The linguistic identities of multilingual adolescents involved in educational enrichment programmes in Johannesburg

Bristowe, Anthea J. (2013-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2013.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis focuses on a community of multilingual adolescents who are high performers in mathematics and science, and whose primary language of teaching and learning is English. The participants who form part of the study all attend selected educational enrichment programmes in the greater Johannesburg area. The thesis is particularly interested in how students' language repertoires feature in their learning and in how their language repertoires contribute to their identity construction. This research is informed by literature which views identity not only as complex, contradictory, multivoiced and multifaceted, but also as dynamic and subject to constant renegotiation across space and time. In seeking answers to specific questions about the linguistic identities of the teenage participants in this study, this study will establish what the full linguistic repertoire of each participant is, and whether or not participants identify themselves by means of language. While there have been a number of very authoritative studies of language repertoires, many of these have focused on indigenous minorities, migrants or refugees who need to improve their life chances in a context where their L1 is not dominant. Although this study does include a number of participants originally from outside of South Africa, the majority of the participants are South Africans whose first languages are official languages. This study uses a multimodal approach in data collection and analysis in an attempt to investigate the multi-semiotic nature of the linguistic identities of the participants. Following the work of Busch (2010), I argue, that multilingualism can no longer be seen as an abstract competency, and that "language crossing", the appropriation of elements across boundaries, becomes a competency in its own right. These competencies can thus be used as a way of constructing a speaker's linguistic identity. Finally, the thesis makes a recommendation that more multimodal studies should be conducted in order to investigate the 'performativity' of 'identity construction'.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie tesis fokus op ʼn gemeenskap van veeltalige adolessente wie toppresteerders is in wiskunde en wetenskap en vir wie Engels die primêre taal van leer en onderrig is. Die deelnemers aan die studie woon almal geselekteerde opvoedkundige verrykingsprogramme by in die groter Johannesburg area. Die tesis is spesifiek geïnteresseerd in hoe studente hul 'taal repertoires' gebruik wanneer hulle leer en hoe dit moontlik bydra tot die konstruering van hul identiteite. Die studie gebruik as uitgangspunt literatuur wat 'identiteit' as kompleks, teenstellend, veelstemmig en dinamies beskou. Verder word 'identiteit' ook beskou as onderworpe aan konstante heronderhandeling in elke spesifieke situasie en konteks. Die studie probeer vasstel wat die volle 'taalrepertoire' van elke deelnemer is en of die deelnemers hulself d.m.v. taal identifiseer. Hoewel daar verskeie belangrike studies oor taal repertoires bestaan fokus baie van hierdie studies op inheemse minderhede, migrante of vlugtelinge wie hul lewenskanse moet verbeter in ʼn konteks waarin hulle eerstetaal (T1) nie dominant is nie. Alhoewel hierdie studie ʼn aantal deelnemers insluit wat oorspronklik van buite Suid-Afrika afkomstig is, is die meerderheid van die deelnemers aan die studie Suid-Afrikaners wie se eerstetale, amptelike tale is. Die studie gebruik ʼn multimodale manier van data insameling en analise in ʼn poging om die multisemiotiese aspekte van die 'taalidentiteite' van die deelnemers te ondersoek. In ooreenstemming met Busch (2010) stel ek voor dat veeltaligheid nie langer gesien kan word as ʼn abstrakte vermoë nie maar dat ander praktyke soos 'taal oorkruissing', die gebruik van elemente oor taalgrense, ʼn vaardigheid in eie reg is. Hierdie soorte vaardighede kan dus ook gebruik word om die 'taalidentiteit' van ʼn spreker te konstrueer. Laastens word die aanbeveling gemaak dat meer multimodale studies gebruik moet word om die 'performatiwiteit' (performativity) van identiteitskonstruksie te ondersoek.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/85661
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