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Title: A Sociolinguistic Perspective of the Indigenous Communities of Botswana
Authors: CHEBANNE, Andy Monthusi
Keywords: Indigenous ethnic communities
Khoisan languages of Botswana
Language and identity
Language policy
Sociolinguistics of Khoisan
Issue Date: Sep-2008
Publisher: The Center for African Area Studies, Kyoto University
Journal title: African Study Monographs
Volume: 29
Issue: 3
Start page: 93
End page: 118
Abstract: The indigenous communities of Botswana discussed in this paper are generally referred to as the Khoisan (Khoesan). While there are debates on the common origins of Khoisan communities, the existence of at least fi ve language families suggests a separate evolution that resulted in major grammatical and lexical differences between them. Due to historical confl icts with neighboring groups, they have been pushed far into the most inhospitable areas of the regions where they presently live. The most signifi cant victimization of Khoisan groups by the linguistic majority has been the systematic neglect of their languages and cultures. In fact, social and development programs have attempted to assimilate them into so-called majority ethnic groups and into modernity, and their languages have been diffi cult to conserve in contact situations. This paper provides an overview of these indigenous communities of Botswana and contributes to ongoing research of the region. I discuss reasons for the communities' vulnerability by examining their demography, current localities, and language vitality. I also analyze some adverse effects of development and the danger the Khoisan face due to negative social and political attitudes, and formulate critical areas of intervention for the preservation of these indigenous languages.
DOI: 10.14989/66231
Appears in Collections:Vol.29 No.3

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