oa Alternation - Ethnolinguistic vitality in KwaZulu-Natal

Volume 11, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1023-1757



In this paper, the framework of ethnolinguistic vitality (Giles, Bourhis & Taylor 1977) is applied to the sociolinguistic situation in contemporary KwaZulu-Natal, with the focus on the numerically most dominant ethnolinguistic group in the province, isiZulu mother-tongue (L1) speakers. Howard Giles, one of the pioneers in research on the social-psychological aspects of language and ethnic identity, attempted with this framework inter alia to evaluate and systematize the factors that contribute to language contact phenomena such as language shift, language maintenance and ethnolinguistic group behaviour in multilingual settings1. Essentially it is argued that ethnolinguistic ingroup/outgroup strength has an effect on group cohesion and language maintenance. This strength is called ethnolinguistic vitality and has been defined as ' ... that what makes a group likely to behave as a distinctive and active collective entity in intergroup situations' (Giles et at. 1977).

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