Underlying ideologies of language medium policies in multilingual societies with particular reference to Southern Africa

Master Thesis


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University of Cape Town

Colonisation has left Africa with a collection of multilingual states· whose physical lines of demarcation bear little relation to linguistic or cultural boundaries. Furthermore, the colonial period has left behind it a legacy of the colonial languages. As these states gained independence, the new political hierarchy has defined its language policy in accordance with its political ideology. This dissertation has been set out to examine the effects of the political ideology behind language medium choice during the British colonial rule in selected African states, on that which followed after independence. Secondly, there has been an attempt· to investigate possible connective links in the language policies of independent states on those of states which gain later independence. This has been undertaken with the aim of building up a set of criteria which might make it feasible to make certain predictions for the likely course of language policy in a future Namibia and South Africa. The question of instruction through the medium of the mother tongue as opposed to the arguments in favour of instruction through the medium of a language of wider communication (English in most cases here) is addressed. The role and nature of nationalism as the most significant political ideology of post-colonial African states i.s explored in as far as it determines language choice.

Bibliography: pages 305-319.