Gender and Language, Vol 6, No 1 (2012)

Gender and language in sub-Saharan African contexts: Issues and challenges

Lilian Atanga, Sibonile Edith Ellece, Lia Litosseliti, Jane Sunderland
Issued Date: 30 Apr 2012


In this paper, we examine a range of issues associated with the study of gender and language in sub-Saharan African contexts. These include whether (and in what sense) such contexts may constitute a ‘special case’, the relevance of feminism, and what might be encompassed by ‘context’, ‘African contexts’ and ‘African topics’ – and a substantial amount of what we write is relevant to Applied Linguistics in Africa more broadly (see Makoni and Meinhof 2004 for a discussion). We argue that while all the gender issues are of interest and importance to language and gender study in general, it is possible to see some of these issues as ‘characteristic’ of African contexts (albeit with ‘echoes’ elsewhere). It will be evident from this first paper (and those which follow) that along with taking on board commonalities in terms of the theoretical notions used in our field in African and non-African contexts, there is also a need to recognise a range of situated understandings of gender identities, gender relations, understandings of gender more broadly, and feminism.

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DOI: 10.1558/genl.v6i1.1


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