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Evidence from Retroflexion in Kizigua: How Language Maintenance was Possible in the Context of Forced Migration in Pre-Civil War Somalia

Tse, Holman (2013) Evidence from Retroflexion in Kizigua: How Language Maintenance was Possible in the Context of Forced Migration in Pre-Civil War Somalia. In: Migration and Language Conference, 20 November 2013 - 20 November 2013, Pennsylvania State University, University Park, PA.

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Abstract

In this presentation, I discuss how language maintenance was historically possible in spite of forced migration for speakers of an under-documented language called Kizigua. The Wazigua people who speak this language trace their origins to the Northeastern Coast of Tanzania but were brought northward to Somalia to work as slaves in the 19th Century. Upon escape, the Wazigua created fugitive slave communities that have been continuously present in Southern Somalia for more than a century. Two major factors will be argued to have contributed towards language maintenance: 1) coincidental contact with Bantu speakers in Southern Somalia and 2) social distance from ethnic Somalis. Research on the history of the region along with historical sources documenting the language in the 19th Century will be brought together with more recent sources and interviews with present-day speakers of the language. Both linguistic and socio-historical evidence will be presented. A major focus will be on tracing the historical development of a set of rare sounds described by linguists as “retroflex” sounds. It will be shown that their development provides evidence for these two factors. Although human migration has accelerated to unprecedented levels in an era of globalization, migration itself is nothing new in human history nor is language change due to migration. Yet, the similarities and differences between historical and modern-day situations are not often explored. This presentation, thus, contributes to language and migration research by illustrating a historical example of language maintenance in a pre-colonial setting. The presentation will conclude with a brief discussion of the modern-day situation of the language and how it contrasts with the 19th Century situation. The modern-day situation involves a second forced migration of the community as a result of the Somali Civil War, which began in the 1990’s.


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Details

Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Paper)
Creators/Authors:
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Tse, Holmanhbt3@pitt.eduHBT3
Date: 20 November 2013
Date Type: Publication
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Event Title: Migration and Language Conference
Event Dates: 20 November 2013 - 20 November 2013
Event Type: Conference
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Linguistics
Refereed: Yes
Date Deposited: 08 Sep 2015 14:14
Last Modified: 25 Aug 2017 04:59
URI: http://d-scholarship.pitt.edu/id/eprint/26118

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