The development of isiZulu as an academic language for the teaching of fundamental concepts in economics

Makhatini, Freedom Nkanyiso (2012) The development of isiZulu as an academic language for the teaching of fundamental concepts in economics. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.




This thesis looks at language as the medium of all our ideas and sentiments. The thesis represents a position statement regarding the development of isiZulu as an academic language. The field of Economics is used to merely illustrate and support the points that are being made in this work. It is argued that each language is viewed as the means of expression of the cultural heritage of its people, and it remains a reflection of cultural groups who speak that particular language. It is a fact that indigenous African Languages have been, for obvious reasons, blatantly understudied during the apartheid years in South Africa (Rudwick 2004). Languages have market value and the desirability of English as the most important global language today has an effect in most Black learners in South Africa. The study examined the development of indigenous African languages, isiZulu in particular, in Zululand University where ninety percent of students and lecturers are isiZulu first language speakers, and came to a conclusion that there is an urgent need for Black South African students to learn academic subjects through their mother tongues. This would help them in thorough understanding and interpretation of analytic text presented in a foreign language such as English. The study advocates that isiZulu, which is the mother-tongue of many students at the University of Zululand, should be a language for upward mobility to these students, but as the situation stands, isiZulu becomes a neglected or marginalised language since it is not the normal medium of instruction and it is not used for effective communication in their education system. It is noted in this thesis that teaching through an African language produces equality of learning, whereas using a foreign language as the measure of status and as a medium of education harms the learner’s cognitive development for further progress in life. Education enables all persons to participate effectively in a free society, promote understanding, tolerance and friendship among all nations and all racial, ethnic or religious groups, and this happens through languages which the mass population understands the most. However, with the death and disappearance of such a language, a unique unit in our knowledge and understanding of human thought and world-view is lost forever (Wurm 2001). This study looked at the development of isiZulu as an academic language for the teaching of fundamental concepts in economics from a position statement point of view. The inadequate use of mother tongue in tertiary institutions of higher learning causes mental deficit and inadequate cognition to learners who are not at ‘home’ with English language.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Language, isiZulu, Global, Development, Avademic, Economics, Cultural heritage, Groups, Zululand University, First language speakers, Instruction, Communication, Education system, Tertiary education, Cognitive development
Subjects:L Education > LB Theory and practice of education
L Education > LB Theory and practice of education > LB2300 Higher Education
P Language and Literature > PL Languages and literatures of Africa, Eastern Asia, Oceania > African languages and literature
Divisions:Faculty > Faculty of Humanities > School of Languages
Supervisors:Kaschula, Russell H. and Nkomo, Dion
ID Code:3037
Deposited By: Philip Clarke
Deposited On:26 Jun 2012 10:25
Last Modified:26 Jun 2012 10:25
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