n African Renaissance - Code-switching as a scaffolding tool : the case of French for beginners at an institution of higher learning - research

Volume 17 Number 1
  • ISSN : 1744-2532
  • E-ISSN: 2516-5305



In most rural and township schools in South Africa, French as an additional language is not encouraged. The language is taught mostly in former model C schools and up-market private institutions of learning. With globalisation and the opening of South Africa’s borders to the international community in general, and Francophone countries in particular, French has become sine qua non, a necessary and important resource in South Africa’s tertiary institutions. The aim of this paper is to examine challenges faced by students taking French as a foreign language at a higher education institution in South Africa. A qualitative approach was used in the study with interview questions distributed to 10 students taking the course at first year level to identify challenges they experience with regard to learning the language and what can be done to address such challenges. The findings revealed that code-switching and code-mixing are necessary resources towards the mastery of the language. It is, therefore, recommended that teachers of French equip themselves with the necessary resources and mastery of other languages spoken in South Africa in order to better teach students at institutions of higher learning in the country. Knowledge of French can equip students to become multilingual and global citizens, which is one of the goals of the introduction of the Bachelor of Arts in Language and Literary Studies programme at this institution of learning.

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