English as a Local Language: Post-colonial Identities and Multilingual Practices
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This book explores how multilingualism involving English is ordered in post-colonial, globalizing societies. By placing multilingual practices at the theoretical center, the author investigates a range of sociolinguistic domains to demonstrate how individuals use English as a local resource alongside other languages in East Africa to produce an array of local and global identifications.
modes. A transgressive theoretical approach focuses on how people break rules, go beyond established categories, and transcend their limitations. Pennycook (2007: 42) writes that transgression ‘is not a project of random, pointless transgressive interruptions but rather a profound and methodical investigation of how to understand ourselves, our histories and how the boundaries of thought may be traversed’. Rather than studying how people have resisted, rejected or adapted colonial modes, a
of language resist and appropriate previously colonialist discourses tied to English. Among the journalists, the historically ‘marked code’ of English appears to be fully localized by its own community of speakers. From a Bakhtinian perspective, then, the journalists have double-voiced the language, thereby making it their own: The word in language is half someone else’s. It becomes ‘one’s own’ only when the speaker populates it with his own intention, his own accent, when he appropriates the
English has reached. Among the workers at the newspaper office, I focused primarily on journalists and editors, though other employees were of course part of the context. In an interview with a secretary (who had only graduated from primary school and who did not display any ability to use English, even in Swahinglish), the power of the belief in English as a means to economic success was evident. (27) C: Rita: Kwa hiyo baada ya kujifunza Kingereza hata Kenya hapa watu wanaweza kufanya nini hasa
speakers? In considering the answers to these questions, this book explores the weighty issue of how multilingualism involving English is ordered in post-colonial, globalizing societies. Instead of investigating the linguistic aspects of local forms of English or the effect of English on local languages, my goal here is to develop a framework that theorizes how languages work together in multilingual societies by placing multilingual practices at the theoretical center. As Bakhtin (1981: 293)
spread of capitalism in East Africa, including serious questions about who benefits when markets are ‘free’, the increasing divide between the haves and the have-nots, and the role of international agencies such as the IMF and the World Bank in delivering policies that will benefit developing nations, rather than further demoralizing them with heavy debts or unhelpful trade restrictions. A cartoon by the satirical comic book Kingo (Figure 6.18) summarizes many aspects of the reality of a