n South African Journal of Higher Education - An argument for integrating language or language-related skills in the accounting curriculum

Volume 19, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 1011-3487



Language service courses at South African tertiary institutions are nothing new. However, traditional perspectives on the nature and purposes of these courses have been challenged. One of these challenges is the view that the language (discourse) of the subject cannot be taught in external language courses for academic or even specific purposes, but that subject specialists need to do this teaching. This paper reports on an investigation into language as a contributory factor to academic failure amongst first-year Accounting students at the University of Port Elizabeth, to provide some empirical support for this view. The results of the investigation indicated that students' problems are in most cases related to conceptualisation. This indeed implies language, given its fundamental facilitating role in all higherorder cognition, but it is suggested that the most appropriate form of remedial support may be neither a course in English for academic purposes, nor even English for Accounting specifically, but rather some form of team teaching that involves both language teachers and subject specialists.

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