Africa's first ever urban and youth language conference was recently hosted by UCT at the Lady Hamilton Hotel in Cape Town. The conference drew together 35 academics from 25 different institutions from three continents - Africa, Europe and North America. A host of interesting research papers were presented, and the one most relevant to the Cape Town context came from the principal organiser of the event, Dr Ellen Hurst, who lectures in UCT's Humanities Education Development Unit. She focused on the ways in which Tsotsitaal use among Capetonians remains 'gendered' rather than neutral, and 'antilanguage' rather than lingua franca. According to the documentation for the conference, "African urban and youth varieties provide striking examples for the investigation of mixing, coinages, syntactic change, lexical innovation and other dynamic language phenomena."
Read more about this topic, and other interesting themes that emerged at the conference, in the upcoming edition of the Monday Monthly out on July 22.
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