Sango, a homogenous language with religiolectal and sociolectal varieties

Authors

  • Helma Pasch University of Cologne

DOI:

https://doi.org/10.1558/sols.38790

Keywords:

religiolects, oral and written medium, standard Sango, common Sango, Sango Godobé

Abstract

The article tackles the development of varieties of Sango. The language developed following the scramble for the area on both sides of the Ubangi river. Its development and expansion was enhanced by French colonial administration and Christian missions. From the beginning of colonisation it functioned as a means of communication all over UbangiShari between Europeans, their non-local auxiliaries and the local population. Its use as a vehicular made the language very homogenous. When Catholic and Protestant missionaries separately reduced Sango to writing and published religious and educational texts, written varieties developed, which show clear religiolectal features. The vernacularisation of the language in Bangui was accompanied by socio-economic and educational stratification which led to the emergence of three varieties: Common Sango, the language used for everyday communication; Standard Sango, an idealised form of the language; and SangoGodobé, a low-prestige variety.

Author Biography

Helma Pasch, University of Cologne

Helma Pasch studied African linguistics, anthropology, geography and phonetics in Marburg and Cologne (Germany). She teaches regularly in Cologne, Turin and Kisangani (DRC) and is founder and co-editor of Afrikanistik-AegyptologieOnline. She specialised in noun-class languages (Mba-languages and Zande) and in African based contact languages (Sango). She does research on Zande, African contact languages, in particular Sango, gender studies, youth languages and modern African scripts, with a focus on Mandombe. 

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Published

2020-12-16

How to Cite

Pasch, H. (2020). Sango, a homogenous language with religiolectal and sociolectal varieties. Sociolinguistic Studies, 14(3), 277–298. https://doi.org/10.1558/sols.38790