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How Traditions Live and Die

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The Acquisition of Heritage Languages

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"This work centres on the grammatical development of the heritage language and the language learning trajectory of heritage speakers, synthesizing recent experimental research."


Academic Paper


Title: 'Death of the mother tongue' – is English a glottophagic language in South Africa?
Author: Rajend Mesthrie
Institution: University of Cape Town
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics
Subject Language: English
Abstract: This article reflects on the spread of English in South Africa, especially in the wake of the large-scale changes following the collapse of apartheid in the early 1990s. These changes allowed freer mixing of young South Africans of all backgrounds than had been hitherto possible in a segregated society. In particular, schools formerly reserved for Whites, opened their doors to initially small, then increasing numbers of pupils from other race groups: viz. Black, Coloured and Indian (this group is sometimes described as black in the general sense, in lower case, or non-whites in former apartheid-speak). The term Coloured in South Africa denotes communities of multiple ancestry, whose background encompasses the now obsolescent indigenous Khoe-San languages of the country as well as Bantu, European and Asian languages.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN English Today Vol. 24, Issue 2, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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