The fruits of the tree of knowledge: Power versus pollution in official attitudes towards African vernaculars in Southern Rhodesia, 1890-1933

Jeater, Diana
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Unlike French colonial administrations, British colonisers did not attempt to impose their language on those they colonised. Instead, they charged their administrators with a duty to learn the local vernaculars. In regions where there were few white settlers, this was a fairly straightforward exercise. Southern Rhodesia, however, was a 'settler society'. The debate about the usefulness for ordinary white settlers of speaking local languages was also a debate about the risks and the benefits of different policies for controlling the African communities. The question of how far the state should encourage a broad knowledge of the vernaculars amongst various sections of the white communities was fundamentally a question of how power could best be exercised.
African Studies Seminar series. Paper presented 22 May, 1995
Language policy. Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe. Languages. Political aspects