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Picture of The Impact of French on the African Vernacular Languages

The Impact of French on the African Vernacular Languages

For Better or for Worse? Gabon as a Case Study

Author(s): Sosthène Boussougou, Karim Menacere
Subject: Social Sciences

Book Description

Following independence from their respective colonial regimes, seventeen African countries adopted French as their national language. This political move has had a number of consequences, both positive and negative, leading to the central question of this book: was the adoption of French as their national language a blessing or a curse for these countries? Is Francophonie a symbol of unity, a means of networking for French speakers in a globalised world, offering a sense of belonging through linguistic and cross-cultural, shared values, or is it a form of cultural imperialism in disguise? The rationale for adopting French was prompted by the perception that linguistic diversity in French Africa was a source of instability, while French could act as a stabilising agent. The adoption of this language has, however, widened the gaps between ethnic and tribal groups, reinforcing inequalities between classes, particularly the elite and the rural population. It has also strengthened the view that African languages are not fit for the business world and are unable to compete with dominant languages, thus perpetuating the colonial myth.

Language is inseparable from culture, and both language and culture constitute a nation’s heritage. As such, African heritage is being eroded by the day. This book offers detailed insights into the impact of French in Gabon, exploring what the French language has brought to the country, but also considering what it is taking away.


ISBN-13: 978-1-4438-7731-2
ISBN-10: 1-4438-7731-X
Date of Publication: 01/07/2015
Pages / Size: 160 / A5
Price: £41.99


Dr Sosthène Boussougou is a researcher in linguistics, and author of the Theory of Languages, the first book, anywhere in the world, to conceive of a theory on languages as a pluri-linguistic subject. He currently lives on the Isle of Man with his family, and has taken up a new and exciting project, namely The Bright Stars Television Series, which is to champion education around the world.

Dr Karim Ménacère is Senior Lecturer at Liverpool Business School, and has taught at university level for over 35 years. He currently teaches research methods on the MRES, DBA and MBA EL programmes, and has extensive research and supervision experience. His research interests also involve languages (namely French, Arabic, and English), and range from Francophonie to translation studies. He has collaborated actively with research students and colleagues in a number of other disciplines, including auditing and accounting.