A Grammatical Study of the Youth Language Yanké
University of Cologne
The present study of Yanké, the Lingala-based urban youth language spoken in Kinshasa (DR Congo), aims at analyzing both the identity construction of Yanké speakers – who are mostly street children, street vendors and Kolúna gangsters –, as well as their phonological, morphological and semantic strategies of linguistic manipulation.
Unlike other urban African youth languages such as Sheng, Nouchi or Tsotsitaal, Yanké has not yet been documented or described extensively according to its deviating social, lexical and grammatical frame. The sociolinguistic analysis comprises insights into the creation of a new urban youth identity, societal and also young speakers' perceptions of linguistic prestige, language attitudes as well as the general theoretical study of youths' social practices. The grammatical study offers an analysis of sociophonological deviation, deliberate as well as arbitrary morphological changes and an overview of semantic change and manipulations. A collection of Yanké dialogues, texts as well as a comprehensive Yanké dictionary complete the current study of Kinshasa's new urban language. The present analysis of Yanké demonstrates the linguistic mechanisms found in ephemeral linguistic codes emerging in urban Africa, emphasizing the fact that these languages deserve full academic attention.
ISBN 9783862885428. LINCOM Studies in African Linguistics 90. 173pp. 2014.