ERG SES C 12, Language and Education
The exportation and diaspora of restructured varieties of the English language through Granville Sharp’s philanthropist move to (re)settle the Black Poor in London and consequently other people like them in the Americas to Freetown 227 years ago was not only a salvation and civilizing mission but was also meant “as a potential utopian frontier of the mind and soul: a new beginning, in which humanity could rectify its past sins” (Bledsoe 1992: 186). This new beginning, therefore, has direct links to the existence of the English language with its divergent dialects in its new ecology in Freetown, the ‘Province of Freedom’. This new society and its new linguistic property, English, which has attracted some language enthusiasts (Spencer 1971; Jones 1971; Holm 1989; Pemagbi 1989; Fyfe 1991; Conteh-Morgan 1997; Huber 1998, 2004; Montgomery 1999) should be seen as a contact-induced variety considering the linguistic diversity of the settlers’ Englishes and their co-existence with speakers of other languages (African) in varying circumstances in a society in which different people and a plethora of languages (have) existed side by side in especially two important phases: settlement (1787-1850; 1808-1863) and colonization (1808 & 1896). The existence of the English language in Sierra Leone is basically due to the spread of Christianity and Western/European Education. Just as in other English-using (West) African countries, at independence in 1961, English remained as the official state and administrative language, and, as the language of instruction with social, political and economic consequences in Sierra Leone.
Regarding the object of the study, the English language in Sierra Leone, we observe that the linguistic community under examination, Freetown, presents a perfect example of the spread of European languages in the world and the ensuing indigenization that they have been made to undergo. This is due mainly to the fact that European languages came into contact with indigenous languages in these countries and are subsequently (re)shaped according to the linguistic experience of the people that use them as second and official languages. For our theoretical framework, we consider Weinreich’s ( 1968), Selinker’s (1972), Kachru’s (1976; 1996), Thomason and Kaufman (1988), Mufwene’s (2001) and Schneider’s (2007), among others, in our analysis of Sierra Leone English features in a bid to answer the following questions:
1) What role did Freetown play to the birth of West African English and the English lexified Pidgin and Creole languages in West Africa and beyond?
2) What language policies have been implemented so far with regards language and education?
3) Can the use of English in Sierra Leone, then, be free from contact-induced language change given the fact that most educated users/speakers of English have, at least, one indigenous language of Sierra Leone as a mother tongue?
To answer these questions, this paper has five interrelated objectives:
a) a critical look at the people who were settled in Freetown as they co-existed with one another and with the indigenes of the Settlement;
b) the structure of eighteenth and nineteenth-century Freetown society in relation to the people and their use of language;
c) an analysis of the varieties of the English language brought and used by the Freetown Settlers taking into account the other languages spoken in Freetown;
d) the role of the Freetown settlement and Sierra Leoneans to the birth, development and spread of not only West African English but also English lexified Pidgin and Creole languages in West Africa and beyond; and,
e) an appraisal of the sole use of European Languages in Africa as languages of instruction (English in this case) in detriment of the local languages and the resulting linguistic consequences with a focus on Sierra Leone.
Bledsoe, C. 1992. The Cultural Transformation of Western Education in Sierra Leone In Journal of the International African Institute, Vol. 62, No. 2, pp. 182-202. Edinburgh: University Press. Conteh-Morgan, M. 1997. ‘English in Sierra Leone’. English Today 51, Vol.13, No.3, pp. 52-56. Cambridge: CUP. Fyfe, C. H. 1962. A history of Sierra Leone. Oxford: OUP. _____ (ed) 1991. “Our Children Free and Happy”: Letters from Black Settlers in Africa in the 1790s. Edinburgh: Edinburgh University Press. Hair, P. E. H. 1987. Colonial Freetown and the Study of African Languages in Africa: Journal of the International African Institute, Vol. 57, No. 4, Sierra Leone, 1787-1987: pp. 560-565. Holm, J. 1989. Pidgins and Creoles: Reference Surveys 2 [Cambridge Language Surveys]. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press. Huber, M. 1998. Excursus: The settlement of the Sierra Leone Peninsula 1787-1850 In Ghanaian Pidgin English: A sociohistorical and structural analysis. Essen: Universität Gesamthochschule. Pp 73-85. _____ 2004. The Nova-Scotia – Sierra Leone Connection In Escure, Geneviéve and Armin Schwegler (eds) Creoles, Contact and Language Change: Linguistic and Social Implications. Creole Language Library vol. 27. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins. Pp 67-95. Jenkins, J. 2003. World Englishes. London and New York: Routledge. Jones, E. 1971. Krio: an English-based language of Sierra Leone In Spencer 1971 (ed) The English Language in West Africa. London. Longman. Pp.66-94. Kachru, B. B. 1976. ‘Models of English for The Third World: White Man’s Linguistic Burden or Language Pragmatics?’ TESOL Quarterly Vol. 10, No. 2. pp 221-239. Accessed 12/12/2007. ______ 1996. ‘World Englishes: Agony and Ecstasy’. Journal of Aesthetic Education, Vol. 30, No. 2. pp 135-155. USA: University of Illinois. Accessed 12/12/2007. Montgomerry, M. 1999. Eighteenth-Century Sierra Leone English: Another Exported Variety of African American English in English World-Wide 20:1 pp 1-34. John Benjamins Publishing Company. Mufwene, S. S. 2001. The Ecology of Language Evolution. Cambridge. Pemagbi, J. R. 1989. Still a deficient language? English Language Today, 17, 5(1). Pp. 20-24. Porter, A. T. 1963. Creoledom. A study of the development of Freetown society. London: OUP. Schneider, E. 2007. Postcolonial English: Varieties around the world. Cambridge. Selinker, L. 1972. Interlanguage. IRAL, X: pp 209-230. Spencer, J. 1971. West Africa and the English Language in Spencer, J. (ed) The English Language in West Africa. London. Longman. Pp 1-34. Thomason, S and Terrence Kaufman. 1988. Language Contact, Creolization and Genetic Linguistics. Los Angeles: University of California Press. Weinreich, U.  1968. Languages in Contact. The Hague. Mouton Publishers.
00. Central Events (Keynotes, EERA-Panel, EERJ Round Table, Invited Sessions)
Network 1. Continuing Professional Development: Learning for Individuals, Leaders, and Organisations
Network 2. Vocational Education and Training (VETNET)
Network 3. Curriculum Innovation
Network 4. Inclusive Education
Network 5. Children and Youth at Risk and Urban Education
Network 6. Open Learning: Media, Environments and Cultures
Network 7. Social Justice and Intercultural Education
Network 8. Research on Health Education
Network 9. Assessment, Evaluation, Testing and Measurement
Network 10. Teacher Education Research
Network 11. Educational Effectiveness and Quality Assurance
Network 12. LISnet - Library and Information Science Network
Network 13. Philosophy of Education
Network 14. Communities, Families and Schooling in Educational Research
Network 15. Research Partnerships in Education
Network 16. ICT in Education and Training
Network 17. Histories of Education
Network 18. Research in Sport Pedagogy
Network 19. Ethnography
Network 20. Research in Innovative Intercultural Learning Environments
Network 22. Research in Higher Education
Network 23. Policy Studies and Politics of Education
Network 24. Mathematics Education Research
Network 25. Research on Children's Rights in Education
Network 26. Educational Leadership
Network 27. Didactics – Learning and Teaching
The programme is updated regularly (each day in the morning)
- Search for keywords and phrases in "Text Search"
- Restrict in which part of the abstracts to search in "Where to search"
- Search for authors and in the respective field.
- For planning your conference attendance you may want to use the conference app, which will be issued some weeks before the conference
- If you are a session chair, best look up your chairing duties in the conference system (Conftool) or the app.