Empowering African Languages

Empowering African Languages

With Africa’s rich and complex history of migration, settlement, conquer, and colonisation, it’s not surprising that the continent’s heritage has borne such a wide variety of languages – South Africa’s 11 official languages alone bear testament to the permeation of language diversity as well as the difficulty of standardising language in bureaucratic, social, economic, and political contexts. It’s out of the complexity of developing African languages that the need for conferencing around this topic arose.

In 2013, the International Conference of the African Language Association of Southern Africa sees its annual gathering taking place at the Kgorong Building, Muckleneuk Campus of UNISA, in Preller Street, Pretoria. The conference duration is from 17 to 19 July 2013. South Africa’s capital is also an academic hotbed and in terms of conference venues Pretoria has a whole host of offerings – from state-of-the-art technology venues to conference venues rigged for academic presentations.

The purpose of the International Conference of ALASA

The conference attracts and inspires collaboration of the efforts of scholars and researchers from a wide variety of disciplines to share their research and findings relating to the conference theme. This year’s broad theme encompasses: Reflections and projections on the development of African languages and cultures. It will present research on historical achievements in terms of African languages, as well as future prospects for the development of continental languages.

Delving into the conference theme

The main focus will be on the specific sub-themes of the conference, which include talks and discussions around:

  • Language planning and policy in Africa

This sub-theme focuses specifically on language in education, business, economic environments, as well as law.

  • Language in society

This sub-theme explores the ways in which language influences and has been influenced by ideologies, gender, the media, health, and African languages’ relation to multilingualism, multiculturalism, and globalisation – how it fits in with the rest of the world.

  • General linguistics

This sub-theme will cover areas of linguistics including phonetics, semantics, syntax, discourse analysis, pragmatics, and morphology.

  • Lexicography and terminography

This sub-theme will explore the complexities of translation and onomastics in African languages.

  • Literature in African Languages

This sub-theme will cover the history of literature and comparative literature in African languages, as well as the burning topic of African literature and the intellectual property rights thereof – especially in the context of online content and eBooks. How accessible is too accessible? This sub-theme will also explore the history and context of Africa’s dynamic prose, poetry, theatre and oral art, as well as African literary theory.

International Conference of the African Language Association of Southern Africa

Date: 17-19 July 2013

Venue: Kgorong Building, Muckleneuk Campus of UNISA, in Preller Street, Pretoria