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Does colonialism have an impact on the current language situation in Sub-Saharan Africa?

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  • Buzasi, Katalin

Abstract

Recent studies show that colonization and ethnolinguistic fragmentation have relevant long-lasting impacts on ex-colonies and might explain development and underdevelopment of different parts of the world. The aim of this paper is to connect these two strands of the literature to some extent by investigating the effect of colonizer’s identity on the current language situation in Sub-Saharan Africa. To establish the relationship between colonization and linguistic circumstances we conduct basic statistical analysis at the country level and more detailed econometric analyses at the level of individuals. The variable of interest is the Communication Potential Index (CPI) which reflects the probability that two randomly selected people in a society can communicate based on commonly spoken languages. Basic observations at the country level and multilevel analysis at the individual level suggest that current linguistic situation measured with the CPI cannot be explained by the identity of the colonizer.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 42791.

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Date of creation: 22 Nov 2012
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Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:42791

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Keywords: Sub-Saharan Africa; language; communication potential; colonialism; multi-level regression analysis;

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