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- Volume 37, Issue 1, 2006
Language Matters : Studies in the Languages of Southern Africa - Volume 37, Issue 1, 2006
Volume 37, Issue 1, 2006
Subordinate immigrant languages and language endangerment : two community studies from KwaZulu-NatalAuthor Rajend MesthrieSource: Language Matters : Studies in the Languages of Southern Africa 37, pp 3 –15 (2006)More Less
This article describes the language dilemmas of forced or semi-forced migrants made to labour in a new territory as they try to integrate into a new territory and gain a stronger economic foothold. Insofar as they are not in control of their socio-political and physical environment, their dilemmas are different from those of indigenous people and of superordinate (colonising) migrant communities. The main focus falls on two sets of such subordinate migrants in KwaZulu-Natal: communities originating from India (i.e., Tamil, Telugu, Bhojpuri-Hindi and Urdu) and from Mozambique (i.e., Makhuwa and Yao). These communities are classified as 'subordinate' insofar as they did not arrive voluntarily in KwaZulu-Natal, but out of the special circumstances arising from indenture and (freedom from) slavery, respectively. These languages are all spoken today, over a century and a quarter after the initial migrations. However, all of them face endangerment (on a local scale) as intergenerational transmission has either ceased or become difficult to achieve with the youngest children. In this process the 'internal' realignments that migrants face and the external realignments from the dominant economy are particularly relevant. There is an increasing 'diffuseness' of the Indian community compared to the still relatively 'focused' interactions of the 'Zanzibari' community in Durban.
Source: Language Matters : Studies in the Languages of Southern Africa 37, pp 16 –43 (2006)More Less
This article reports the results of fifteen randomly selected English lessons (eight in Standard 6; one in Standard 5; and six in Standard 4) observed in primary schools in Botswana. It was hypothesised that pupils had limited opportunities for meaningful verbal interaction in the classroom. Analyses were made on transcribed lesson data to determine the nature of verbal interaction, the questions asked in the classroom, the language error-correction techniques used, and the teaching attributes of the teachers. All these analyses confirmed the hypothesis to be true. The results were then collated and typical characteristics of primary school English language classrooms in Botswana were identified. It appears that an interactive model of pedagogy is, however, still wanting in the English language classrooms, despite the popularity of in-service programmes on communicative teaching for teachers.
Author Themba NgwenyaSource: Language Matters : Studies in the Languages of Southern Africa 37, pp 44 –58 (2006)More Less
Using a control and an experimental group of first-year law students, this study tests the hypothesis that negotiated output / interaction facilitates second language acquisition. Both groups were taught reading, writing and grammar. The only major difference was that whereas the control group was taught through interactively unmodified lessons, the experimental group was taught through interaction-based lessons. A proficiency pre-test on the content that the course was about was administered to both groups at the beginning of the study and a comparable performance post-test at the end. In order to enhance internal validity, both the pretest and post-test were marked by the same evaluator, not the researcher. The results of both tests were compared in order to find out if intervention had had any effect on the subjects' language proficiency. A descriptive comparison of the scores of the two groups indicated that intervention had had an insignificant impact. But a paired t-test showed that there was a significant difference between students' pre-test and post-test scores in essay writing and grammar. The conclusion drawn from these results was that the use of negotiated output can be better facilitated in the teaching of certain language skills than in the teaching of others.
Author Stanley TichapondwaSource: Language Matters : Studies in the Languages of Southern Africa 37, pp 59 –80 (2006)More Less
This article is grounded in the domain of educational linguistics and focuses on oral discourse. Three research questions are addressed:
1. What patterns of interaction currently prevail in the high school classroom?
2. What interaction changes take place in the talk used by teachers and the learner output after raising teacher language awareness?
3. Does negotiation of learning lead to quality output modifications?
The aim is to establish current oracy practices in the classroom, and to consider how best to improve practice so as to achieve learning goals at three levels, namely negotiation of meaning, form and content. The study involved investigation of oracy practices by teachers during first year of high school in a high-density suburb of Harare, Zimbabwe. Nine teachers were sampled for the experiment. Of these, six were taken through a programme aimed at developing teacher metalinguistic awareness, while the other three served as the control group. The principal research methodology was audio-taping of lessons, which were later transcribed for analysis. This was carried out, for both groups, at two stages, that is, before intervention and after, and results compared. Results showed that teachers whose language awareness had been raised, used discourse input more effectively than those not exposed. Similarly, learners whose teachers had enhanced language awareness showed evidence of improved ability to negotiate learning better than counterparts. This led to the conclusion that classroom praxis benefits from a conscious enhancement of oracy, since it leads to effective learning. A key recommendation thus evolved, namely, that developing knowledge about oral interaction improves learning results. Such knowledge is beneficial for teacher education.
Author Albert WeidemanSource: Language Matters : Studies in the Languages of Southern Africa 37, pp 81 –101 (2006)More Less
The Test of Academic Literacy Levels (TALL) used by three South African universities (Pretoria, Stellenbosch and North-West) provides a reliable and affordable alternative means of assessing the academic literacy of new entrants into the higher education sector. A close alignment is sought between the test, the task-based language instruction that follows its administration, and the learning and acquisition aimed for. The article critically examines the construct of the test as well as its task types in light of various current discussions about authenticity. The article is concluded by suggesting a number of possible alternative task types that may achieve a closer alignment with the goals embodied in the construct. Various developmental, contextual, administrative and logistical constraints appear, however, to affect the level of resemblance to academic discourse of the test task types.
Source: Language Matters : Studies in the Languages of Southern Africa 37, pp 102 –117 (2006)More Less
The languages created for use in science fiction and fantasy literature constitute an interesting subcategory of artificial language. This article explores the nature of these languages by examining three fictional languages: The Old Tongue, Quenya, a dialect of Elvish, and Klingon. Crystal (1997a, 29) identifies four categories of artificial languages in terms of the purposes they serve: international languages, programming languages, artificial intelligence (AI) languages and simplified languages. This article proposes a fifth category for fictional languages on the grounds of their pluridimensional function. Their primary function is to help to create a fictional world. On the one hand, they function as devices which aid the creation of a fictional world of which they form an integral part. On the other hand they function within that imaginary world, forming a sociolinguistic context within which group and individual identities can be created.
Language decline and death in Africa : Causes, consequences and challenges, Herman M. Batibo : book reviewAuthor Sozinho MatsinheSource: Language Matters : Studies in the Languages of Southern Africa 37, pp 118 –121 (2006)More Less