[lg policy] Colloquium on the South African Languages Bill to be promulgated: “A Language Act for South Africa? Principles, viability and practice”

Chrismi Kotze KotzeCR at UFS.AC.ZA
Fri Mar 2 07:54:13 UTC 2012


Colloquium on the South African Languages Bill to be promulgated:
“A Language Act for South Africa?  Principles, viability and practice”
Wednesday, June 27th, 10:30-13:00 at the University of the Free State, Bloemfontein
According to the Court Order issued by Judge R. du Plessis in the case of Cornelus Johannes Alexander Lourens vs. Die President van die Republiek van Suid-Afrika e.a. 2010 [Cornelus Johannes Alexander Lourens vs The President of the Republic of South Africa and others 2010], the national government is bound to fulfil its constitutional obligation, as ordered by the Court, namely to regulate and monitor the use of official languages through legislative and other measures.  In terms of the obligation imposed by the Court, the order had to be carried out within two years, or the Department responsible for the relevant line function in this case, namely the Department of Arts and Culture, had to at least ensure that it was complied with.  The designated date in this regard was 14 March 2012.  Up to this point, the government has indeed complied.  The latest version of the South African Languages Bill, 2011 (SALB) was already finalised during June 2011, and was further scheduled for finalisation by the Portfolio Committee: Arts and Culture by 14 February 2012, with a view to its submission to Parliament.  The latter process followed in the wake of a widely publicised process of public hearings on 16 and 17 January 2012.  One of the most significant – and also the most controversial – proposals of the current bill is the broadening of the current obligation, which makes provision for two languages, to a three-language obligation, which would entail the addition of at least one African language to the current formula.  The languages bill also contains other important provisions regarding the institution of language units, which hold various implications for the public service, and particularly for language practitioners. 
Since most of the discussions on the SALB have been somewhat emotional in character up to this point, and since the contributions rendered in this regard have mostly been made by language interest groups, it is essential that the languages bill should also be considered from a scientific angle. The proposed colloquium, which would take place during the LSSA/SAALA/SAALT Congress (25-29 June 2012, Bloemfontein) (http://conferences.ufs.ac.za/default.aspx?DCode=714), envisages the creation of such a forum. Issues such as the nature of language legislation and national language acts, theoretical views on language legislation as a mechanism of language policy and as a form of language intervention, the necessity (or otherwise) of language legislation, the role that such legislation could (and should) play in South Africa, the viability and suitability of a South African language act, as well as the linguistic culture within which such a language act should be put into execution, will be discussed, inter alia.  Prominent language experts, as well as legal experts, will be the targeted participants in the colloquium, and will be recruited by the convenor.  Open recruitment via the existing channels is also not ruled out. 
In order to place the colloquium in its proper contextual setting, an endeavour will also be made to involve some of the main role-players in the current debate, including the Department of Arts and Culture, the concerned Portfolio Committee, as well as the original litigant, Mr Cerneels Lourens. 
You are invited to submit a proposal to the convenor by March 16th.
Proposed convenor: Prof. L.T. du Plessis, Department of Language Management and Language Practice, UFS; E-mail address: dplesslt at ufs.ac.za

Chrismi-Rinda Kotze
Assistant Researcher: Language Management and Language Practice
Assistent Navorser: Taalbestuur en Taalpraktyk
PO Box / Posbus 339, Bloemfontein 9300, Republic of South Africa / Republiek van Suid-Afrika
 051 401 2476
 KotzeCR at ufs.ac.za
www.ufs.ac.za
_____________________________________________________________________

University of the Free State: This message and its contents are subject to a disclaimer. 
Please refer to  http://www.ufs.ac.za/disclaimer for full details. 

Universiteit van die Vrystaat: 
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Volledige besonderhede is by http://www.ufs.ac.za/vrywaring  beskikbaar. 
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