The Effects of Linguistic Ideology of a Colonizing Process in the Politics and Linguistic Planning of Guinea –Bissau


DJAU, Rachido [1], DJAU, Malam [2]

DJAU, Rachido; DJAU, Malam. The Effects of Linguistic Ideology of a Colonizing Process in the Politics and Linguistic Planning of Guinea – Bissau. Multidisciplinary Scientific Journal. Year 03, Ed. 05, Vol. 03, pp. 5-22, May 2018. ISSN:2448-0959


This article aims to discuss the linguistic ideology present in Guiné-Bissau’s linguistic policy and planning[3], considering the ideological effects of a colonizing process, the imposition of linguistic ideas in the metropolis, and a colonizing ideology that interweaves language and nation in a single project. In terms of linguistic demography or its sociolinguistic mosaic, the small country has[4] 1.7 million inhabitants, about 23 languages ​​are spoken, and more than seventeen ethnic groups – a complex reality, unleashing numerous problems for the country (especially for the Guinean subject and for politics and linguistic planning) from the colonial period, spanning the post-colonial period and up to the present day. Thus, it is evident that the principles that guide policy and pluralistic and inclusive linguistic planning (which includes multilingualism) were exclude (as a focus of discussion) in the political agenda of the Guinean nation – state.

KEY WORDS: Linguistic ideology, Language Policy and Planning, Colonial State-nation.



Guinea-Bissau is a country located on the west coast of Africa with a total area of ​​ 36,125km² (COUTO and EMBALÓ, 2010, page 28), and has a population estimated at one million seven hundred thousand inhabitants. The country was a colony of Portugal from the fifteenth century until unilaterally proclaimed its independence, on September 24, 1973, internationally recognized, but with the exception of the Portuguese metropolis. Such recognition on the part of Portugal only came on September 10, 1974 (EMBALÓ, 2008, page 101).

In the colonial period, Guinea-Bissau had considerable sociolinguistic, cultural and ethnic diversity, generating internal contradictions that in principle prevented effective national unity and the immediate emancipation of the Guinean nation under colonial or imperialist yoke.

However, soon after proclamation of independence, due to the resurgence of this diversity and the internal contradictions that the country presented, it was necessary to establish a political project with emphasis on the sovereign autonomy and construction of a national ideal, but the consolidation of this project was limited on the theoretical level, precisely because two central and antagonistic possibilities of the political line to be implanted – the incorporation or imposition of the language of the colonizer (Portuguese language) as the official language and affirmation of the cultural and ethnic sociolinguistic identity of the nation were on the scene.

Thus, by determination of the State, the Portuguese language “spoken by about 10% of the Guinean population” (AUGEL, 1998, page 69) is an official language, taught in schools and prestigious; While Creole[5] and native languages ​​“spoken by about 90% of the population” (Idem) are considered less prestigious languages ​​and without “any” official representation of the State.

In this way, with a status of official language or special status and prestige, the Portuguese language has taken on a prominent place in the sociolinguistic, political, cultural and ethnic scenario of the Guinean nation state, to the detriment of Creole and native languages, thus reproducing linguistic ideology derived from colonial project in the form of nation – state, perpetuating a relationship of power and domination based on a political proposition and unifying linguistic planning that points to formal monolingualism.

As a result, the situation in the country became even more problematic, as evidenced by the proposal for the evaluation of the general performance of schools carried out during a round table discussion in September 1990 at the National Institute of Education Development (INDE). Not of the Creole in schools, that is, the advantages and limitations of using the Creole as a teaching language. Thus, it is perceived that the coexistence of these languages ​​and the State’s determination about their practices directly interfere in the construction of the Guinean subject’s identity, generating interferences / impasses in the construction of policies and linguistic planning for the development of education and the nation in general. This situation has been present since the struggle for national liberation, through the independence of the nation – state to the present day.

Therefore, it is important to emphasize the challenges of this sociolinguistic, cultural and ethnic diversity that the country faces in order to formulate proposals to solve them (finding positive results in line with the concrete reality of the Guineans) – a determining factor not only in the promotion of national culture in general and of literature in particular, but also to appease the contradictions found in the politics and linguistic planning inherent in the development of the nation.


Although the article does not intend to discuss and / or problematize the historicity of the formation of the modern nation – state, but because it is the central question of this work, it is essential to underline theoretical proposals that orient discussion of nation – state, relation of its formation with the colonial process, cultural identity, domination and power, linguistic ideology, and especially its articulation with Guinea – Bissau’s linguistic policy and planning.

Based on the social theories “of anti-positivist vocation, heated in a complex philosophical tradition, phenomenological, interactionist, myth-symbolic, hermeneutic, existentialist, pragmatic” (SANTOS, 2008, Page 68) and contemporary migratory effects in relation to the old colonies, authors[6] linked to post colonialist thought examined not only the social unity imposed by the State, the historical formation of communities, the process of formation of the State and its transformation over time, but also the mismatch between formal institutional policies and social practices which are at the basis of cultural identities.

Thus, with the diversity of reflections around the nation – state, new forms of interpretations of the nation emerged, new uses of the concept of politics (beyond that limited to a single space) disseminated in various informal processes. And the State ceases to be understood as predetermined object, but as an instance inscribed in relations of power established a priori of its existence. In this order of reasoning, the discussion moves on the relation of the nation-state to the (often-antagonistic) groups present within its borders.

Thus, one can perceive coexistence of forms of distinct collective identities alongside the state representations that seek to homogenize the population. According to Frantz Fanon, one of the postcolonial theorists par excellence, “culture escapes any simplification. In its essence, it is in opposition to the custom that is always a deterioration of culture” (FANON, 1979, page 186). Thus, discursively, culture ceases to reflect only a structural condition, but an instance of creation of interests or identities that act dynamically with the political, economic and intellectual dimensions (SAID, 2007, Pages 39-41).

In this sense, although national discourse is essentialising, the nation is configured as a waiting in movement that embraces different cultural manifestations in the same social space, assuming that it reflects hybrid and heterogeneous dimensions, and not by the demarcation of its static borders with expectation of power of certain narratives or power “to prevent the formation and emergence of other narratives” (SAID, 1999, Page 13). Internally, national culture does not express a unity, even more incoherent would be the assumption that it would be unique in relation to what is external to it. Consequently, the problem of the definition of frontiers always translates into random processes of hybridization and new political antagonisms (BABABHA, 1993, page 4). In this way, it is possible to affirm that the space of the nation is not horizontal, that is, it requires a duplication in its writing, that is to say, “a temporality of the representation that moves between cultural formations and social processes without a centered causal logic” (BHABHA, 1994, page 202).

Considering that “national culture is a discourse – a way of constructing meanings that influences and organizes both our actions and our conception of ourselves” (HALL, 1999, Page 50), the nation acquires meaning in this discursive process , and with it national identity becomes legitimized – exactly what Stuart Hall calls “foundational myth” or “imagined community” in the terms of Benedict Anderson (2008) – the result of a series representations of the elements that make up the so-called national culture. Thus, at this juncture, the national narrative seeks to homogenize different forms of discursive representation and / or construction, silencing them in order to allow them to become naturalized – an observation that dialogue with Zygmunt Bauman’s (2003) theoretical proposal. For him, “from the perspective of the culturally unified and homogeneous “Nation State”, culturally unified and homogeneous, the differences of language or custom found in the territory of State jurisdiction were nothing more than relics almost extinct from the past” (Bauman 2003, page 83).

In other words, it is worth to say that the modern nation – state was structured based on a totalizing linearity, in the univocal idea of ​​society and of the unifying memory of culture and identity, thus guaranteeing the annulment of disjunctive or multitemporal times and the homogenization of differences. Thus, according to Cloris Porto Torquato (2010),

Nationalism is a movement that seeks to establish a unity inherent in groups that were not unite before, using as factors of integration to the family ties and the locality. The construction of this unit takes place from a historical authenticity, which emphasizes a sentimental uniformity expressed by the inheritance of long periods (FISHMAN, 1971, 1975 apud TORQUATO, 2010, Page 06).


Before discussing linguistic ideology, it is convenient to sketch theoretical reflections on ideology and its relation to language, that is, how they are interwoven.

Although the concept of ideology embodies a number of different meanings and formulated by different[7] critical theorists. We intend (summarily) to bring to light three great names that postulate important works on ideology, and which present common axes in their propositions:
Bakhtin and his propositions published in Marxism and philosophy of language (2010); John B. Thompson and his explanations expressed in Ideology and modern culture: critical social theory in the era of mass media (2011) and Terry Eagleton in his observations in Ideology: an introduction (1997).

For Bakhtin, the understanding of ideology lies in the domain of language, that is, language is “specific material reality of ideological creation” (Bakhtin, 2010, page 25). In other words, ideology determines language and language is not something outside the semiotic, but intrinsic to it. “The domain of ideology coincides with the domain
of the signs: they are mutually corresponding. Where the sign is, there is also the ideological. Everything that is ideological has a semiotic value. Everything that is ideological has a semiotic value” (BAKHTIN, 2010, pages 32-33).

For him, ideology includes several ideological spheres, which identify areas of human intellectual production: art, science, morality, ethics, philosophy, religion, etc. (Ibid, page 46). Each field of ideological creativity or ideological sphere has specific signs to allude to exteriority and, therefore, a peculiar way of representing and refracting it (Ibid, page 40). In this line of reasoning, Faraco (2003) reinforces the importance of understanding that signs are loaded with ideological values. According to him,

Sometimes the ideological adjective appears as equivalent to axiological. Here it is important to remember that for the Circle [Bakhtin], the signification of utterances always has an evaluative dimension, always expressing an evaluative social position. In this way, any statement is, in the conception of the Circle, always ideological – for them, there is non-ideological statement. In addition, ideological in two senses: any statement occurs in the sphere of one of the ideologies (ie, within one of the areas of human intellectual activity) and always expresses an evaluative position (ie, there is no neutral statement; the rhetoric of neutrality itself is also an axiological position) (FARACO, 2003, Pag. 47).

Based on the critical conception of ideology, Thompson (2011) systematizes the ways in which ideology is present in language and stresses the need to understand ideology by the symbolic forms that, in certain contexts, serve to maintain relations of domination. The author identifies modes of general operations of ideology and relates them (not categorically) to strategies of symbolic construction (Thompson, 2011, pp. 80-81-82). Thus, for him,

Symbolic forms are ideological only as long as they serve to establish and sustain asymmetric relations of power; And it is this activity, at the service of dominant people and groups, that both delimits the phenomena of ideology, giving it specificity and distinguishing it from the circulation of symbolic forms in general, as it gives this conception of proposed ideology a negative meaning (THOMPSON, op cit., Pp. 90-1).

For Terry Eagleton, a critic of Marxism, ideologies have to do with discursive strategies. The author argues that ideology can be verify in the discourses of the oppressors and the oppressed. It is perceive by virtue of context, which encompasses the uses made of language and the interest in maintaining or subverting the existing social structure. In this sense, the author points out:

If every language articulates specific interests, then, apparently, all language would be ideological. However, as we have seen, the classical concept of ideology is by no means confine to “interested discourse” or to the production of persuasive effects. It refers to the way in which interests of a certain kind are masked, rationalized, naturalized, universalized, legitimized in the name of certain forms of political power, and there is much to lose politically when these vital discursive strategies are dissolved into some undifferentiated and amorphous category Of “interests”. (EAGLEATON, 1997, p 178).

Therefore, it is worth emphasizing the central place that the sign occupies in the theoretical formulations of the three authors mentioned above, presupposing the form as verbal material are expressed in the spheres of ideology – what makes possible to perceive the way in which ideology and language are interlaced, that is, association between linguistic process and certain ideological constructions, and mainly to understand the language as an ideologically marked discursive construct.

Thus, in this argumentative line, we can define linguistic ideology as “beliefs, or feelings about the languages ​​as they are used in their social worlds” (KROSKRITY, 2004, page 498 apud MOITA LOPES, 2013, page 20). In other words, according to Irvine and Gal (2000), the linguistic ideology is: the ideas with which participants and observers [linguists, ethnographers, developers of public language policies and curricula for language teaching, etc.] frame their understandings in people, events and activities that are meaningful to them (IRVINE AND GAL, 2000, page 35 apud MOITA LOPES, 2013, Page 20).

Thus, considering that “the colonial era ended two generations ago, but colonialism did not really go away” (ERRONTON, 2008, page 01), the logic of Nation-state (a State, a language and a people) was important to metropolis to process and legitimize colonial projects. In fact, as a practical matter, lines of human difference linked to the difference of language in the “zones of contact[8] have been defined, and language is the central element in the creation of hierarchies, classifications (“what is not quantifiable is scientifically irrelevant” SANTOS, 2008, page 28), appointment, etc. and with it, a relationship of domination and power is established. Thus, based on linguistic anthropology or applied language studies of American sociolinguistic tradition, Woolard (1998) comments:

The assumption that each language should correspond to a nation / people is what underlies these visions: an assumption exported by colonialism in its eagerness to map Africa and other parts of the world according to its economic interests and consequent empires, to who collaborated in what he called the modern linguistic theory. Such a colonialist theorization defined what would count as language and national linguistic identity, often collaborating in the classification of others as human or subhuman (WOOLARD, 1998 apud MOITA LOPES, 2013, pages 21-22).

According to Joseph Errington (2008), all this can be thought of as part of a colonial archive: legacies from very different times and places that differ enormously in their form and content, are scattered throughout much of the world, but which all count as traces of broad projects of power that accelerated and globalized between the sixteenth and twentieth centuries (ERRINGTON, op cit., 2008, page 02).

As a way of reproducing or perpetuating linguistic ideology, colonial linguists, based on the guiding principle of modern linguistics, reduced discussion to writing, captured part of a reality, produced decontextualized theories, and thus aimed at making science or building knowledge in the pattern of a dominant paradigm[9] or Positivist – which by scientific objectivity, emphasizes a watertight separation between theory and practice, and the definition of language as a homogeneous system. According to Errington (op cit.),

Given the difference in language as a fact of life in zones of colonial contact, in all times and places, it is not surprising that colonialists produced texts on languages throughout four centuries, all over the world, or that these texts Now represent a significant part of the colonial archive. It is also intuitively obvious that these types of texts – grammars, dictionaries, world lists, and so on – stand out because of their distinctive modes of organization and content. They count, of course, as accounts of the work that made languages the objects of knowledge, so that their speakers could be made subjects of power (ERRINGTON, op cit., Page 03)


Despite being polysemy and complex, linguistic policy and planning (linguistic practice of state – legislative character and implementation of language decisions through political strategies) can be configured as a theory that seeks to explain the social events triggered by actions on languages or practices policies on the uses of languages, that is, the beliefs and ideologies that affect linguistic uses. Thus, we intend to weave our argumentation based on the theoretical foundations of management of the plurilingualism in Sociolinguistic – a critical introduction of the linguist by Louis Jean Calvet (2002). In his approach, Calvet distinguishes two forms / spheres of management of plurilingualism: in vivo and in vitro

The first sphere, linked to local beliefs and practices, is characterized by the “non-existence” of the intervention of the State, social actors and linguists / technical experts in solving communication problems, that is, the way subjects or groups of speakers solve their linguistic problems “without” having to resort to “any” kind of official linguistic policy and planning of the State in their daily lives; In the second sphere, the resolution of sociolinguistic problems is linked to the normative intervention of the state – legislative character of the social actors and the linguists in the communication of the speakers.

In this way, as explained above (in the introduction, and for more detail, see Djau, 2016 in  sociolinguistics, cultural and ethnic situation in guineabissau and its implication), in the period immediately post-independence, in an attempt to open a broader communication horizon and to bring the Guinean language closer to the scientific universe, taking into account the country’s participation in the international scenario of their relationship with the outside world), political leaders (mainly the  leader of the liberation movement, “father” of the Guinea-Bissau nation, Amilcar Cabral) not only decided openly for the adoption / imposition of Portuguese as the official language of Guinea-Bissau, but also advocated that the Creole serves only as a bridge or a means to learn a Portuguese language and could not express the scientifically constructed knowledge, disregarding that “in synthesis, whether it is nativized Creole or whether it is Creole aportuguesado[10], the only solution for Guinea-Bissau is that nation and community of homogeneous speech is the Creole. Any other solution would be counterproductive” (COUTO and EMBALÓ, op cit., page 232).

In this way, the native languages ​​were leave to the third plane. “Portuguese (language) is one of the best things the Tugas[11] have left us” (CABRAL,1976, page 59) and “many comrades, with opportunist sense, want to go forward with Creole. We will do this, but after we study well. Now our language for writing is Portuguese” (CABRAL, op cit., 61). With this, the Portuguese language began to be taught in schools, used in public institutions of the State and in international forums.

Thus, it can be seen that the design and implementation of political actions on the languages of the country were based on the pattern of the second language policy and planning contemplation proposed by Calvet (2002) above, typical of the narrative construction of a nation-state, unleashing (in the limits of the State) a mismatch between concrete reality (plurilingual and / or multi-ethnic context) of Guineans and linguistic policy and planning established along the lines of the logic of unifying monolingualism, causing linguistic prejudice, legitimation and domination, creating a hierarchy of status ( hierarchical structures defined in social relations through language), oppressive glottophagic tendency, excluding those who are not literate in Portuguese, do not dominate it, and mainly erasing the differences and / or diversities (sociolinguistic, cultural and ethnic) that the country presents.

Thus, “linguistic policies comprise a network of interests that involve not only the global multilingual environment, but also complex relations between languages and power” (SILVA, DIEGO & SANT´ANNA, V. LUCIA, 2012, page 118). Thus, according to Makoni & Meinhof (2006),

In terms of linguistic planning, the proposed solution to “overcome” the large number of “languages” was to advocate the use of a single “European” language as a national language because African policies were based on the politics of a nation, a “language “(KASHOKI, 2003, p, 184-194; BAMGBOSE, 1991, apud MAKONI & MEINHOF, 2006, p, 192).

In the same line of reasoning, it is relevant to point out the observations of the anthropologist TAMBIAH. According to him,

If we consider that many Western theorists and Third World political and intellectual leaders have advocated the idea of the nation-state as the model upon which modernization and economic development must be build, it will be important to look at two things. First, it must not be forgot that the conception of the European Nation State was a historical result of specific events in Europe. The second thing is that the lack of governance and economic development in other countries cannot be resolve by “using” the Nation-State as a formula to solve these problems. This has led many Western and African political theorists, intellectuals, and political leaders to err on the side of trying to impose a historical construction based on the particular nation-state, conceived in a specific and distinct territory, in a dependent world, as if the constitution of the State were a stage to be fulfilled universally (TAMBIAH 1997, Pag 63).

Rajagopalan (2013), within the topic of linguistic policy and paradigms, in the chapter Linguistic policy: What is it about, anyway? He emphasizes the need to understand the linguistic policy in its relation with the agency, that is, with processes that involve choices of subjects in order to interfere in the paradigms established by the status quo in a given society. For him,
Linguistic policy is the art of conducting reflections around specific languages in order to conduct concrete actions of public interest concerning the language (s) that matter to the people of a nation, state or transnational bodies greater (RAJAGOPALAN, op cit., Page 21).

In this sense, under the cloak / umbrella Lusophony, which in search of unity and / or integration among member countries, the CPLP[12] seeks (in the language of multiculturalism) cohesion among Portuguese speakers, slowing down and / or silencing the present conflicts in the organization (Intra / extra community), establishing hierarchy in the heterogeneity present in the same and perpetuating the relation of domination. Of course, in the language of multiculturalism, cultures tend to be define as fixed and essential substances – which makes it impossible to construct “scenarios for the constitution of plural identities” (Duchycky & Skliiar, 2001, page 129). In this way, Tomaz Tadeu da Silva (2002) observes, “in the perspective of diversity, difference and identity tend to be naturalized, crystallized, essentialized” (SILVA, 2002, p. 73). Thus, it is possible to perceive the possibility of circumscribed heterogeneity in homogeneity. According to Thompson (2011), one of the modus operandi of ideology is unification. For the author,

Domination relationships can be established and sustained through building, on the symbolic level, a form of unity that interconnects the individuals in a collective identity, regardless of the differences and divisions that can separate them. A typical strategy through which this mode is express in symbolic forms is the strategy of standardization. Forms symbolic models are adapted to a standard referential, which is propose as a shared and acceptable basis of symbolic exchange. This is a strategy
followed, for example, by the State authorities, which seek to develop a national language, in a context of diverse groups and
linguistically differentiated. The establishment of a national language can serve to create a collective identity between groups and a hierarchy legitimized between languages ​​and dialects within the limits of a nation – state. Another strategy of symbolic construction through which unification can be achieve is what we can describe as the symbolization of unity. This strategy involves the construction of symbols of unity, identity and identification, which are disseminate through a group, or a plurality of groups. Here again, the construction of unit symbols such as flags, national anthems, emblems and inscriptions types are obvious examples. In practice, the symbolization of the unit may be intertwine with the process of narrativization insofar as symbols of unity can be an integral part of the narrative of origins that a shared history and projects a collective destiny. This is very common not only in the case of large-scale social organizations, such as modern nation-states, but also in the case of small organizations and social groups that are maintained and grouped, in part, by a process continuum of symbolic unification, through which a collective identity is created and continually reaffirmed. By uniting individuals in a way that to eliminate differences and divisions, the symbolization of unity can serve, in particular circumstances, to establish and sustain the relation of domination (THOMPSON, 2011, p. 86).

It is also worth arguing that based on the exclusive linguistic policy and planning – which advocates unification and ignores the processes of decolonization and other linguistic varieties (present in that organization), the subjects (of the member countries of the same) and their multiple characteristics (historical and cultural partners) have been reduced (in the centered and / or unified sense), that is, disregarding

A complex reflection on the global reality of man, capable of fully accommodating heterogeneity, plurality, polysemy, multivalence, incessant movement, plasticity, conflict, the ever-present inconclusive – and not volatile exercises of formal monologism that have to the limit of killing the subject in the effort to contain the human homogeneous and rational totality, of imposing order and recalcitrant reality to absolute predictability, stability and closure (FARACO, 2007, page 100).

Therefore, the construction of linguistic knowledge and / or the need to intervene in matters related to language presupposes conducting concrete actions aimed at establishing a discussion of linguistic policy and planning, and its comprehension as a linguistic and linguistic – discursive phenomenon. Paulo Freire, during his visit to the Guinean nation – state, Guinea – Bissau, and working with political actors in the national reconstruction process, comments:

In fact, the process of liberating a people does not take place, in deep and authentic terms, if these people do not regain their word, the right to say it, to “pronounce” and “name” the world. To speak the word as long as it has a voice in the transformation and re-creation of its society: to speak the word while liberating its language from the supremacy of the dominant language of the colonizer (FREIRE, 1977, 145)

In addition, following this argument, Cléo V. Altenhofen emphasizes the need to consider the status of a minority language as dynamic, in favor of a minority language, in the theme that deals with the relationship between linguistic politics and minority languages of the chapter bases for a linguistic politics of minority languages in Brazil. Linguistic policy that prioritizes respect for diversity and plurality. Thus, Altenhofen (2013) points out:

The approach to a linguistic policy directed at these languages thus presupposes that its construction is necessarily plural, because plural are human societies and situations of use of languages. Hence the assumption that a pluralistic linguistic policy implies inclusion and respect for the diversity of languages, not only in order to “guarantee voice” to the different linguistic communities that co-inhabit a given area of legislation, but also, and especially in the sense of “listening” and encouraging plurilingualism as an adequate posture for a “cultural democracy” (ALTENHOFEN, 2013, page 96)

Thus, instead of perpetuating / reproducing understanding of language as a code or a homogeneous entity, it is fundamental to understand it as a sociological, political, ideological and anthropological concept, as Bagno (2013) points out:

The concept of language is and can only be a sociological, anthropological and
political, that is, a concept inseparably intertwined with beliefs, superstitions, value judgments, prejudices, social representations and ideological processes that circulate in a society, including in its academics and scientists (BAGNO, 2013, page. 323).

Faraco, with the same inherent preoccupation with language, confirmed these propositions in Dialogues with Bakhtin (2007). According to him, it is of fundamental importance to sustain linguistic politics based on a Bakhtin conception – that defines language within a life perspective of the users, their values, etc. Considering that, language is relate to life and cannot be define simply in communication, but rather in enunciation (FARACO, 2007, Pag. 104).


Considering the sociolinguistic, cultural and ethnic problems of Guinea – Bissau, it is worth stressing the need to develop a discussion of the educational program, considering that “the “the act of teaching incorporates a situated and contextual action” (ROLDÃO, 2007, pages 94-103 apud XAVIER), which takes into account the complexity of the country, that is, to cultivate sociolinguistic consciousness that involves socio-cultural, political and historical issues crossed by language, and critical awareness about its uses, that is, to discuss them in light of a broader design of pluralistic and inclusive linguistic policy and planning, and especially that it recognizes the ideological forces present in the constitution of discourses or that shape discussion of linguistic phenomena.

Thus, it is also important to emphasize the importance of reviewing or problematizing theoretical constructs based on the polarized diglossal logic, that is, “thinking questions of language beyond the bounds of a dichotomous reasoning” (FARACO, 2007, page 104), which also points to monolingualism – characteristic of colonial epistemic logic that erases differences instead of relating them in a transdisciplinary and intercultural perspective, opening space to promote discussion based on the theoretical presuppositions of critical pedagogy, “which emphasizes the relationship of the word with the world and language with life” (KUMARAVADIVELU, 2006, page 137), presupposing an approach of applied ethnolinguistics (which considers different modes as the linguistic phenomenon is understood), an approach of critical ethnographic nature (with emphasis on linguistic practice in localized contexts).

Thus, it is of great relevance to problematize and / or rediscover the intensification of linguistic policies that support the legitimization of hegemonic languages or to “rethink the question of the legitimacy of language in function of democratic logic” (SIGNORINI, page 169). On the other hand, it is important to recognize not only the interest of inclusive linguistic policy in multilingual / allopathic societies, but also the relation of domination and power inscribed in the intervention on the relation between languages, languages and subjects (not derived in the ideals of modernity) and socially configured uses.


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[1] Researcher in linguistic studies, masters – Federal University of Parana (UFPR)

[2] Master in Political Science – Federal University of Parana (UFPR)

[3] We are assuming an approach to political action on languages ​​using “language policy” and “language planning” interchangeably as Orman (2008) e Djonson (2013): Accordingly, we may view language policy as a combination of linguistic culture and language planning. The terms language policy and language planning though, are unfortunately often used interchangeably with little or no conceptual distinction drawn between the two. What, in fact, turns out to be language planning is frequently referred to as language policy. This is not especially problematic if, as Schiffman (1996:3) notes, language planning is to be the principal expression of the language policy in question (ORMAN, 2008, p. 40); Fishman (1979: 12), have noted the close relationship between status and corpus planning: “[S]tatus planning without concomitant corpus planning runs into a blind alley. Conversely, corpus planning without status planning is a linguistic game, a technical exercise without social consequence” (FISHMAN, 1979, p. 12 apud DJONSON, 2013, p. 28). Language policy is a policy mecanism that impacts the struture, function, use, or aquisition of language and icludes: official regulations – often enacted in the form of written documents, entended to effect some change in the form, function, use, or acquisition of language – which can influence economic, political and educational opportunity (DJONSON, op cit., p. 09).

[4] Data on the country’s demolinguistic reality: available in:, accessed in: 06/08/17.

[5] The language that served as a link between speakers of the various ethnic languages ​​was and continues to be the Creole (COUTO e EMBALÓ, op cit., p. 47).

[6] Nation and national identity in the conception of the following authors: Otto Bauer (2000), Ernest Renan (1997), Homi Bhabha (1998), Benetict Anderson (1989), Partha Catterjee (2000), Stuart Hall (2003), Anthony Smith (2000), Katherine Verdey (2000), Eric J. Hobsbawm (1990), Frantz Fanon (2005), Amílcar Cabral (1982), and others.

[7] See Antoine Louis Claude Destutt de Tracy (1754-1836); Karl Marx (1818-1883); Friedrich Engels (1820-1895); Leandro Konder (2002); Althusser, L. (1976, 1977, 1988), and others.

[8] According to ERRINGTON, J. in Linguistics in a Colonial World: A Story of Language, Meaning, and Power (2008), as a practical matter of fact, zones of contact were defined by lines of human difference bound up with language difference (ERRINGTON, 2008, page 03).

[9] Discussion present in “A discourse on social sciences” from Santos (2008, pages 28, 29, 61, 68, 69)

[10] “Aportuguesado” means Creole variant close to the Portuguese language.

[11] “Tugas” means Portuguese colonizer.

[12] CPLP – Community of Portuguese Speaking Countries


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