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

TitleConflict, mobility and language : the case of migrant Hadjaraye of Guéra to neighboring regions of Chari-Baguirmi and Salamat (Chad)
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsK. Alio
Series titleASC working paper
Date Published2008///
PublisherAfrican Studies Centre
Place PublishedLeiden
Publication Languageeng

The people of Guéra known as Hadjaraye (from Arabic: the mountain dwellers) have experienced all the atrocities of war and the sufferings of drought that caused them to emigrate. In the early 1970, the ecological conditions worsened and changed for ever, giving way to cyclic droughts which resulted in chronic famine in the years 1973-1974 and 1984-1985. During the same decade the civil war gained a foothold in this area and ravaged it. Even though the Hadjaraye used to practice traditional migration during peaceful times, another form of migration has been imposed upon them by the new circumstances. A massive outflow of population ensued. Waves of Hadjaraye started moving from one place to another within the Guéra region itself, as well as outside the region and the country. - This constant mobility will definitely yield social as well as cultural and linguistic effects. The study investigates language attitude among the Hadjaraye migrants of the Guéra region in the two neighboring regions of Chari-Baguirmi and Salamat in Chad. - 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 in a reduced circle, namely 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 also the lingua franca in Chad. Linguistic borrowing, bilingualism, code mixing, code switching are the results stemming from these language contacts. However this depends largely on the attitude of the migrant community. This actually seems to indicate that the immigrants are not likely to pass on their languages to the next generations in the distant future. The ultimate outcome will be the loss of language which will inevitably lead to the loss of identity of the migrants.

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