[lg policy] Row Erupts over South African Language Policy

Harold Schiffman hfsclpp at GMAIL.COM
Thu Jan 19 17:30:18 UTC 2012

Row Erupts over South African Language Policy

The current South African
language<http://www.translatemedia.com/languages.html>policy is
holding children back, according to several MPs and members of
the public who met in Cape Town. Now, this issue has been placed before the
National Assembly’s arts and culture committee who will review the proposed
South African language bill.

The latest draft has been criticised by representatives of linguistic,
cultural and academic organisations, who all insist that the bill has
fallen short of the government’s obligation to “take practical and positive
measures to elevate the status and advance the use of (indigenous
languages)”, and to ensure the 11 official languages enjoyed “parity of
esteem” and were “treated equitably”.

A strong plea for the introduction of mother-tongue education was made by
singer Sumphiwe Dana. She argued that it was unfair to expect children to
learn in a foreign language. Dana added that children, who were able to
express themselves freely in their own language, became seemingly “stupid”
when required to speak another.

“I think we are doing our children – and our country – a huge disservice by
continuing to uphold English as the main language of instruction in
schools,” Dana told the Cape Times.


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