Language in The Gambia Reading Group

The Language in The Gambia Virtual Reading Group is a community of students, scholars and members of the general public interested in finding out more about how languages are used to communicate in The Gambia (e.g. the characteristics of diglossia, translanguaging practices and language contact in the country) and the working of these languages (e.g. their grammatical features, sentence prosody, and orthography development). We meet regularly for an hour to discuss advanced research articles related to these topics. The Gambia is well known for its linguistic diversity. English, the official language, co-exists with around a dozen other languages. Seven of these are indigenous to, or widely spoken in, The Gambia, and are often called ‘national languages’: Fula, Jola, Mandinka, Manjaku, Serahule, Serer or Wolof.

In October 2022, we will introduce the Language in The Gambia Conversation Series. This will complement the Language in The Gambia Virtual Reading Group by foregrounding valuable expertise in languages in The Gambia that lies outside of published academic work. The Language in the Gambia Conversation Series will bring together a wide range of speakers with expertise in using language in The Gambia: policy makers, educators, translators, members of the general public, etc. Each speaker will share their personal experience of using language in The Gambia. Talks will notably explore how The Gambia’s languages were once used to teach all subjects in primary school, the development of the orthography of Gambian languages, how Gambian languages can be used to facilitate inclusive education and much more. The format of each talk in this conversation series is as follows:

  1. we release a video of the speaker’s talk in advance of the discussion (if you would like to be added to our mailing list or WhatsApp group to be notified please use the Contact us form on the Multilingual Education in The Gambia platform).
  2. we organise an online discussion where the speaker will address questions from the live audience

If you would like to present as part of our Language in The Gambia Conversation Series, please send us an email through the Contact us form on the Multilingual Education in The Gambia platform. Please note that if necessary, we can assist you with the recording of your talk and Internet access (in The Gambia) on the day of your live session.

Who can attend the reading group meetings and discussions organised as part of the conversation series?

In keeping with the ethos of the Multilingual Education in The Gambia platform, our reading group and conversation series are open to everyone: students, members of the general public, scholars and others interested in finding out more about how languages are used to communicate in The Gambia. In other words, ANYONE with an interest in how language is (or has been) used in The Gambia is welcome to attend and attendance is FREE.

Organisers 

The Language in The Gambia Virtual Reading Group and Conversation Series are an initiative led by Dr Clyde Ancarno (King’s College London) in collaboration with Lamin Demba (Lecturer in Literature and English at the University of The Gambia) and Lamin O. Ceesay (former teacher who completed his BA in Development Studies at the University of The Gambia). The discussions will be facilitated by the organisers and/or guests. We are open to discussing articles ready for submission to relevant academic/professional journals. If you would like us to include your article as part of our reading list please use the Contact us form.