Preference for Localization Over Direct Borrowing for Exotic Concepts: is this an Evolution of African Languages for Survival?

Author: Dunlop Ochieng (The Open University of Tanzania, Tanzania)
Speaker: Dunlop Ochieng
Topic: Anthropological Linguistics
The GLOCAL AFALA 2023 General Session


Exotic concepts increasingly reach Africa due to the wave of globalization that reached its height in Africa in the 1990s. Football, as a case in point, has been, for a long time bringing a large share of exotic concepts to African communities. Even recent events such as Ebola or Covid-19 brought considerable concepts that are new to African communities. In the frontier of language, these new concepts to African communities must be accommodated in African languages either through direct borrowing or internal linguistic mechanisms. This paper argues that African languages increasingly employ internal processes and indirect borrowing than direct borrowing which was a common method in the past. This might be an evolution of the languages to survive in the face of strong influence from the external world. The paper draws data from secondary materials published on loanwords in African languages to argue its case. The findings might give insights into linguistic evolution theories or might inform the preservation of endangered languages, development and planning.

Keywords: exotic concepts