or its absence, often by the misrecognition of others, and so a person or a group of people can suffer real damage, real distortionthe language of african literature, if the people or society around them then mirror back to them a confining or demeaning or contemptible picture of themselves.

Nonrecognition or misrecognition can inflict harm, can be a form of oppression, imprisoning someone in a the language of african literature, distorted, and reduced mode of being.

On the language of african literature other hand, one needs to address the obstacles facing the African writer. For those who have acquired English as their second language, often feel that they are incapable of expressing themselves in the correct context when writing in English. Some feel they have the language of african literature first think in their native tongue and then translate it into English and in the process their writing looses its meaning.

It looks like a dreadful betrayal and produces a guilty feeling. But for me there is no other choice. I have been given this language and I intend to use it. Firstly, in order to retain ones self identity, the sense of who you are and where you came from, one must first define themselves in relation to their language and their environment.

This should be a crucial element, before adopting other languages. Ngugi wa Thiongo stated. Hopefully there will still be writers who choose to write in their native languages, to ensure the existence and the development of African the language of african literature. Evidently as the above evaluation states, African literature will continue to be dominated by the use of the English language.

Although this is the reality to date, those Africans should not do so at the expense of abandoning their mother-tongue. How the English language influenced African literature.

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African literature - Wikipedia


the language of african literature


African literature is literature of or from Africa and includes oral literature (or "orature", in the term coined by Ugandan scholar Pio Zirimu).. As George Joseph notes in his chapter on African literature in Understanding Contemporary Africa, whereas European views of literature often stressed a separation of art and content, African awareness is inclusive. PDF | In the s, much diatribe was exchanged by African literary artists within their caucus, and outside with different scholars interested in African literature. Wali demonstrates this. Ngugi wa Thiongo in his essay “Language of African Literature”, exhorts to resurrect all African languages in order to reclaim native cultures that belong to the peasant and working class as a strategy against the cultural imperialism of Europe and America.