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oa Litnet Akademies : 'n Joernaal vir die Geesteswetenskappe, Natuurwetenskappe, Regte en Godsdienswetenskappe - 'n Kritiek op 'n normatiewe vergelyking van die 2003- en 2011-weergawes van die South African Languages Bill aan die hand van sosiolinguistiese beginsels van taalwetgewing : geesteswetenskappe

 

Abstract

Die hersiene weergawe van die South African Languages Bill wat sedert Julie 2011 in omloop en gedurende Oktober 2011 vir openbare kommentaar in die gepubliseer is, het heelwat negatiewe reaksies ontlok, reeds voor die openbare verhoor daaroor wat die Parlementêre Portefeuljekomitee vir Kuns en Kultuur gedurende Januarie 2012 gehou het. Kritici bevind onder meer dat dit 'n afgewaterde weergawe van sy voorganger is, dat dit nie voldoen aan die Grondwet se vereistes nie en dat dit eintlik nie daarin gaan slaag om Engelse eentaligheid hok te slaan nie. Hierdie afleidings spruit voort uit 'n vergelyking wat met die 2003-weergawe gemaak word en wat laasgenoemde as 'n beter wetsontwerp voorhou. Maar is die 2003-weergawe werklik 'n beter wetsontwerp en sy 2011-opvolger by implikasie dan 'n slegter ontwerp? Die kernvraag wat dus in hierdie artikel aan die orde kom, is hoe om taalwette te kan vergelyk sonder om noodwendig normatief te werk te gaan. Op sterkte van die sosiolinguistiese beginsels van taalwetgewing word 'n meetinstrument ontwikkel om sodanige vergelyking te kan maak. Hierdie instrument word dan getoets aan die hand van vier modeltaalwette. 'n Meting van die 2003-wetsontwerp lê dan 'n aantal inherente leemtes in die ontwerp self bloot wat ernstige vrae oor sy normatiewe waarde aan die orde stel. Die 2011-taalwetsontwerp word aan dieselfde meting onderwerp. Dit stel die ontleder in staat om 'n rasionele vergelyking tussen die twee weergawes te maak sonder om normatief te werk te gaan. Die vergelyking bring onder meer aan die lig dat die 2011-wetsontwerp in wese 'n volledig ander tipe wetsmaatreël veronderstel. Daar word bevind dat dit in werklikheid nie as nasionale taalwet getakseer behoort te word nie, maar eerder as 'n soort administratiewe taalwettipe en selfs as 'n taalskema. Hierdie bevinding hou implikasies in vir die verdere gesprek oor die South African Languages Bill wat ontleders kan help om die regte vrae te stel en gepaste voorstelle te kan maak.


The revised version of the South African Languages Bill (SALB II), which has been in circulation since July 2011 and which was gazetted in October 2011 for comments by the public, has thus far elicited mainly negative responses, even since before the hearing of the Portfolio Committee: Arts and Culture on the bill during January 2011. Critics of the Bill have concluded, inter alia, that it is merely a watered-down version of its predecessor; that it does not fulfil the requirements of the Constitution; and that it is not likely to succeed in actually reducing English monolingualism. These conjectures have arisen from comparisons between the new bill and its 2003 version (SALB I), on the basis of which the latter is being touted by critics as the better bill. But is the 2003 version really the better of the two - and is its 2011 successor, by implication, really inferior by comparison? The core question forming the focus of this article, therefore, is that of how language laws can be compared without necessarily adopting a normative approach in order to achieve this. A measuring instrument based on the typology of sociolinguistic principles of language legislation (Du Plessis 2010) is proposed to make such a comparison possible.
This focus of the article is specifically on (national) language laws. A language law is defined as a specific form of language legislation that is entirely devoted to rules about the status and use of designated languages within a polity, usually in an official capacity. This article departs from the distinction made in the literature on language legislation between institutionalising and normalising language legislation, the first being legislation that is directed at ensuring the presence of designated languages in core domains of language use (legislation, administration, judiciary and education) and the second being legislation directed at optimising the extension of use of designated languages in these and other domains of language use (Williams 2008). Language legislation in the first category can institutionalise official bilingualism or multilingualism, such as in the case of India's The Official Languages Act and Canada's Official Languages Act, or official monolingualism, such as in the case of Ukraine's On Languages in the Ukrainian Soviet Socialist Republic and Estonia's Language Act. Language legislation in the second category can normalise a designated language within a multilingual dispensation and is actually intended to advance the use of such a language, usually a national minority language or a disadvantaged national language. Quebec's Charte de la langue française and the Welsh Language Act in Wales are typical examples of such legislation. Whereas the aforementioned act can be classified as more promotional in character, we can see the latter as more corrective in nature.

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/content/litnet/9/2/EJC125896
2012-08-01
2016-12-06
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