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<email@example.com> Atieno Odhiambo's reaction to my tentative suggestion underscores the importance of clarity of expression. I advanced the phrase "countries that use English/..." with the thought that this got one step away from the implications of "English/...-speaking or Anglophone/... countries" in the African context, but he read it differently: >Donald Osborn's sugestion that we should be referring to ourselves as >"countries that speak English/Portuguese/French"/WHATEVER as my students >would say, misses a lot that has been going on on the ground in Africa, at >least for the last two centuries. Let me speak of only what I know. In fact I think I was working from much the same perspective that Prof. Odhiambo elaborated on. I'm sorry that I did not make my point more clearly. Several people noted the distinction between official (former colonial) languages and local/national languages. Perhaps, as per Vladimir Zamparoni's note concerning PALOPs (Paises Africanos de Lingua Oficial Portuguesa, or, in English, "African Countries of Portuguese Official Language"), it might be more accurate to refer to countries as having English/French/... as the/a official language. In my opinion, this is not attempting to "banish the colonial heritage" (Mark Bearn) and is different from merely changing names to something more "politically correct" (John Philips); rather I see it is an effort to find a more accurate way of referring to the linguistic configuration of contemporary Africa. No one, I think, would deny the importance of former colonial now official languages in Africa (at least on certain levels), or the distinctions between former British and French colonies. These languages have a certain utility not only in government and education, but also in other aspects of society, having to varying degrees taken on lives of their own on the continent. Nevertheless, they are second (third...) languages for the overwhelming majority of Africans who speak them, many or most Africans do not speak them, and apparently many people who do speak them opt not to do so when they have the option to use an African language. Part of the problem with use of Anglophone/Francophone/... and English- /French-/...-speaking is that these terms are also applied to countries or areas in Europe, the Americas, and Australasia where these languages are the maternal languages of the vast majority of the populations. To refer to say France or Quebec as Francophone is to say something different than to speak of Cote d'Ivoire or the larger part of Cameroon as Francophone. It would seem to be difficult to acknowledge the significant differences between the linguistic situations in the former two and latter two cases while continuing to use the same term for both. As for Prof. Odhiambo's mention of Pres. Museveni's reference to "Bantuphone" and Fiona McLaughlin's use of "Fulaphone," I'm not sure that broad use of such terms is well advised either. The problems with Bantuphone were touched on by Mr. Bearn. As for Fulaphone, I've also used this term, but with a very localized reference to specific areas or communities where Fula is the dominant language. One might speak of a Fulaphone "archipelago" across the Sahel (and also into Guinea) and increasingly spreading southward, but I personally would not refer to the West African Sahel as Fulaphone any more than Francophone -- it is neither, both, and more. Perhaps it is not so much a question of banishing terms like Anglophone from discussions on Africa, but limiting their use to specific contexts and situations which they describe accurately, and finding other ways of describing broad spans of the continent in terms of language use.