Articles sur African languages

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Students at Stellenbosch University call for Afrikaans to be scrapped as the institution’s main language. Reuters/Mike Hutchings

Why Afrikaans doesn’t qualify for special treatment at universities

Those who don't want Stellenbosch University to make English the main language of instruction have invoked South Africa's Constitution - but the assumptions underlying their arguments are false.
Gabriel Kenny, aged five, gets to grips with Mandarin characters as part of a US school program. Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

Teaching Mandarin in schools is another slap in the face for African languages

There is a new potential coloniser on South Africa's linguistic block. From 2016, Mandarin will be taught in schools – and this will see African languages bumped even further down the pecking order.
Translating notes into ‘deep’ or ‘high’ versions of languages isn’t very useful for young students who prefer vernacular, colloquial ways of speaking. Shutterstock

Simple, vernacular translations make the most sense for university students

There is little value in translating academic texts into "high" or "deep" versions of African languages. Most students read and speak their mother tongues in a far more colloquial fashion.
Being able to learn science in a number of languages helps children to develop an understanding of concepts - like the robotics used to build this dinosaur. David Mercado/Reuters

Multilingualism boosts learning - and can create new science knowledge too

Using more than one language when teaching and learning science in schools can greatly enhance concept development. This in fact goes to the heart of science.
Actor Joseph Marcell plays the lead role in The Globe’s production of Shakespeare’s King Lear in Malta, Valletta. Shakespeare divides opinions and his texts often terrify learners. Darrin Zammit Lupi/Reuters

Should Shakespeare be taught in Africa’s classrooms?

Is there a place for Shakespeare in African schools, or is his time long past?
Amid the debate about what languages should dominate at African schools, we’re missing an important point: why do we learn language in the first place? From www.shutterstock.com

We need to remember why we teach and learn languages

There are two functions of language: communication and access to knowledge. Each must be pursued as an objective in its own right rather than being lumped together.

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