Going to a better life: perspectives on the future of language in education for San and Khoe South Africans
International Journal of Educational Development Volume 19, Number 4 ISSN 0738-0593 Publisher: Elsevier Ltd
The 1996 South African constitution guarantees that the government will promote and protect the languages of the San and the Khoe. Of the scores of San and Khoe languages spoken by indigenous peoples when Europeans first arrived at the Cape of Good Hope in the 17th century, only a handful survive today. The surviving languages are all at risk of dying out in the next generation.The author looks at the conditions that are causing language death, and the possible types of interventions that could reverse the process. He argues that land and natural resource access are essential for maintaining the languages of hunter-gatherers and traditional pastoralists.The South African government is having trouble implementing the constitutional provisions due to the limitations of its language policy paradigm. The paradigm within which language policy and planning is located by the state strongly influences the types of decisions that will be taken to protect or marginalise endangered indigenous languages. The current South African paradigm of a “rights-based” approach to language policy is likely to be less effective than a “resource-based” approach that seeks to identify the inherent value that certain languages bring to the speakers and the broader society. The “resource” approach is also more likely to locate language rights in a broader context of socio-economic development.
Crawhall, N. Going to a better life: perspectives on the future of language in education for San and Khoe South Africans. International Journal of Educational Development, 19(4), 323-335. Elsevier Ltd.