Articles sur Multilingualism

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One South African school issues ‘demerits’ if their pupils speak anything but English. David Ritchie/Cape Argus

How schools use language as a way to exclude children

Schools and universities in post-colonial contexts still operate within the logic of coloniality. This is starkly illustrated by their language policies.
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.
Xhosa women celebrate in Qunu in the Eastern Cape. It is time for African languages and cultures to dominate at the continent’s universities. Antony Kaminju/Reuters

African languages have the power to transform universities

African universities need to boost local languages onto the same exalted platform as English before they can be considered truly transformed.

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