Diasporic Second Language Englishes in the African Communities of Germany’s Ruhr Area


  •  Christiane Meierkord    
  •  Bridget Fonkeu    
  •  Eva Zumhasch    

Abstract

The Ruhr Area is a metropolitan area located in the federal state of North Rhine-Westfalia in Germany. The region, which has a long history of migration and multilingualism, has recently attracted growing numbers of individuals who bring second language varieties of English to the area, which originate from postcolonial countries in Asia, on the African continent, or on the Indian subcontinent. African communities in particular form close-knit networks in the diaspora and engage in numerous associations, whilst at the same time maintaining ties with their original home countries. Their Englishes, both standardised and pidginised, which developed as a result of language contact in the respective home countries, are subject to a secondary language contact with German, resulting in further language change.

This paper describes the sociolinguistics of the various communities, before it documents the African communities’ language preferences and discusses how the Englishes spoken in one individual community, Cameroon English and Cameroon Pidgin English, adapt in the new linguistic ecology. It argues that such diasporic Englishes pose important new territory for the study of English and offer opportunities to extend traditional frameworks towards integrating present-day societies’ realities.



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