The ATrA Workshop was held in Trieste (Italy) on May 24-26, 2016 with the aim of discussing the possible dimensions and varieties related to phenomena of cultural and linguistic transition in Africa.
Identity negotiation, ethnicity and cultural affiliation, cases of contact, creolization, integration, urbanization, climate or cultural changes, language and cultural switch, market exchanges and human migration have been put on the table, generating a very concrete and fruitful discussion.
The case studies collected in this miscellaneous book, give an idea of the multi-faceted dimensions of the debate, which ranges by necessity from anthropology to archaeology and from philology to linguistics, in a continuous alternation of disciplines, voices and styles.
Mechanisms of resilience and adaptation to new situations and contexts are described through an investigation which in many cases has the flavour of an intimate research, aimed above all at finding out the very essence of “being human”.
Ilaria Micheli, PhD in African Studies (2005) and expert in linguistic anthropology, is a researcher in the Department of Legal, Linguistic, Interpreting and Translation Studies at the University of Trieste. Since 2001 she has been working on the language and culture of the Kulango (Gur – Niger‑Congo) in Côte d’Ivoire, and more recently on the Ogiek (Kalenjin – Nilo‑Saharan) in Kenya. Material culture, oral tradition and traditional medicine are her main research areas. She teaches African Languages and Cultures at the University of Venice “Caʼ Foscari” as well as traditional and modern African literature and social anthropology at the University of Trieste.
Browsing ATrA 3. Cultural and Linguistic Transition explored by Subject "Abstand"
The article deals with the problem of counting languages with an eye to assessing the loss of language diversity. It opposes internal and external definitions of language. The article rejects current literature which rests on sociological definitions of language, based upon the conventional wisdom of the speakers and the use of languages in order to flag identities, and pleads for the necessity to embrace an internal definition based upon intelligibility and structual differences. In so doing, it harks back to a time-honored quest for a prely structural definition of language (vs. dialect). In such a view, neither the speakers’ attitudes to their or other languages nor recognition on the part of official bodies backing or play no role, while the task of defining language is therefore handed back squarely from social studies and social-oriented analyses of language to linguistics.