Linguistic Identity in Postcolonial Mozambique - with a focus on education

Emilie Dyrvig Hellesøe, Katrine Hejslet Larsen, Vár Gregersen, Rasmus Rasmussen Harsbo & Katrine Cacoline Hoandi T. Vigne

Studenteropgave: Semesterprojekt


This project aims to analyse how the presence of national languages in the traditionally Portuguese instructed Mozambican educational system influence the pupils’ linguistic identity. Furthermore, it discusses the role of languages in society and whether or not mother tongue-based bilingual education can be seen as a decolonising initiative. This may not seem very problematic at first glance, but if one is to look closer at this, one will realise that this contains several issues including: the concept of mother tongue, the linguistic difference between the urban and rural areas and the aspect of decolonisation. When these tie together, they make the problematised question of language hierarchy, which is investigated in this project. This investigation is carried out using theories on the concept of Mother Tongue by Tove Skutnabb-Kangas, Linguistic Identity by Eric A. Anchimbe, Nativisation by Gregório Firmino and Decolonisation by Ngũgĩ wa Thiong’o. The project is designed so the reader first will gain background knowledge of Mozambique and the educational situation of the country. After this the different theories are presented, which is used in the analysis and finally debated in the discussion of whether the implementation of the national languages in the traditional Portuguese instructed educational system can be seen as a decolonising initiative. The conclusion of this project stays two faceted, as it in a compressed form, can be seen as a decolonising initiative as well as, on the contrary, a way of enhancing the competence of Portuguese and thus is a considered preference of Portuguese legacy. In that sense if one can accept bilingual education as a step closer to the breaking of the linguistic hierarchy inherited from the colonial era it can be considered to be a decolonising initiative in spite of its limitations and in comparison with the monolingual education. If not, it is merely another inclination to uphold the colonial language and what comes with it.

UddannelserBasis - International Humanistisk Bacheloruddannelse, (Bachelor uddannelse) Basis
Udgivelsesdato16 dec. 2014
VejledereZoran Lee Pecic


  • Mozambique
  • Decolonisation
  • Education
  • Multilingalism
  • Postcolonialism
  • Linguistic Identity