Language and value: towards accepting a richer linguistic ecology for South Africa

Wright, L.S. (2004) Language and value: towards accepting a richer linguistic ecology for South Africa. Language Problems and Language Planning, 28 (2). pp. 175-197. ISSN 0272-2690



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Language policy debate is often obscured by two factors: failure to acknowledge different time-frames attending contrasting positions, and failure to recognise that ordinary people are motivated by their perceived best interests in the present. This article argues that the key to more general public acceptance of linguistic ecological diversity in South Africa is to shift the emphasis from policy development to practical language cultivation issues. Provide the requisite cultivation support, and acceptance of a revitalised future for African languages becomes more assured. It should also be understood that the modernisation of African languages in South Africa has a political dimension concerning which South African language commentators are strangely silent. This political thrust may not be entirely congruent with the concerns of those whose brief for African languages is primarily cultural or ecological – if, indeed, they are even aware of it. Finally, it needs to be recognised that language development under conditions of controlled influence, as in the civil service or schooling, is potentially achievable (with whatever difficulty), but that this must be complemented by authentic contemporary intellectual work published in African languages if the linguistic dimension of the African Renaissance is to take off.

Item Type:Article
Uncontrolled Keywords:language policy, language policies; South Africa; elite closure; colonial language ecologies; African languages; previously marginalised languages; PMLs; language development, language planning, instrumentality, sequencing, Western Cape, language in education policy, school language policy, language development under controlled conditions
Subjects:Y Unknown > Subjects to be assigned
Divisions:Research Institutes and Units > Institute for the Study of English in Africa (ISEA)
ID Code:1181
Deposited By: Prof Laurence Wright
Deposited On:06 Oct 2008
Last Modified:06 Jan 2012 16:19
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