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ERIC Number: ED444151
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1999-Jul
Pages: 18
Abstractor: N/A
English Unassailable but Unattainable: The Dilemma of Language Policy in South African Education.
Alexander, Neville
This paper considers the concept of English as a global language in the context of South African educational policy. The paper first notes that the richer a country is the more possible it is for the rulers to take the social costs of language policy into account, i.e., the Netherlands and Canada can spend vast sums on different aspects of language policy, especially on the learning of foreign languages and on the accommodation of the languages of immigrant minorities, whereas most African countries are constrained to implement language in education policies that might seem irrational. It points out that for reasons that have to do with the modalities of colonial oppression in the 19th and 20th centuries, it seemed as though every newly independent African state was doomed to take the same language policy detour by accepting in practice the primacy of the ex-colonial language. It also discusses the existence of what has been called the "ESL industry" and its marginalizing effects on the African languages and the consequent disempowerment of the speakers of those languages. The paper then concentrates on the new language policy in education in South Africa and discusses the dilemmas and the problems to which this has given rise. It states that the most important features of the policy in regard to language medium is its commitment to an additive bilingualism approach as the desirable norm in all South African schools. The paper discusses the implications of this policy in detail. (Contains 31 references.) (NKA)
Individual papers available online at
Publication Type: Opinion Papers; Speeches/Meeting Papers
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Africa