Definition and use of a Language Policy

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BACC 1514
Mar 8, 2023
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Principles of a Language Policy Definition and use of a Language Policy: Language Policy: A deliberate attempt to change an individual or community's use of a language or languages or a variety or varieties. It is used: To intervene on how a language or languages are to be used within the state domains. The state is divided into three spheres: National Provincial Local level The state determines which languages are to be used by officials in their different settings. [S6(4) of the Constitution] Implications: Language Policy has implications for the languages used in: Government administrations and public institutions Within legislation (legislatures and laws) Within the judiciary (including courts) Within education Language Policy for legal intervention: Language Policy as legal intervention: Associated with language legislation Defined as legal obligation and language rights (Turi, 1993:6) Created to: o Protect, o Defend, or o Promote one of the chosen languages (Ruiz, 1998) 1
Principles of a Language Policy Types of language legislation: Officialising: o Selected languages are granted official status by law o Those languages may be used in government domains Normalising: o The use of designated languages Standardising: Liberalising language legislation Hands-on approach: The state makes specific regulations on how designated languages are used. These rules concern both: Citizens Non-citizens There are thus consequences to such state intervention. Consequences of a hands-on approach: Pluralism: o Attempts to protect the identity of language groups within the state Integration: o Attempts to unite different language groups within the state Assimilation: o Attempts to create a linguistically homogeneous state; and o Minimising the impact of language groups. Segregation: o Attempts to isolate linguistic minority groups and to keep them in an inferior position. 2
Principles of a Language Policy Language Policy before 1994: National politics and decisions on language have always been interrelated. This is the reason we can distinguish between the 2 major eras in which a variety of language policies have unfolded (see the table below) SUMMARY OF POLITICAL AND POLICY DEVELOPMENTS IN SOUTH AFRICA Era Political Period (demarcation marker) Period Official Language Colonial Era Dutch period (British occupation) 1652-1814 Dutch 1 st British period (Slave politics) 1814-1834 English (Dutch) 2 nd British period (Anglo-Boer War) 1834-1899/1902 Dutch Republican period (Anglo-Boer War) 1834-1899/1902 English 3 rd British period (National Convention) 1899/1902-1910 English Dutch Afrikaans Statehood Era Unification period (Colour politics) 1910-1948 English Dutch Afrikaans Apartheid period (Soweto) 1948-1976 Afrikaans (English) (9 Bantu languages in Bantustans) Reformist period (Tri-cameral period) 1976-1989 Afrikaans (English) (9 Bantu languages in Bantustans) Transitional period (CODESA) 1989-1994 Afrikaans (English) (9 Bantu languages in Bantustans) Democratization period 1994- Afrikaans (English) (9 Bantu languages in RSA) 3
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