The decline of academic bilingualism in South Africa : a case study

dc.contributor.authorHill, Lloyd B.
dc.identifier.citationHill, L. B. 2009. The decline of academic bilingualism in South Africa: a case study. Language Policy, 8 (4), 327-349, doi:10.1007/s10993-009-9148-5.en_ZA
dc.descriptionThe original publication is available at
dc.description.abstractLanguage policies in South African higher education were formalized between 2000 and 2002, just prior to a major restructuring of the higher education system. During this period institutions of higher learning were expected to formulate both a language policy and a detailed language plan. National policies on language in education are intended to substantiate the constitutional commitment to using and developing the 11 official languages. Gaps between official commitments to ‘multilingualism’ and actual language practices are nevertheless evident at national and institutional levels. In this article I explore the concepts ‘bilingual university’ and ‘academic bilingualism’, as a prelude to a contextualized discussion of the decline of English-Afrikaans bilingualism at the University of Port Elizabeth (which after the January 2005 merger with the PE Technikon, became part of the Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University). I explore the emergence of a gap between formal policy pronouncements and actual institutional practices. I then situate this local trend within the wider context of post-1994 political and socio-economic changes and the emergence of a new official discourse on ‘multilingualism.’ I explain the ostensive shift from a ‘dual medium’ to a ‘multilingual’ policy at UPE in terms of broader trends and contradictions in the national field of higher education. The article employs a theoretical framework, which—drawing on the work of Bourdieu— seeks to (a) situate the case within a wider national field of higher education, and (b) theorise ‘academic bilingualism’ as form of cultural capital within this field. In terms of this framework, the analysis of the case raises specific questions about current institutional language policies in South Africa and more general questions about the nature of bilingualism in higher education.en_ZA
dc.subjectAcademic bilingualism -- South Africaen_ZA
dc.subjectBilingual universities -- South Africaen_ZA
dc.subjectLanguage in higher education -- South Africaen_ZA
dc.subjectCultural capital -- South Africaen_ZA
dc.subjectLanguage policy -- South Africaen_ZA
dc.subjectLanguage planning -- South Africaen_ZA
dc.subjectEconomics of language -- South Africaen_ZA
dc.titleThe decline of academic bilingualism in South Africa : a case studyen_ZA
dc.rights.holderSpringer Science+Business Media B.V.en_ZA

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