The Many Voices of the Land

The Many Voices of the Land VERNON FEBRUARY One of the central issues in the search for a democratic South Africa is the language question.' Greenberg stated unequivocally: Language like all things which distinguish groups, is two-sided. On the one hand it enhances the group feelings of those who share it, on the other, it promotes a sense of difference from those foreign modes and speech by setting these groups apart as a distinct entity.2 An analysis of the language situation in South Africa reveals that one is generally confronted with a hegemonic situation in which the lan­ guages of the power groups are also the ones designated as "official" on the statute books. The disappearance of certain languages, or the relegation of others to an inferior status in society, is indicative of the pattern of conquest inside the country. Thus, languages which suc­ ceeded in entrenching their hegemonic position, namely Afrikaans and English, are also the languages of the power groups which came from outside Africa to eventually control the means of production. Not surprisingly, the South African Hoseah Jaffe, writing under the pseudonym VERY LATE in the Educational Journal of the Teachers' League of South Africa could conclude in the late fifties: By http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Matatu Brill

The Many Voices of the Land

Matatu , Volume 15 (1): 73 – Apr 26, 1996

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Publisher
BRILL
Copyright
© Copyright 1996 by Koninklijke Brill NV, Leiden, The Netherlands
ISSN
0932-9714
eISSN
1875-7421
D.O.I.
10.1163/18757421-90000169
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

VERNON FEBRUARY One of the central issues in the search for a democratic South Africa is the language question.' Greenberg stated unequivocally: Language like all things which distinguish groups, is two-sided. On the one hand it enhances the group feelings of those who share it, on the other, it promotes a sense of difference from those foreign modes and speech by setting these groups apart as a distinct entity.2 An analysis of the language situation in South Africa reveals that one is generally confronted with a hegemonic situation in which the lan­ guages of the power groups are also the ones designated as "official" on the statute books. The disappearance of certain languages, or the relegation of others to an inferior status in society, is indicative of the pattern of conquest inside the country. Thus, languages which suc­ ceeded in entrenching their hegemonic position, namely Afrikaans and English, are also the languages of the power groups which came from outside Africa to eventually control the means of production. Not surprisingly, the South African Hoseah Jaffe, writing under the pseudonym VERY LATE in the Educational Journal of the Teachers' League of South Africa could conclude in the late fifties: By

Journal

MatatuBrill

Published: Apr 26, 1996

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