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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Language Use in the Negotiation of Linguistic and Cultural Knowledge and the Sustenance of Online Diasporic Relations


With ongoing immigration patterns, the movement of people has also meant the spread of languages. Mungaka, an indigenous language spoken in Bali, Cameroon has moved to domains beyond its borders due to such migration patterns. Mbonbani is an online forum created to maintain communication between those who moved away and those who stayed. This study investigates language use and ideologies as manifested on this online forum and seeks to find out the following: •How does language use in an online diasporic e-group mediate culture and sustain relations between the Diaspora and the home country? •How do diasporic communities maintain an awareness of the linguistic and cultural knowledge within the structures of such dislocation? •What role does information technology play in the preservation of these diasporic relations? I look at language use on Mbonbani to underscore how the Internet allows a linguistic space where participants appropriate new technologies to advance and enhance cultural traditions. I highlight how a multiplicity of languages is used to co-create indigenous knowledge through the construction and deconstruction of meaning.

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