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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.
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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