n Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe - Eerste taal as onderrigmedium in hoër onderwys : 'n Internasionale perspektief

Volume 56 Number 4-1
  • ISSN : 0041-4751



The purpose of this article is to illuminate the issue of home language as a language of learning and teaching (LOLT) at university level in South Africa, in view of international historical and comparative perspectives. According to widely accepted hypotheses, formal educational institutions evolved because of political and economic considerations. Although such views are reductionistic in that they do not paint the full picture, they contain a modicum of truth and provide some insight into the issue of LOLT in educational settings. Central governments have always showed a tendency to use education as an instrument for legitimising their own existence and for maintaining the integrity of the state (in the 18th century, for example). Very few minority languages have so far succeeded in acquiring LOLT status with the approval and support of national governments, despite rhetoric about the importance of multiculturalism and adherence to human rights manifesto's. French in Canada (both within and outside of Quebec) and Afrikaans in South Africa are being considered as exceptions to this rule.

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