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Journal of African Languages and Linguistics

Ed. by Ameka, Felix K. / Amha, Azeb

2 Issues per year

IMPACT FACTOR 2017: 0.800

CiteScore 2017: 0.76

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2017: 0.327
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2017: 1.126

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Volume 34, Issue 1


Versions of Kituba's origin: Historiography and theory

William J. Samarin
Published Online: 2013-05-08 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jall-2013-0004


Casual explanations and thoughtful ones have been given for the emergence of Kituba, one of the African-based lingua francas of West Central Africa, but there is still no scholarly work that is based on political, historical, anthropological, and linguistic research to account for the language's origin and development. The present contribution is, first, an overview of various attempts at explaining its origin and development. Second, argued and arguable explanations are examined from different perspectives and with data not available before recent research. Finally, the author adds Kituba to his list of African vehicular languages that emerged in the late 19th century, when a significant number of auxiliaries – Africans in the majority, foreign and indigenous ones – solved their communication needs by contriving make-shift idioms that quickly gelled as languages. Still far from the work that will hopefully be accomplished by others, this modest study suggests the kind of historiography and linguistic analysis that will helpfully characterize it.

Keywords: Bantu grammar; Catholic schools; Congolese jargon; language and colonization; pidgin historiography; porterage; Scheut missionaries

About the article

Department of Anthropology, University of Toronto, Canada

Published Online: 2013-05-08

Published in Print: 2013-05-10

Citation Information: Journal of African Languages and Linguistics, Volume 34, Issue 1, Pages 111–181, ISSN (Online) 1613-3811, ISSN (Print) 0167-6164, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/jall-2013-0004.

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©[2013] by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston.Get Permission

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