Code-switching and translanguaging inside and outside the classroom: bi-/multilingual practices of high school learners in a rural Afrikaans-setting

Strauss, Stuart (2016-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2016.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The dominance of Afrikaans as medium of communication in the rural town of Upington in the Northern Cape, South Africa, is reflected in the day-to-day communication practices by the vast majority of its inhabitants. Confirmation of this statement is revealed in the fact that all formal educational practices in Upington and surrounding areas use Afrikaans as language of learning and teaching, both during classes and during extra-mural activities provided for by the institution itself. However, it is when those learning and teaching at these schools and colleges engage with English as a first additional language, that the opportunities for cross-language transfer, especially in the forms of code-switching and translanguaging, usually arise. The aim of this study is to establish if linguistic strategies like code-switching and translanguaging are used by senior high school learners and teachers when they communicate in bi/multilingual settings where English is the target language. Furthermore, the study also investigated the reasons for using these linguistic strategies, as well as their educational value. The study focused on investigations into the language practices in two different high school educational settings (i) in-class activities, namely a teacher’s presentation of a poem and learner discussions at Pabalello High school, and (ii) after school activities, namely informal debating practice sessions led by a teacher, at Carlton-Van Heerden High school. In both cases, the linguistic activities were recorded and orthographically transcribed and, together with data collected from learner questionnaires and semi-structured interviews conducted with the teachers, formed the corpus of the material to be analysed. A significant number of code-switches were observed in the linguistic interaction of participants at both schools. The reasons for employing code-switching ranged from switching at word-finding difficulty and maintaining social cohesion in the group, to the very general switching of codes to explain, to expand, to clarify and to elaborate. Similarly, translanguaging strategies formed a significant part of the participants’ linguistic repertoire and had been used to fulfil a number of functions, including reprimanding elaboration of content and exclusion. Both these linguistic strategies played an important role in simplifying the subject matter and improving understanding. From the findings of both investigations, it becomes clear that linguistic strategies like code-switching and translanguaging are helpful tools in bi/multilingual educational settings, and that the most important role players in the educational setting, the teachers and learners, are using these strategies, regardless of the educational policies which favour the monolingual approach. It is therefore recommended by this study that the notions of code-switching and translanguaging should be acknowledged as enhancing the educational process and should therefore be made part of the policies which influence the curricula at our schools.

AFRIKAANS OPSOMMING: Die dominante gebruik van Afrikaans as voertaal in die landelike gemeenskap van Upington in die Noord-Kaap, Suid-Afrika, word gereflekteer in die dag-tot-dag gespreksituasies van die oorgrote meerderheid van sy inwoners. Die bevestiging hiervan word geopenbaar in die feit dat alle formele opvoedingspraktyke in Upington en omgewing Afrikaans as taal van onderrig en leer gebruik, beide in klassituasies en gedurende buitemuurse aktiwiteite wat deur die instituut self gereël word. Dit is egter wanneer diegene wat leer en onderrig gee by hierdie skole en kolleges gemoeid raak met Engels as eerste addisionele taal, dat geleenthede vir kodewisseling en translanguaging gewoonlik opduik. Die doel van hierdie studie is om vas te stel of linguistiese srategieë soos kodewisseling en translanguaging wel deur senior hoërskoolleerders en onderwysers gebruik word wanneer hulle kommunikeer in bi/multilinguistiese gespreksituasies waar Engels die teikentaal is. Verder ondersoek die studie ook die redes vir die gebruik van hierdie srategieë en hul opvoedkundige waarde. Die studie fokus op die ondersoek van die taalpraktyke in twee verskillende hoërskool opvoedkundige situasies, (i) klasaktiwiteite, nl. 'n onderwyser se aanbieding van 'n gedig en die inhoudsbespreking deur leeders by Pabalello Hoërskool, en (ii) buitemuurse aktiwiteite, nl. informele debatsvoeringsoefeninge gelei deur 'n onderwyser by Carlton-Van Heerden Hoërskool. In beide gevalle word die taalaktiwiteite van deelnemers op band geneem en ortografies getranskribeer en, tesame met data verkry vanaf vraelyste wat deur die leerders voltooi is en semi-gestruktureerde onderhoude met die onderwysers, vorm dit die korpus van die materiaal vir analisering. 'n Beduidende getal kodewisselings is waargeneem tydens die kommunikasiepraktyke by beide skole. Die redes vir kodewisseling strek oor 'n wye omvang, vanaf kodewisseling wanneer dit moelik is om die woord in die teikentaal te erken en om groepsidentiteit te behou tot algemene kodewisseling om te verduidelik, uit te brei en om iets duidelik te maak. Op 'n soortgelyke wyse vorm translanguaging strategieë 'n noemenswaardige deel van die deelnemers se linguistiese repertoire en was dit gebruik om 'n hele aantal funksies te vervul, onder andere, teregwysing, uitbreiding van lesinhoud en uitsluiting. Beide hierdie linguistiese srategieë speel 'n belangrike rol in die vereenvoudiging van vakinhoud en begripsverbetering. Uit die resultate van beide ondersoeke word dit duidelik dat kodewisseling en translanguaging as linguistiese strategieë, optree as hulpverleningsinstrumente in bi/multilinguistiese opvoedkundige situasies en dat die belangrikste rolspelers in die opvoedkunde, die leerders en onderwysers, gebruik maak van hierdie srategieë, ongeag die taalbeleide wat 'n monolinguistiese benadering voorskryf. Hierdie studie beveel dus aan dat kodewisseling en translanguaging erken word as hulpverleningselemente in die opvoedingsproses en derhalwe deel moet wees van die beleide wat die skoolkurrikulums beinvloed.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/100284
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