Language and social services in rural North West : the status of Setswana

Nkashe, Esther (2012) Language and social services in rural North West : the status of Setswana. Masters thesis, Rhodes University.

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Abstract

This study seeks to support the thesis that African indigenous languages in South Africa should enjoy equal treatment in terms of the South African Constitution. Therefore, it will explore and find ways and means of how the South African government can reach out to rural communities with inadequate English proficiency, in an English-dominated South Africa, by breaking down the existing language barriers and curbing social inequalities. Language rights, like any other human rights, should be protected, as enshrined in the new democratic Constitution of South Africa. The dissemination of most information in South Africa is through English. This poses a serious problem, since information that is written in English is only accessible to people that are proficient in this language. Lo Bianco (1996) asserts that people acquire knowledge more effectively if the knowledge is presented to them in a language that they know. According to Ngcobo (2009:116), studies have focused on recommendations on how South Africa can address the challenge of providing information to South Africans. This thesis seeks to unpack what is actually happening in particular rural areas regarding this challenge. Ngcobo further emphasises that the issue is not only provision of information, but also access to the information. He further points out that information may relate to overall policies, procedures, what services are provided for whom, how to access these services, who to contact for urgent help or when things go wrong, and various other matters that may be of interest to members of the public. South Africa is a multilingual country, and Lo Bianco (1996) maintains that servicing a multilingual population through one language is inefficient, ineffective, and sometimes dangerous. Robinson (1992:29) asserts that a language belongs to a speech community, both as a means of communication and as an identifying feature. Both these concepts (communication and identity) are central to intervention, particularly where participation of the people is promoted. This thesis argues that language is also an essential element of any strategy of communication. This thesis suggests that a language may be marginalised from the process of communication for purposes of development by those in authority, and this lack of concern with language may indicate and accompany marginalisation of the people from the process of development itself.

Item Type:Thesis (Masters)
Uncontrolled Keywords:Tswana, Language policy, Linguistic rights, South Africa, North-West, Minorities, Multiculturalism, Setswana
Subjects: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, R.H.
ID Code:3102
Deposited By: Ms Chantel Clack
Deposited On:11 Jul 2012 06:12
Last Modified:11 Jul 2012 06:12
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