The Cause And Effects Of Multilingualism In South Africa

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Multilingualism is a global phenomenon that has become the norm for many countries and no longer the exception. This has been the cause and effect of colonialism, globalisation, immigration and the advancement of technology (Coulmas, 2018). South Africa, like many post colonial countries, is known for its multilingual nature as well as diversity in race, and culture. There are 11 official languages that are utilised on a daily basis in various environments making multilingualism common amongst most learners in the country (Webb. 2002).

According to the Educational Policy (1997) all learners have to be taught and assessed in at least 2 of the 11 language subjects from Grade 3 to matric (Language in Education Policy, 1997). Therefore, potentially imposing bilingualism on school-going individuals. Although diversity has a positive impact on society it also raises questions such as who decides what language should be used in the formal economic and educational sectors of the country? (Alexander, 2013).

The political history of the country has seen English being the dominant language within the educational system (Alexander, 2013). However, for most people in South Africa English is not their first language (L1) and for some not even their second language (L2). Therefore, the majority of learners in South Africa are not receiving formal learning in their home language, yet the learning takes places in classrooms where multiple languages are represented (Makoe &

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