Language Policy

, Volume 10, Issue 1, pp 1–18 | Cite as

The Naivasha language policy: the language of politics and the politics of language in the Sudan

  • Ashraf Kamal Abdelhay
  • Busi Makoni
  • Sinfree Bullock Makoni
Original Paper


This article provides a textual analysis of the Naivasha language provisions in Sudan in an attempt to explore how political discourse is manifested in each policy statement. Using Critical Discourse Analysis (CDA) as an analytic and interpretive framework, the article argues that the Naivasha language provisions as political discourse are shaped by the historically mediated relationships between the south and north of Sudan (conceptualized as the territorially united entity before the secession of the south in 2011). In the course of the analysis, the article shows that the discourse of ‘linguistic indigenousness’ promoted by the policy is ideologically motivated. It is intertextual with the colonial Southern Policy and subsequently the discourse of self-determination as legislated in the Comprehensive Peace Agreement of 2005 that has recently heralded the emergence of the southern Sudan as a new nation-state. The analysis has shown that there is a high degree of compatibility between the proposed structural system and the discourse of the language policy. This compatibility is achieved at the status planning level, yet its realization at the practical level remains to be assessed. The article concludes by arguing that a particular version of federalism seems to be the most appropriate political system advocated for in the implementation of this language policy.


Naivasha language policy Federalism Language rights Politics of language Identity Ideology 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Ashraf Kamal Abdelhay
    • 1
  • Busi Makoni
    • 2
  • Sinfree Bullock Makoni
    • 2
  1. 1.Clare Hall CollegeUniversity of CambridgeCambridgeUK
  2. 2.Department of Applied Linguistics and African & African American Studies, College of the Liberal ArtsPennsylvania State UniversityState CollegeUSA

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