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Linguistic Diversity and Social Justice

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Language Evolution: The Windows Approach

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Academic Paper


Title: With English the world is more open to you’ – language shift as marker of social transformation
Author: Christine Anthonissen
Email: click here TO access email
Homepage: http://academic.sun.ac.za/linguist/indeks_eng.htm
Institution: Stellenbosch University
Linguistic Field: Sociolinguistics
Abstract: This article gives an appraisal of bilingualism in Afrikaans and English among the Cape ‘Coloured’ community and of shifting patterns within it. It has become customary to use quotation marks around the term Coloured and lower case to signal that this and other race-based terms are contested ones in South Africa (see Erasmus, 2001; Ruiters, 2009). On the advice of the ET editor for this issue, however, I will use the term with the capital and without quotation marks, since he argues – conversely – that the use of lower case and scare quotes in print can also be misconstrued as disrespect for a community. In this community it appears that a shift is underway from Afrikaans as first and as home language to English as the dominant family language. However, this shift does not follow a straightforward linear trajectory, and while some speakers appear to have abandoned Afrikaans in favour of English, in many families the language has not been jettisoned. Before citing studies that explore this complexity, including current work by the author, it is necessary to give a brief overview of the background to Afrikaans and English in South Africa and their place in the country's overall multilingualism.

CUP AT LINGUIST

This article appears IN English Today Vol. 29, Issue 1, which you can READ on Cambridge's site or on LINGUIST .



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