NotesFAQContact Us
Search Tips
Peer reviewed Peer reviewed
Direct linkDirect link
ERIC Number: EJ969622
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2012
Pages: 15
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 37
ISSN: ISSN-0790-8318
"I Use My Mother Tongue at Home and with Friends--Not in School!" Multilingualism and Identity in Rural Kenya
Spernes, Kari
Language, Culture and Curriculum, v25 n2 p189-203 2012
The present paper investigates students' experiences of being multilingual. Qualitative data have been collected during observation, focus groups, interviews and text writing in a public primary school in rural Kenya. The informants are students in standards one, three and eight whose mother tongue is the indigenous language called Nandi, which all these students use at home and with friends. The school languages are Swahili and English, and the use of Nandi is forbidden in school except in mother-tongue lessons in standards one to three. The aim of the study is to explore the students' experiences of being multilingual, and to analyse how the prohibition against the use of the mother tongue in school may influence their identity. The data are interpreted in the light of research and theory concerned with the influence of the colonisation of education in Africa and the effect of languages on identity. Results indicated that the students are proud of their vernacular language and culture, but also see the importance of being multilingual in a global world. The students agree with the prohibition against the use of their mother tongue in school, and understand that English and Swahili are important for education. The conclusion constitutes a critical contribution to add to earlier research about multilingualism and education in Africa. (Contains 4 notes.)
Routledge. Available from: Taylor & Francis, Ltd. 325 Chestnut Street Suite 800, Philadelphia, PA 19106. Tel: 800-354-1420; Fax: 215-625-2940; Web site:
Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Elementary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Kenya