chapter  10
Orthography, Standardization, and Register
The Case of Manding
ByColeman Donaldson
Pages 25

In this chapter, I develop a framework for taking into account not only the technical side of orthography, but also its language ideological component as manifest in the practices and commentaries of individuals. Drawing on historical and ethnographic data collected since 2011, and using a lens built from the perspectives of linguistic anthropology and New Literacy Studies, I focus on the competing post-independence initiatives behind N’ko-, Arabic- and Latin-based Manding orthographies in West Africa. Ultimately, I demonstrate how the success of orthographic development and standardization efforts often—independent from questions of linguistic accuracy—hinge on cultivating locally salient models of usage amongst speakers and writers.