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Africa’s Linguistic Diversity goes Largely Unnoticed in Research on Multilingualism

The problem is that much of the published research about multilingualism is not conducted in the world’s most multilingual societies. For example, the African continent is home to some of the most multilingual countries in the world. Cameroon has a population of around 27 million people; over 250 different languages are spoken as first languages, often alongside English and French or both. Studies of African multilingual contexts are almost non-existent in high-impact scientific journals, however. This matters because it is research published in these journals that receives the most attention globally and is therefore most likely to shape people’s understanding of multilingualism.