On p. 90 of The Language of Postcolonial Literatures, there is a quotation by Achebe which states that "A language spoken by Africans on African soil, a language in which Africans write, justifies itself [as an African language]." It is interesting that Achebe puts his point subtly here. As you can see in the final sentence of the quotation on the page, "as an African language" is not actually stated. The phrase is ellipted, and could be retrieved from the earlier part of the quotation, when he asks the question, "what is a non-African language?" It is interesting that he gives a positive reply to this question, but does not answer it clearly. Achebe's view on the legitimacy of the use of English for the writing of African literatures is of course famously contrasted with the view of Ngũgĩ, a topic which is also mentioned in the book (pp. 93-4, 156). What is noteworthy here is the fact that although he is an advocate of the use of English for African literature, he does not want to assert his position too strongly.

Would you like to share your view on Achebe's position on the writing of African literature in English?

— Ismail S. Talib

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