Language And Colonial Power

Overview

Among the preconditions for establishing colonial authority was communication with the colonised. Verbal exchanges depended on a shared communicative praxis providing common ground on which unilateral claims could be imposed. Use of, and control over, verbal means of communication were needed to maintain regimes - military, religious-ideological, economic - in power. In the Belgian Congo brutal physical force never ceased to be exercised. In this study Professor Fabian examines the more subtle uses of power ...
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Overview

Among the preconditions for establishing colonial authority was communication with the colonised. Verbal exchanges depended on a shared communicative praxis providing common ground on which unilateral claims could be imposed. Use of, and control over, verbal means of communication were needed to maintain regimes - military, religious-ideological, economic - in power. In the Belgian Congo brutal physical force never ceased to be exercised. In this study Professor Fabian examines the more subtle uses of power through controls on communication, by looking at the history of Swahili as it spread from the East Coast to Central Africa and demonstrating connections between -changing forms of colonial power and the development of policies towards Swahili. Using a wide range of sources, including numerous and sometimes obscure vocabularies, he combines concepts derived from literary theory and sociolinguistics to uncover, through the flaws and failures of these texts, deep-seated attitudes to language and communication.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780520076259
  • Publisher: University of California Press
  • Publication date: 9/19/1991
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 220
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 0.50 (d)

Table of Contents

Foreword vii
Acknowledgements viii
A note on names and orthography ix
Introduction 1
1 Prelude: expeditions and campaigns 13
Polyglotta Africana 15
Swahili guides for the road 19
On the road: language and travel 24
End of the road 33
2 Questions and queries 42
A question of law and rights: language and the Colonial Charter 44
A question of facts: language in an early government survey 49
Responses from businessmen and administrators 53
Responses from missionaries and educators 58
A question of power: warnings from Katanga 63
Some general conclusions 65
3 Settling in: colonization and language 70
Missions, education and the oeuvre civilisatrice 71
Missionary linguistics 75
Religious and secular colonization: common ground 78
Language guides and teaching aids 84
Colonial language training in Belgium 88
4 Labor and language in Katanga 92
Labor in Katanga: a complicated story 92
Swahili as a symbol of 'reorientation': consolidation of Belgian rule in Katanga 100
Swahili as a work-language: some structural determinants 106
5 Talking tough and bad: pidginization in Katanga 112
Missionaries teaching colonists 112
Colonists teaching colonists: a guide for farmers in Katanga 114
The most common words in Katanga: a curious early manual 124
Conclusion: no missing link 133
6 The end: illusions of colonial power 135
Swahili and symbolic power 136
Codified Swahili in the eastern Congo: an inventory 1918-38 142
'Improved Swahili': Union Miniere and A. Verbeken 148
A voice not heard: A. Melignon and the 'rehabilitation' of Swahili in Katanga 157
Notes 163
Bibliography 188
Index 201
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