Multilingualism Essay

1083 Words 4 Pages
The Republic of South Africa, according to its first democratic constitution, officially speaks 11 languages, of which there are two West-Germanic languages (Afrikaans and English), and nine Bantu languages (isiNdebele, Sesotho, Sepedi, Setswana, siSwati, Tshivenda, Xitsonga, isiXhosa and isiZulu). Due to such diversity, South Africa represents a highly valuable source of information for studying the phenomenon of multilingualism. The essay will first focus on South Africa’s peculiar historical background, which formed the contemporary linguistic landscape. Then it will discuss the interaction between languages in South Africa with an emphasis on English and its place in the South African society. Lastly, the opinion will be stated in regards …show more content…
Some, including Kamwangamalu (2003, p 226), strongly believe that the language shift towards English puts in danger the existence of indigenous African languages which are not on par with English and Afrikaans. On the other hand, Pozel and Zeller (2015, p.367-368), argue that the percentage of South African population whose L1 is English is still negligibly small in comparison with the combined number of Bantu languages speakers, which is equals to 95.1 per cent. And even if we take into account the increasing tendency to bilingualism in the South African provinces, there is still no substantial reason to claim that multilingualism there is in danger. With each province speaking one of native African languages and either English and/or Afrikaans, South Africa preserves its linguistic diversity. It is also crucial to mention that South African’s government is trying to popularize the use of Bantu languages and have been introducing multiple initiatives in the education realm (Posel and Zeller 2015, p. 358). As an interim result, the “cultural capital” of Bantu languages, which has been almost lost during the apartheid era, is now

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