Babelian reflections in critical tranquillity
PublisherUniversity of Botswana; www.ub.bw
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This essay examines a literary, sociolinguistic condition of Africa in a reflective telescopic view that pans cultural experiences in temporal phases which are represented by tropes of the biblical Babel. Pre-Babel and Post-Babel are linguistic indices of speculation on either side of Babel in a notional Babelian linguistic continuum inhabited by experience that is in a state of flux. The discussion is speculative but based on observable findings indicating an emerging community that seems headed for a linguistic spot where it transforms into a polity without a language as languages go. English has grown on the back of literature, colonialism and technology to occupy the world stage as a global language; but the computer has proved noxious to the acquisition of language and communicational skills in newer generations of language users and has had a deleterious effect on a book reading and writing culture. Indigenous African languages are caught in a similar postmodern web but seem more threatened than English because of official nonchalance. African languages have been vulnerable since colonialism but newly emergent policymakers appear mostly unwilling to address and attempt to redress the situation. This essay contends that urgent deliberate drastic official pragmatic intervention is required to arrest and reverse the unsettling trend.
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