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The origins of Belgian colonial language policies in the Congo

Michael Meeuwis UGent (2011) LANGUAGE MATTERS. 42(2). p.190-206
abstract
The literature on colonial policies in general acknowledges that, for its colonisation of the Congo, Belgium sided with England and Germany in opting for a policy of adaptationism (indirect rule), rather than for assimilationism, which was espoused by France and Portugal in their African possessions. However, the juncture in history at which, the reasons why and the ideological backgrounds against which the Belgian authorities decided on this are not well understood. This contribution traces how, in the decades prior to 1918, Belgians in the Congo combined principles of indirect rule at the level of the political, administrative and judicial organisation of the colony with assimilationist tenets in the domains of language and culture. After World War I this changed dramatically, as the Minister of Colonies, Louis Franck, brought Belgium's indigenous policy fully and irreversibly in line with an encompassing application of adaptationism. This article also shows that adaptationism in the Belgian Congo was never applied to its fullest consequences and implications, but always involved a management of, and active interventions into, the pre-colonial linguistic and cultural diversity it was ostensibly supposed to cherish and defend.
Please use this url to cite or link to this publication:
author
organization
year
type
journalArticle (original)
publication status
published
subject
keyword
African languages, Belgian Congo, colonisation, Louis Franck, language policy
journal title
LANGUAGE MATTERS
Lang. Matters
volume
42
issue
2
pages
190 - 206
Web of Science type
Article
Web of Science id
000299279200003
JCR category
LINGUISTICS
JCR impact factor
0.226 (2011)
JCR rank
116/158 (2011)
JCR quartile
3 (2011)
ISSN
1022-8195
DOI
10.1080/10228195.2011.571704
language
English
UGent publication?
yes
classification
A1
copyright statement
I have transferred the copyright for this publication to the publisher
id
1970305
handle
http://hdl.handle.net/1854/LU-1970305
date created
2011-12-20 09:11:19
date last changed
2015-06-17 09:53:11
@article{1970305,
  abstract     = {The literature on colonial policies in general acknowledges that, for its colonisation of the Congo, Belgium sided with England and Germany in opting for a policy of adaptationism (indirect rule), rather than for assimilationism, which was espoused by France and Portugal in their African possessions. However, the juncture in history at which, the reasons why and the ideological backgrounds against which the Belgian authorities decided on this are not well understood. This contribution traces how, in the decades prior to 1918, Belgians in the Congo combined principles of indirect rule at the level of the political, administrative and judicial organisation of the colony with assimilationist tenets in the domains of language and culture. After World War I this changed dramatically, as the Minister of Colonies, Louis Franck, brought Belgium's indigenous policy fully and irreversibly in line with an encompassing application of adaptationism. This article also shows that adaptationism in the Belgian Congo was never applied to its fullest consequences and implications, but always involved a management of, and active interventions into, the pre-colonial linguistic and cultural diversity it was ostensibly supposed to cherish and defend.},
  author       = {Meeuwis, Michael},
  issn         = {1022-8195},
  journal      = {LANGUAGE MATTERS},
  keyword      = {African languages,Belgian Congo,colonisation,Louis Franck,language policy},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {2},
  pages        = {190--206},
  title        = {The origins of Belgian colonial language policies in the Congo},
  url          = {http://dx.doi.org/10.1080/10228195.2011.571704},
  volume       = {42},
  year         = {2011},
}

Chicago
Meeuwis, Michael. 2011. “The Origins of Belgian Colonial Language Policies in the Congo.” Language Matters 42 (2): 190–206.
APA
Meeuwis, M. (2011). The origins of Belgian colonial language policies in the Congo. LANGUAGE MATTERS, 42(2), 190–206.
Vancouver
1.
Meeuwis M. The origins of Belgian colonial language policies in the Congo. LANGUAGE MATTERS. 2011;42(2):190–206.
MLA
Meeuwis, Michael. “The Origins of Belgian Colonial Language Policies in the Congo.” LANGUAGE MATTERS 42.2 (2011): 190–206. Print.