Language in South Africa

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This is a comprehensive and wide-ranging guide to language and society in South Africa. As the authors demonstrate, the South African context offers a treasure trove of data and examples for linguistic and sociolinguistic study. The book surveys the most important language groupings in the region in terms of pre-colonial and colonial history; contact between the different language varieties, leading to language loss, pidginization, creolization and new mixed varieties; language and public policy issues associated with the transition to a post-apartheid society and its eleven official languages. It details the history of indigenous languages, the impact of European languages upon them, and of transformations to the European languages themselves. Written by a team of leading researchers, all the chapters are informed by the importance of socio-political history in understanding questions of language. The book will be welcomed by students and researchers in language and linguistics, sociology, anthropology and social history.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"[A] very handsome book, beautifully edited, carefully proofread, and produced on thick paper in elegant fonts." Christina Bratt Paulston, University of Pittsburgh, Language in Society
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780521791052
  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press
  • Publication date: 11/1/2002
  • Pages: 504
  • Lexile: 1410L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.98 (w) x 8.98 (h) x 1.06 (d)

Meet the Author

Rajend Mesthrie is Professor of Linguistics at the University of South Africa. He has researched and published extensively on a range of contact phenomena in South Africa.

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Table of Contents

Introduction R. Mesthrie; Part I. The Main Language Groupings: 1. South Africa - a sociolinguistic overview R. Mesthrie; 2. The Khoesan languages A. Traill; 3. The Bantu languages R. K. Herbert and R. Bailey; 4. Afrikaans P. T. Roberge; 5. South African English R. Lass; 6. South African sign language D. Aarons and P. Akach; 7. German Speakers in South Africa E. de Kadt; 8. Indian languages in South Africa R. Mesthrie; Part II. Language Contact: 9. Fanakalo: a South African pidgin R. Adendorff; 10. Mutual lexical borrowings among some languages of South Africa W. Branford and J. S. Claughton; 11. Code-switching, mixing and convergence in Cape Town K. McCormick; 12. Code-switching in South African townships S. Slabbert and R. Finlayson; 13. Intercultural miscommunication in South Africa J. K. Chick; 14. Women's language of respect R. Finlayson; 15. The sociohistory of clicks in Southern Bantu R. K. Herbert; 16. Language and gendered ethnicity in a Thonga community R. K. Herbert; 17. Indian South African English R. Mesthrie; 18. Black South African English V. de Klerk and D. Gough; 19. The lexicon and sociolinguistic codes of the working-class Afrikaans-speaking Cape Peninsula coloured community G. L. Stone; 20. An introduction to Flaaitaal K. D. P. Makhudu; 21. Language and language practices in Soweto D. K. Ntshangase; Part III. Language Planning, Policy and Education: 22. Language planning and language policy: past, present and future T. G. Reagan; 23. Language issues in South African education S. Murray; 24. Recovering multilingualism: recent language policy developments K. Heugh.

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