In the field of language and education, Senegal and the Gambia exemplify many of the problems facing sub-Saharan Africa. The area is arbitrarily divided by different official languages, which cut across a common and highly complex ethno-linguistic heritage. \ud The thesis examines ways in which the governments and peoples of Senegal and the Gambia have adopted differing policies and practices to meet these problems. An appraisal is made of how far the use of English and French, as languages of wider communication between these two African states, reflects the overall international function of these languages. The vital role of indigenous languages is considered, particularly \\'here these serve to link peoples divided by national boundaries and colonial experience.\ud The historical background to the formulation of government language policies introduces the first part of the thesis. Current policy statements relating to official, foreign, classical and local language teaching within the formal educational systems provide a basis for comparing Senegalese and Gambian strategies. Extensive reference is made to official speeches and to interviews with leading government representatives. \ud The second part of the thesis investigates how far language usage fluctuates according to the types and levels of contact between Senegalese and Gambian informants. This is designed to ascertain the degree to which the status, occupation, education or ethno-cultural ties of those interviewed determine language usage in contact between Senegal and the Gambia. Government archives and traditional oral sources have been consulted, as well as secondary historical, sociological and political materials, in order to assess patterns of language usage within the socio-cultural context of Senegambia.\ud The thesis thus considers the inter-relationship between language policy and language usage in communication between two neighbouring west African states Language choice emerges as being governed by principles of flexibility and expedience. The status of English and French is shown to be changing as local languages of wide r communication assume greater significance. Their monopoly of formal situations is revealed as no longer absolute, as new linguistic priorities evolve empirically towards less hierarchical solutions. \u
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