Language attitudes, genre and culture capital : a case study of EAL students' access to a foundation course in the Humanities at UCT

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

This dissertation explores the extent to which language and genre can be used to facilitate access for a group of first year students who have English as an additional language in the Humanities at the University of Cape Town enrolled in a foundation course. The use of the genre of the praise poem in the curriculum is used as a case study to address how the cultural capital that this group of students bring with them can be validated, the main aim being to facilitate access to the curriculum. In exploring students' attitudes to language and genre, data were collected mainly through the use of two questionnaires and interviews, where a qualitative analysis was done by drawing up the main themes which emerged and exploring the implications of these themes for the research question. The questionnaires aimed at identifying students' language preferences for academic writing (the choice being between their respective primary languages and English). The second questionnaire addresses the genre issue more closely by extending the question to include students' attitudes towards praise poetry while the first questionnaire asks about language preference in general. The second part of the research process deals with interviews, which I conducted with three of the students. The interviews were conducted with the aim of addressing the issues that emerged from the questionnaires; issues that I felt needed to be explored further in an interview context.

Bibliography: leaves 72-75.