General Linguistics

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    University language policy management: the case of a university of technology in South Africa
    (University of Zululand, 2022-09-02) Ngidi, Sizakele Audrey
    The present study examined language policy management in higher education institutions in South Africa using a University of Technology as a case study. The first objective of the study was to ascertain the extent of students’ language learning problems that manifest at the University of Technology after the adoption of the English-only language policy. The second objective was to determine whether students’ biographical factors (gender, age, year of study, home language, and faculty) have any influence on their language learning problems. The third objective was to ascertain the nature of lecturers’ opinions regarding English as a medium of instruction at the University of Technology. The fourth objective was to determine whether the faculty variable has any influence on lecturers’ opinions regarding English as a medium of instruction at the University of Technology. To this end, a questionnaire was administered to a randomly selected sample of 110 students and 84 lecturers who completed and returned the questionnaires. The last objective was to establish the reasons why the University of Technology changed its language policy from a dual-medium to a monolingual language policy. To this end, purposive sampling, namely a single-case study, was used to select the Registrar as the participant in this study. The findings revealed that the students differed in the extent of their language learning problems that manifest at the institution after the adoption of an English-only language policy. A very high percentage (78.18%) of students reported a moderate language listening problem. The findings also revealed that the year of study influenced students’ experiences of listening problems. Fourth-year students experienced more challenges from learning problems than first-, second- and third-year students. The findings showed that lecturers differed significantly in the nature of their opinions regarding English as a medium of instruction at the institution. A very high percentage (83.33%) of lecturers reported an uncertain opinion level. The findings on the analysis of each item indicated that the faculty variable had a significant influence on lecturers’ opinions regarding some of the single items. The findings from the interviews regarding reasons as to why the University of Technology changed its language policy from a dual-medium to a monolingual language policy, point to inclusivity to accommodate black students who are in the majority but also driven by sociolinguistic, bureaucratic, and economic factors which lead to ineffective language management in South Africa and at South African universities. On the basis of the findings of this study, a model for the process of implementing the university language policy management was proposed and recommended.
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    An exploration of translanguaging in a grade ten reading class in Ntambanana circuit schools
    (2022) Ntshakala Bongumusa Faithful
    Learners’ poor performance in schools is of grave concern in South Africa due inter alia, to low literacy and numeracy levels. It has been found that, comparatively, learners in South Africa lag behind other learners in other countries in terms of their ability to read with comprehension. The study aimed to explore the employment of translanguaging as a teaching strategy aimed at improving learner comprehension in a Grade ten reading class. Three rural high schools were selected which offer English as a second language and isiZulu as a home language. Ten Grade ten learners in each school were purposively sampled and the study comprised thirty learners. The findings revealed that while some learners are competent enough in English, mainly due to their backgrounds, most of them comprehend better, and they responded more correctly to comprehension-seeking questions when the input language was their home language (isiZulu). The learners in the three high schools pointed out after writing the comprehension tests that even if the text can be written in their second language (English) and they read it without understanding some words and some paragraphs, but if they are questioned in their home language, they can respond with ease to the questions. The findings clearly demonstrate the role that learners’ home language should play in in their learning. The study, therefore, recommends translanguaging as a teaching strategy that teachers can employ to improve learner comprehension and to ensure that learners benefit from their entire linguistic repertoire.
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    Analysing the promotion of indigenous African languages through social networks in South Africa
    (University of Zululand, 2020) Munyadziwa, Mosibudi Aretha
    Languages remain a tool that allows human beings to communicate and provides foundation for a vigorous and multicultural interaction. The introduction of platforms that aid communication across different communities caters for languages to flourish. Coming second to emails as the most popular communication tools, social networks remains the most preferred platforms for both informal and formal communication. In South Africa, social networks such as Twitter, Facebook, WhatsApp and other chat-zones, are widely used by speakers of different indigenous African languages. However, it is uncertain if these platforms can be tools of promoting indigenous African languages. Therefore, this study sought to understand the promotion of indigenous African languages on social networks. South Africa has 11 official languages, however, this study focused on five namely; isiZulu, siSwati, Sepedi, Tshivenḓa, and Xitsonga. The languages selected are spoken in three different provinces. IsiZulu has the most speakers, followed by Sepedi, Xitsonga, siSwati, and Tshivenḓa, respectively. These languages have been equally promoted by the central government of South Africa and there is need to understand the relationship between social networks and indigenous African languages. This dissertation analysed the promotion of indigenous African languages in South Africa using social networks. This study was conducted using qualitative and quantitative approaches. The first objective assessed the growth of indigenous African languages and their use in social networks. The second objective compared the use of isiZulu, siSwati, Sepedi, Tshivenḓa, and Xitsonga languages among each other on the social networks. The third objective investigated the promotion of isiZulu, siSwati, Sepedi, Tshivenḓa, and Xitsonga languages through social networks. Both objectives one and two used cross-tabulation while the third objective used thematic analysis. The sample size of 384 respondents was randomly sampled according to their first language and were tendered with a questionnaire. The study was conducted in KwaZulu-Natal, Mpumalanga and Limpopo provinces of South Africa. The quantitative research findings revealed that people’s interaction on social networks has become a vital aspect of corpus development. The qualitative research revealed how the respondents’ choice of social networks affects how language is used. While most of the respondents prefer using the English language on social networks, they code mix. vi Access to websites that support indigenous African languages is limited due to irrelevant and insufficient content. Languages, including indigenous African ones, have been redefined and new words have been created. Lexicographers, Terminographers and PanSALB should therefore use social networks to for their research purposes. The study recommends the use of indigenous African languages on social networks and the continuous integration of words developed on social networks on daily use. Furthermore, government should play its role of promoting indigenous African language
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    The linguistic obstacles to language teaching and learning in a bilingual classroom
    (University of Zululand, 2019) Makhathini, Freedom Nkanyiso
    This thesis looks at language as an instrumental, linguistic tool which, if taught by qualified language teachers could yield better results in the analysis and interpretation of both literary and non-literary texts in academia and in social lives of language speakers. The everyday linguistic practices in a bilingual classroom require grammatical, syntactic and sociolinguistic aspects when engaged in teaching and learning. This study draws on research findings from a mixed-research approach through the use of both language teachers and language learners as participants in this study. The findings of this study are drawn from both the teachers’ and the learners’ experiences on grammar teaching and learning for academic and social purposes. The findings indicate the urgent need for a pure linguistic pedagogy for language teachers in the study of grammar in the rural classroom setting. In the current teaching and learning of language, this study discovered that there is a lack of resources to teach and to learn grammar. Problems with the exposure to nonstandard varieties of both English and isiZulu language which impact the study of language in structure, analysis and use, the teaching of language by non-language teachers, too much classroom focus on literature without knowledge of linguistic structure by both language teachers and bilingual leaners of language leave language teaching and learning crippled. As a result of these problems, learners experience difficulties in using language for both academic and social purposes, problems with reading, writing and speaking at both secondary and tertiary level, in both their L1 and through their L2. As argued by de Klerk (1992), Rudwick (2004), Pretorius and Matjila (2004), Brock-Utne and Holmarsdottir (2004), Alimi ( 2011), Jawahar and Dempster (2013) and Palviainen and Mard-Miettinen (2015), there is a serious shortage of language specialists as opposed to literature specialists, as a result, language teaching and learning are negatively influenced. A questionnaire containing the qualitative data of the teachers and learners and open-ended questions were used during interviews to elicit the needed information. Themes are discussed focusing on the role of the language teacher and problems which arise during classroom language teaching and learning. This study looked at the linguistic obstacles to language teaching and learning in a bilingual classroom and recommended that language teaching should be objective and must focus on grammatical and communicative vi forms of a language before literature is taught. This will help in the authentic linguistic analysis of any given text when knowledge of structure and discourse analysis is known by a learner.
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    A Grounded Theory study of English as Second Language (ESL) students’ experiences with literary texts, with reference to the University of Zululand
    (University of Zululand, 2017) Gazu, Khulekani Amegius; Moyo, C.T; Mncwango, E.M
    The study of ESL students’ experiences with literary texts generated a theoretical model accounting for the intricate relationships among some interwoven phenomena. The model was informed by the precepts of the systematic procedures of Strauss and Corbin (1990) and the attendant central phenomenon, causal conditions, contextual and intervening conditions, interactional strategies as well as the consequences. The central phenomenon that emerged focused on how ESL students interact with textual features such as language difficulty, lexical difficulty, and length of the text by employing strategies to bring about better text comprehensibility. The causal condition for the phenomenon is that some ESL students face lexical and general language difficulty when studying literary texts because of their relative lexical impoverishment. When students consult dictionaries to mediate lexical difficulty, reading fluency is adversely affected; and the condition is exacerbated by the length of the text which brings about loss of plot navigation whereby some readers forget parts of the plot due prolonged engagement in the context of available reading time. The context under which the phenomenon obtains is conspicuous in poetry in the form of authority of interpretation – a phenomenon which grapples with the quandary of orthodox interpretation as postulated either by the student or the assumed more knowledgeable other, the lecturer. The attendant property is that interpretation resonates as a positive higher level cognitive appeal to the more competent reader and a challenge or difficulty to the less competent reader. In the novel (as well as other genres) the manifestation of the phenomenon comes about during assessment where there is a lack shared outcomes or criterion referencing, which leads to unsatisfactory student performance. Students have to adopt interactional strategies to mediate the situation by relying on internet summaries and analyses. Other interactional strategies include relying on the lecturer’s decoding of the text, thereby expecting a banking pedagogy from the more knowledgeable other; relying on the peers’ decoding of a literary text; and shared or collaborative reading which leads to a convergence of different viewpoints and interpretations. These strategies are facilitated by the intervening conditions like the relevance of themes; the ability of the reader to relate to the text; the novel’s being laden with exploratory ideas; and the drama’s interactive nature. Conversely, they are constrained by such conditions as the effect of the heavy workload; drama’s barren exposition; internet summaries only treating peripheral content; and the discrepancy between lecturing and assessment styles. The interactional strategies have a positive and a negative bearing on the ESL readers’ engagement with literary texts. The positive consequences of relying on the internet summaries and analysis include the provision of an entry point to the text; creation of expectation and activation of the schemata; it also results in active reading for some readers, and it facilitates the reading of the long texts. Conversely, the practice is also considered to result in passive reading as it is no longer necessary for some readers to make conjectures; the discovery element is taken away hence the aesthetic value of the text dwindles; and it adversely affects the student-lecturer didactic relationship for ethical reasons. The strategy of relying on the lecturer and peers leads to dependency when they do not read texts on their own
University of Zululand