Project B02: Contouring and Blurring of Linguistic Human Categorization

Rwandan or Burundian?

The focus of the project lies on the indication of language borders and national belonging in Central Africa. The colonial demarcation of borders turned two closely-related languages in Rwanda and Burundi into separate linguistic entities. Yet, more recent waves of migrants to neighboring Uganda reveal the actual ambiguity of boundaries between the languages: Whenever needed, these can be accentuated or levelled by speakers – whereafter national borders no longer correlate with creative and hybrid language practices of migrants and transients. The project thus investigates: How do speakers highlight or conceal linguistic difference and which new and fluid affiliations emerge in the process?

Project team
Jun-Prof. Dr. Nico Nassenstein (PI)
Deborah Wockelmann (Research Assistant)