Ethnicity, Identity and „Speaking Back“: Discoursing African Youth Languages

The inventive dimensions of African youth languages mirror, in diverse ways, the dynamics of social belongings, urbanity and emancipatory quests across the continent. They fit into a wider range of practices that resonate with the decolonial project of “speaking back”, and the perpetuation of self against the backdrop of globalized identities. The speaking back, in this sense, involves the stripping of colonial languages of metropolitan power – via structural remolding, pragmatic processes, and ideological embeddings. The lecture presents an alternative discourse of African youth languages – as not so much a (post-)imperial contact phenomenon, but as mitigated by indigenized processes. It foregrounds the structuring sway of youth languages on ethnic belongings, and more broadly, reflects on explanatory paradigms for youth linguistic phenomena.

Adeiza Isiaka works in the areas of language sociology, World Englishes and youth languages. He  completed his doctorate in English Linguistics at Chemnitz University of Technology in 2017 where he focused on the sociophonology of Nigerian English varieties; taught at Adekunle Ajasin University, Nigeria, and later, held an In-residence Postdoctoral Fellowship at the Centre for Advanced Study (CAS) in Sofia. He is a recipient of numerous scholarships, grants and awards, amongst which the Evangelisches Studienwerk Villigst Scholarship for Doctoral Research, and InProTUC/DAAD Visiting Scholarship at Tulane University, New Orleans in 2015. He is a Junior Fellow at the Alfried Krupp Wissenschaftskolleg in Greifswald in the summerterm 2020.

Moderation: Dr. Christian Suhm

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