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Communicatie in Afrika



Languages and cultures use verbal as well as on-verbal means in distinct ways to communicate. The aim of this course is to expose students to communicative practices and indigenous theories of communicating in Africa and exploring their linguistic and cultural motivations. The discussion will be framed iwithin intercultural pragmatics and ethnography of communication approaches to the study of communication. Ethnography of communication is the study of patterns of language use and communicative interaction, and of their relationships to other aspects of the socio-cultural contexts in which the communication takes place. Students will also be introduced to the methods used, theories tested and insights developed by practitioners of these approaches in a wide variety of settings from around Africa. Topics to be addressed include: communicative styles, ways of speaking, speech events, discourse routines of naming, addressing, greeting, parting, thanking, sympathising and showing respect; indirection strategies such as proverbs, euphemisms, allusions and the role of intermediaries such as griots in communication. Traditional and modern modes of mass communication: gong-gong; drum, horn and surrogate speech; telecommunications and visual media, computers and the internet. Cross-cultural communication and core cultural values will also be examined.

Objectives The students will become acquainted with the methods of research and the theories of ethnography of communication and cross-cultural pragmatics and their applications in different contexts in Africa.



Mode of instruction

Lecture and Work Group.

Course Load

Total: 140h (5 EC)
Seminars: 26h
Exam: 2h
Literature: 112h

Assessment method

Written exam.
Resit: written exam



Reading list


Readings will be taken from:

  • Bowe, Heather & Kylie, Martin 2007. Communication across cultures: mutual understanding in a global world. Cambridge University Press.

  • Webb, Vic and Kembo-Sure (eds) 2000 African Voices: an introduction to the languages and linguistics of Africa. Cape Town: Oxford University Press Southern Africa (Chapters 10 and 11)

  • Saville-Troike, M., 2003. The Ethnography of Communication: An Introduction. Oxford: Blackwell. (third edition)

  • Other readings will be assigned in class.


Registration via uSis

Registration A la carte and contractonderwijs

Registration A la Carte.
Registration Contractonderwijs.


Dr. F.K. Ameka