Sociolinguistics, colonial and postcolonial: An integrationist perspective

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In this article we explore and describe the emergence of languageness in order to evaluate the adequacy of an integrationist paradigm in explaining language experiences in colonial and postcolonial contexts. Integrationist linguistics addresses epistemological linguistic issues in western contexts; and its examples, by and large, are also drawn from the same contexts. In this article we explore its putative relevance to non-western colonial and postcolonial contexts. Using colonial linguistics as a framework for our description, we argue that pre-colonial communication systems and contemporary non-institutionalized systems (urban youth vernacular use, online language use) conform to a view of a language and communication as theorized within integrational linguistics. To a large extent, in pre-colonial Africa there was no sense of ethnic and language awareness as understood in western contexts. Theoretically, in integrationism, language and action are inextricably intertwined. This is in sharp contrast to the conceptualization of the same relationship in colonial and postcolonial contexts. In these contexts the relationship between language and action is strictly separate because speech is regarded as unreliable; hence the importance of inferring meaning and intentions from, although the two speech is regarded and how speech is regarded are distinct they mutually influence each other.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)680-688
Number of pages9
JournalLanguage Sciences
Issue number4
StatePublished - Jul 2011

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Language and Linguistics
  • Linguistics and Language


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