Dienstag, 25. November 2014, 17:00 - 19:00 iCal

Tales of sadness, and some smelly discourse

Anne Storch, Universität zu Köln

Institut für Afrikawissenschaften, Seminarraum 3
Spitalgasse 2, Hof 5, 1090 Wien


In various sub-fields of linguistics, we are presently observing a paradigm shift, whereby language is no longer seen as a thing, but rather as social and cultural practice. One of the challenges of such new options in looking at linguistic practice is that language – no longer being fixed as an entity with boundaries around itself – doesn’t represent a value as such, and can’t be conceptualised easily as an object in which knowledge and cultural wealth are enshrined. In this paper I propose that there are other metapragmatic discourses, and that language is constructed as an esteemed concept in different ways in different cultures and societies. I will develop new approaches to how a community of practice is constructed in utterly multilingual, diverse settings, and how language needs to be seen there as speech, and as a creative and aesthetic means of expressing oneself (rather than structure and imposed standard). I argue that the construction of language as a community’s intangible heritage and hallmark of identity can be correlated, for example, to particular ways of coding emotion and perception, and that it is exactly this particular domain of expressing oneself as a speaker and as a person that colonial and postcolonial African linguistics has largely ignored and removed from its ‘proper topics’.

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Institut für Afrikawissenschaften


Ulrike Auer
Institut für Afrikawissenschaften