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(Re)structuring structures, speech and selves: Yoruba language learning and redevelopment in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil

Washington, Adrienne Ronee (2016) (Re)structuring structures, speech and selves: Yoruba language learning and redevelopment in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil. Doctoral Dissertation, University of Pittsburgh. (Unpublished)

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This dissertation investigates the redevelopment of Yoruba as a curricular language in Salvador da Bahia, Brazil, and the sociohistorical and cultural dimensions of its changing form and function by drawing from the literatures on language contact and the sociosemiotics of language. Centrally, this dissertation clarifies that what drives the local study and sociolinguistic status of these linguistic practices are the social values that Yoruba carries in Salvador according to local cultural schemas.

In four studies, I explore the social and historical significances attached to Yoruba linguistic forms (within local cultural schemas) in northeastern Brazil and how these socially significant language practices often serve as sites for the materialization and negotiation of cultural ideas, particularly notions about personhood (race, heritage, nation). As part of my exploration of the cultural schemas (or Yoruba language ideologies) that shape and are shaped by the local patterns and practice of Yoruba language in Salvador, I examine how these language ideologies manifest or materialize through discursive practices at different levels of the local Yoruba language learning enterprise. That is, through the distribution of Yoruba learning and the types of students (academic, career, heritage, and religious learners), the language-learning motivational orientations and perceived values attached to Yoruba learning, the evaluations of teaching and the notions of expertise or teaching qualification, and the institutions and linguistic forms or skill sets involved in teaching Yoruba.

This dissertation highlights the impact of language ideologies and social context on language learning and teaching as well as language use overall, with theoretical implications for language learning and pedagogy research and language studies more generally. It contributes new scientific data on the sociolinguistic situation of Yoruba linguistic practices in Brazil, highlighting Yoruba’s functional expansion from a liturgical to a curricular language. The dissertation also demonstrates an alternate language contact trajectory and unconventional language practices overlooked by extant scholarship. It invites linguists to reframe discussions of the sociolinguistic situation of post-plantation, post-colonial societies, moving beyond a notion of “outcomes” as the endpoint and to instead embrace ever-evolving language contact situations shaped by ever-changing cultural assumptions about language in relation to society.


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Item Type: University of Pittsburgh ETD
Status: Unpublished
CreatorsEmailPitt UsernameORCID
Washington, Adrienne
ETD Committee:
TitleMemberEmail AddressPitt UsernameORCID
Committee ChairGooden, Shelome A.sgooden@pitt.eduSGOODEN
Committee MemberKiesling, Scott F.kiesling@pitt.eduKIESLING0000-0003-4954-1038
Committee MemberBrown, Laura C.l.c.brown@pitt.eduLCB32
Committee MemberOjo, Akinloye
Date: 15 June 2016
Date Type: Publication
Defense Date: 30 March 2016
Approval Date: 15 June 2016
Submission Date: 14 April 2016
Access Restriction: No restriction; Release the ETD for access worldwide immediately.
Number of Pages: 353
Institution: University of Pittsburgh
Schools and Programs: Dietrich School of Arts and Sciences > Linguistics
Degree: PhD - Doctor of Philosophy
Thesis Type: Doctoral Dissertation
Refereed: Yes
Uncontrolled Keywords: Yoruba, sociolinguistics, language contact, language learning, language ideologies, language redevelopment, language change, Afro-Latin, Brazil
Date Deposited: 15 Jun 2016 21:46
Last Modified: 15 Nov 2016 14:32


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