CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW
This chapter reviews relevant literature and other completed research to form the theory needed for the empirical study. There is a considerable body of research available on aspects of the importance of fit between the government language policies and institutional language policies that can lead to the development of the use and status of indigenous languages in the country‟s 23 universities. The review focuses on various aspects, such as the 23 universities, and the first objective of the study.
LITERATURE ON ‘WHEN DOES A LANGUAGE BECOME AN ESSENTIAL PART OF UNIVERSITY EDUCATION?’
Before studying the external and internal environments, it is crucial to answer the question: when does a language become an essential part of a university education? To understand this section it is important to divide it into two subsections (see Figure 2.1 ).
The Radial Cycle represents the relationship between the two elements to be discussed here and the central idea (When does a language become an essential part of a university education?). It emphasises both the central idea and how the elements in the outer ring of circles contribute to the central idea.
These are leading factors found to be influencing decisions on the choice of a language becoming an essential part of university education and that are crucial to answer this question: when does a language become an essential part of a university education? They are linked to the decision status to be discussed in subsection 2.2.2. There are two leading factors, namely:
understanding the concept „language‟ and the common trends. The two leading factors are discussed in subsection (a) and (b), respectively.
Understanding the concept ‘language’
To answer the question: when does a language become an essential part of university education, one should first understand the concept „language‟ and its function. Reber (1995:406) says:
A language is what we speak, the set of arbitrary conventional symbols through which we convey meaning, the culturally determined pattern of vocal gestures we acquire by virtue of being raised in a particular place and time, the medium through which we code our feelings, thoughts, ideas and experiences, the most ubiquitous behaviour of humans.
This definition leads us to view language from two sides, as defined by Ngugi (1986:13), when he says: “Language, any language, has a dual character: it is both a means of communication and a carrier of culture.” To make the dual character of a language understandable, Ngugi also identifies the different aspects of the two characters of a language: Language as communication has three aspects or elements; and language as culture has three aspects or elements (see Table 2.1 below).
The percentage of the population that speaks indigenous languages not recognised by the Constitution as official languages was not identified by Stats South Africa. They might have included them under other languages such as Afrikaans, isiXhosa and others (especially Khoi, Nama, and San languages). The population that speaks SA sign languages is formed by people born among the different language groups: They are found among speakers of Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, siSwati, Tshivenda, Xitsonga and other languages.
Considering the different aspects of the two characters of a language in Table 2.1 and the data provided by STATSSA in Table 2.2, the nine indigenous languages (isiNdebele, isiXhosa, isiZulu, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, siSwati, Tshivenda and Xitsonga) are a means of communication and carriers of the culture for 78% of the South African population. Afrikaans and English together are a means of communication and carriers of the culture for the 21.5% of the South African population. Lastly, other languages are a means of communication and carriers of the culture for the remaining 0.5% of the South African population. All of the above languages display the six aspects or elements found in Table 2.1.
Linking the dual character of language to education, Chumbow (2005:169) maintains:
Language is the normal medium of communication of knowledge and skills in all educational (institutional) systems. Effective acquisition of knowledge and skills can take place only if effective communication via a language medium has taken place.
Thus, there is a need for developing the use and status of all South African languages to become an essential part of university education.
The common trends
There are familiar trends of choosing a primary language(s) or language(s) of tuition, academic language(s) and language(s) for a specific profession. For the purpose of this study two trends are identified, i.e. European trend and South African trend.
EUROPEAN TREND: In Adam Smith: the Wealth of Nations Books IV-V, the question of how language becomes an essential part of a university education is answered in the following manner:
When Christianity was first established by law, a corrupted Latin had become a common language of all the Western parts of Europe. The service of the church accordingly, and the translation of the Bible which was read in churches, were both in that corrupted Latin; that is, in the common language of the country. After the interruption of the barbarous nations who overturned the Roman Empire, Latin gradually ceased to be the language of any part of Europe. But the reverence of the people naturally preserved the established form and ceremonies of religion long after the circumstances which first introduced and rendered them unreasonable are no more. Though Latin, therefore was no longer understood anywhere by the great body of the people, the whole service of the church still continued to be performed in that language. Two different languages were thus established in Europe, in the same manner as in ancient Egypt; a language of the priests, and a language of the people; a sacred and a profane; a learned and unlearned language. But it was necessary that the priests should understand something of that sacred and learned language in which they were to officiate; and the study of the Latin language therefore made, from the beginning, an essential part of university education (Skinner, 1999:354).
It was not so for either Greek or the Hebrew language. That is why:
the knowledge of those two languages, therefore, not being indispensably requisite for a churchman, the study of them did not for a long time make a necessary part of the common course of university education. There are some Spanish universities, I am assured, in which the study of the Greek language has never made any part of that course (Ibid., 1999:355).
It was a legal and domain status that made Latin an essential part of a university education. Christianity was the domain and it was legalised in Europe and this was the reason why Latin was made an essential part of university education right in Europe.
SOUTH AFRICAN TREND: Studies in South Africa with the colonial education in general will be considered first, followed by studies on higher education in particular. Christie (1991:34) maintains:
The British authorities paid far more attention to education than the Dutch had done. They wanted to use education as a way of spreading their language and traditions in the colony – and also as a means of social control. They declared English to be the official language, and they attempted to anglicize the church, the government offices and the schools. They set up a number of schools in the British tradition, and they brought over teachers from Britain.
The establishment of higher education during the British rule was driven by the same goals described by Christie. For instance, English became the primary language or language of tuition for the South African College (the first higher education institution) which was opened in 1829. Colonisation influenced the choice of languages for the College programmes. For instance, McKerron (1934) provides the following information:
- English was the primary language and language of tuition for all disciplines;
- The College had a Department of General Literature: Dutch literature, English, Latin and Ancient languages were taught;
- English language teachers gave the instruction in the English Language, taught the ancient language with the theory, history and practice of English Grammar and Literature, so as to impart habits of investigation and of discussion and composition in English and an acquaintance with the history and moral and civil policy of the species;
- Dutch language teachers gave instruction in the Dutch language, taught the ancient language with the theory, history and practice of Dutch Grammar and Literature, so as to impart habits of investigation and of discussion and composition in Dutch and an acquaintance with the history and moral and civil policy of the species.
Languages recognised by the College were not academic disciplines in their own right. English was the only official language of the country at the time and it was the primary language of the College or language of tuition. The teaching of Ancient languages was diminished and their use and status were relegated to the Church. Thus, as in Europe, the legal and domain status made English, Dutch, Latin and Ancient languages an essential part of the South African College in 1829. English was the only official language at the time. For that reason English became the primary language or language of tuition in all fields of study at that College.
CHAPTER 1 GENERAL INTRODUCTION
1.2 Background to the study and challenges
1.3 Definition of concepts
1.4 Problem statement
1.5 Purpose of this research
1.6 Rationale for the study
1.7 Scope of the study
1.8 Plan of the research
CHAPTER 2 LITERATURE REVIEW
2.2 Literature on „when does a language become an essential part of university education?‟
2.3 Literature on the external environment
2.4 Literature on the internal environment
CHAPTER 3 METHODOLOGY
3.2 Problem statement
3.3 Research strategy
3.4 Research design
3.5 Data collection and analysis
3.6 Report Writing
CHAPTER 4 CASE STUDY AND SURVEY RESULTS
4.2 Case study strategy
4.3 Data on the survey
CHAPTER 5 FINDINGS
5.2 Findings on the case study
5.3 Findings on the survey
CHAPTER 6 ANALYSIS AND INTERPRETATION OF RESEARCH FINDINGS
6.2 Analysis and interpretation of findings on the case study
6.3 Analysis and interpretation of findings on survey
CHAPTER 7 GENERAL CONCLUSION AND RECOMMENDATIONS
7.2 General conclusion
GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT
THE FIT BETWEEN GOVERNMENT LANGUAGE POLICIES AND INSTITUTIONAL LANGUAGE POLICIES: THE CASE OF INDIGENOUS LANGUAGES IN THE SOUTH AFRICAN HIGHER EDUCATION SYSTEM