Fiona McLaughlin F'08

Fiona  McLaughlin
University of Florida

ACLS Fellowship Program 2008
Associate Professor
African and Asian Languages and Literatures, and Linguistics
University of Florida
Dakar Wolof: The Language of an African City

African languages often have urban variants that show evidence of contact with a former European colonial language. The topic of this study is Dakar Wolof, an urban variety of Wolof spoken in Senegal that differs from its rural counterparts by extensive lexical borrowing from French. Based on data gathered in Dakar in 2005 and 2006 and historical sources, the project contributes to an understanding of how speakers create language in situations of contact by providing an extensive description of the grammar of Dakar Wolof. It also considers how language both shapes and is shaped by its social context over time and space. The empirical case study provides the basis for theoretical arguments that the individual linguistic repertoire deserves a central place as an object of linguistic study.