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ERIC Number: EJ1046080
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2014
Pages: 12
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 49
ISSN: ISSN-1367-0050
The (Dis)ownership of English: Language and Identity Construction among Zulu Students at the University of KwaZulu-Natal
Parmegiani, Andrea
International Journal of Bilingual Education and Bilingualism, v17 n6 p683-694 2014
This paper explores the role English and isiZulu play in the identity construction of a group of black South African university students from disadvantaged backgrounds enrolled in a bridge programme at the University of KwaZulu-Natal. I will discuss how, in post-apartheid South Africa, language practices continue to foster inequality, despite a constitution that grants official status to 11 languages. Attitudes towards language in South Africa are extremely complex. While native speakers of African languages tend to be highly invested in their mother tongues as markers of identities and carriers of traditional culture, they often oppose policies aimed at promoting a greater use of their mother tongue in domains of power, especially in education. I will unravel some of these complexities by adopting a theoretical framework that draws on post-modern, feminist and post-colonial conceptions of identity to examine students' discourses about the ownership of English. These discourses reveal that while there is consensus among students that their mother tongue is a fundamental part of who they are, positions vary greatly with respect to the role English can play in the identity construction of a native isiZulu speaker. Nevertheless, even the students who strongly reject the possibility of ever owning any other language besides their mother tongue, stake a collective claim to English as "everybody's language" and as agents in the nation-building process that characterises post-apartheid South Africa.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: South Africa