Articles on Multilingualism

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Introducing rural and indigenous communities to science, through experiments and communication, is vital. Felipe Figueira

Indigenous languages must feature more in science communication

The combination of knowledge and communication, along with a few other fundamental conditions such as liberty and respect , leads to social, cultural and technological development.
Leaders use translators during the inauguration of President Mr João Manuel Gonçalves Lourenço of Angola. GCIS

Why translators and interpreters deserve a special day of recognition

Raising the status of the African languages to that of official languages in South Africa post-1994 led to an explosion of translation and interpreting work in local and foreign languages.
Far fewer Americans speak a second language than in most other developed countries – and the problem starts in the classroom. Rawpixel.com/Shutterstock.com

The true failure of foreign language instruction

Whether it's due to native language loss or unsupported high school curricula, the lack of bilingualism in the US is notable. Why can't more Americans speak another language? How should that change?
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.

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