Vol. 58 No. 4 (2010)
Research Article

Language Planning, Language Ideology and Entextualization: War Naming Practices

Published 2010-12-01





This article examines the relationship between language and war by investigating naming practices through three prisms: language planning, language ideology and entextualization. The article focuses on names assigned to combatants during the War of Liberation for Zimbabwe's independence. In African cultures, names often address a kaleidoscope of issues which may include the collective history and life experiences of the individual name bearer and the people surrounding him or her. In most African contexts changes in an individual's personal circumstances are marked by a name change, which suggests that names are variable and are not immutable. Entering the guerilla movement in Zimbabwe was a significant transformation which, in accordance with African cultural practices, required a new name to be assigned to signify the entry into a new phase of life. The names assigned reflect a “discourse” about the hopes and aspirations of the combatants. However, it appears that the underlying principles of naming in war are not significantly different from those during peacetime. In addition, war naming practices have implications for language planning from below, language ideologies and entextualization.


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