Contesting Language Use in the “Wild”: A Critical Study of Multilingualism in Southwest Nigeria

Graduate Student Colloquium

Presenter: Adeola Agoke (Chair: Dr. Katrina Daly Thompson)

Thursday, November 3
Van Hise 1418

 While it is true that linguistic register of formal domains are markedly differentiated from language use in the “wild,” there is need to investigate the interaction of the two domains and the nuanced processes by which speakers select and engage multiple linguistic resources in various contexts. Drawing on Pennycook’s (2001) critical perspective to applied linguistics and Blackledge and Creese’s (2010) research on multilingual schools, my dissertation examines the relationship between Yoruba language use in the social environs and in language classrooms of southwest Nigeria in light of the region’s multilingualism. Existing research has characterized and described Yoruba from the perspective of descriptive and theoretical linguistics but there has been little examination of its use in relation to broader multilingual practices. This gap raises important questions: How do multilingualism and national language policies impact the use of Yoruba in contemporary southwest Nigeria? How do learners and instructors co-construct language use in the Yoruba classroom, and how does classroom use compare to that of other domains? The language policies and overall political and sociolinguistic configurations of southwestern Nigeria offer an ideal research setting for exploring questions of pedagogical practice. In this presentation, I explain the goals of my dissertation project and review the literature on multilingualism in educational context, and the interrelationship of nationalism and language policies. I also discuss my research questions and the methods I will use to address them.