So Many Languages to Choose from: Heritage Languages and the African Diaspora

  • James KigamwaEmail author
Reference work entry
Part of the Springer International Handbooks of Education book series (SIHE)


This chapter highlights the difficulties inherent in defining heritage languages for immigrant Africans in the various African diasporas and provides key arguments in favor of coalescing efforts for immigrant heritage language development in the diaspora around a few African national languages, rather than the many indigenous African languages. It also provides key considerations, including the influence of language use in the immigrants’ home countries, on diaspora language use, language competence, home language practice by families, assimilative narratives that oppose linguistic diversity, and the availability of linguistic resources, such as books, that would support heritage language development. Recommendations and possible solutions for surmounting some of these challenges are also provided.


Heritage language Bilingual African immigrants African diaspora Postcolonial Language policy 


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© Springer International Publishing AG 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.School of EducationIndiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI)IndianapolisUSA

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