Online Multilingualism in African Written Conversations

Local, Global Identity and Alignment

  • Carmen Pérez-Sabater Universitat Politècnica de València
  • Ginette Maguelouk-Moffo Universitat Politècnica de València
Keywords: identity;, language mixing;, code-switching;, social media;, multilingual texts;, football;, indigenous Cameroonian languages;, politeness


The objective of this research is to analyse current written practices within the global South. Specifically, we examine language mixing phenomena in written online texts publicly displayed on the official Facebook page of one of the two most important football players in the history of Cameroon, Samuel Eto’o. By means of a quantitative and languaging analysis proposed by Androutsopoulos (2014), we see that indigenous Cameroonian languages are now being written in public spaces. Instances of lexical items in these languages are sometimes inserted in Facebook comments to establish local/national identity, to emphasise the fact that the player is a Cameroonian. However, Cameroonian national identity still is usually constructed through the exclusive use of English and French. Interestingly, the study shows that code-switching (CS) to a particular language may function as a distancing technique, an impoliteness strategy towards the player.