Conflict, mobility and language: The case of migrant Hadjaraye of Guera to neighboring regions of Chari-Baguirmi and Salamat (Chad)

Seminar date: 
10 November 2008
Speaker(s): Dr. Khalil Alio (University of N'Djamena)

The people of Guera, known as Hadjaraye, have experienced all the atrocities of war and the sufferings of drought. Even though the Hadjaraye used to practice traditional migration during calm and peaceful times, another form of migration has been imposed upon them by these circumstances. Research results suggest that while social integration is successful due to the common lingua franca the host and migrant communities share, the future of the mother tongues of the immigrants is at stake, because they will be spoken at home only. So, even though at an initial stage they are spoken, in the end they will be gradually abandoned, not in favor of the host regions languages, but in favor of the Chadian Arabic which is the lingua franca in Chad. Linguistic borrowing, bilingualism, code mixing, code switching are the results stemming from the language contacts. However this depends largely on the attitude of the migrant community, which is highly influenced by the context of insecurity (war and drought). This actually seems to indicate that the immigrants are not likely to pass on their languages to the next generations in the distant future.