Multilingual ecologies

Languages change and adapt as they exist in the minds and practices of multilinguals. This has been my research focus for a long time. At STIAS, I work on several projects in this area. One concerns mining languages. Creating a typology of these (Fanagalo from  Gauteng and beyond is a prime example), I study multilingualism in the silver mines of Potosí (Colonial Alto Perú, now Bolivia). A second project, joint work with Kofi Yakpo (U. Hong Kong) is on five centuries of multilingualism in the former Dutch colony of Surinam, with 14 languages a situation as complex as the one in South Africa. Of interest here are parallels and lack thereof between Surinamese Dutch and Afrikaans. If time permits, I will also work on a third project on heritage languages (languages brought somewhere and preserved in immigrant communities); the heritage frame is also used in the Western Cape.

Project leader(s):
  • Pieter Muysken (Radboud University, Nijmegen)

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