Language as a ‘resource’ in South Africa: the economic life of language in a globalising society

Wright, L.S. (2002) Language as a ‘resource’ in South Africa: the economic life of language in a globalising society. English Academy Review, 19 (1). pp. 2-19. ISSN 1013-1752



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We need to develop a much more refined and specific understanding of what is meant when people refer to language is a ‘resource’. If something can accurately be described as a resource, then by its very nature it carries with it or attracts, at least in potential, the social motivation associated with the utilization, development or exploitation of that resource. This is strikingly true where language is the resource in question, because language is so intimately bound up with human activity. Where it exists, such social motivation can be augmented and supported so as to realize the ends of language policy. Contrastingly, where it is seen that social motivation informing a particular language situation is at odds with the intent of language policy, then either implementation must retreat and move to other arenas, other points of influence, where intervention can be more effective, or those charged with implementation must resign themselves to costly and messy efforts to force unwanted change through legal authority.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:language planning; language policy; language attitudes; social motivation; economic value; marginal utility of languages; post-colonial linguistic ecology; post-colonialism; post-liberalisation; multilingualism; South Africa
Subjects:Y Unknown > Subjects to be assigned
Divisions:Research Institutes and Units > Institute for the Study of English in Africa (ISEA)
ID Code:1104
Deposited By: Prof Laurence Wright
Deposited On:29 Sep 2008
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:19
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