How the English language influenced African literature.

Essay by lolly007College, UndergraduateA-, October 2005

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The use of the English language plays a crucial and dominant role in African literature. In contemporary African literature the use of English is often the key element for success as an African writer. This enables them to express their views across a larger area of today's global world. However writing in English instead of their native tongues may come at a high price for these African writers. By them replacing their native languages with English could eventually lead to the eradication of their native tongues. The aim of this essay is to address the following key elements which influence the role of English in African literature. Colonization played a leading role in placing English at the forefront of African literature. English can be viewed as a 'necessary evil', especially by most of those African writers who did not inherit the English language.

The English language forms the core of African literature, throughout most parts of Africa.

This is often evident in our everyday experiences. For example, the majority of the educational institutes in Africa, use English as a medium for engaging in learning activities. English has long been the language of politics. Furthermore, in the media and in literature, English is clearly the dominant language.

In order for us to gain an understanding as to why English is the dominate language in African literature we need to address the main factor which has placed English at the centre of African literature. The effects of colonialism had the most influence over this situation.

In 1884, Europe divided the African countries into separate colonies and 'shaped' the African nations under their colonial powers. These separate colonies were classified according to the languages of Europe, English- speaking, Portuguese-speaking and French-speaking African countries.

Colonialism controlled and limited the...