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Insurgent words: challenging the coloniality of language

Authors
  • Deumert, Ana1
  • 1 University of Cape Town, South Africa , (South Africa)
Type
Published Article
Journal
International Journal of the Sociology of Language
Publisher
De Gruyter
Publication Date
Nov 13, 2021
Volume
2021
Issue
272
Pages
101–126
Identifiers
DOI: 10.1515/ijsl-2021-2125
Source
De Gruyter
Keywords
License
Yellow

Abstract

This article explores language ideologies and sociolinguistic scales from the perspective of decolonization. Coloniality is a multi-scalar world system that affects micro-level interactions in multiple locales, both in the metropole and in the former colonies. Not only does coloniality exist on a world scale, resistance to it is scaled up too and engulfs the world. The linguistic tradition that I seek to trace in this article is imaginative, creative and oriented towards alternative decolonial futures. It speaks to the experience of the coloniality of language, of language as alienating and oppressive, and to the corresponding desire, and need, for a different language. It articulates a decolonial philosophy and brings art and politics together to change the world. I show that the global south was, and is, an intellectual-artistic-political vanguard, articulating and shaping discourses about language and revolutionary action. In philosophical, artistic and political practice – stretching from Martinique to Paris, from Cape Town to Kingston – language and revolutionary practice merge into one: language no longer just reflects reality, it can change it.

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