Patterns of use of and attitudes towards the Afrikaans language by South African expatriates : a sociolinguistic perspective

Parker, Mariam (2015-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2015.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis explores the attitudes of South African expatriates in the Middle East towards the Afrikaans language. It also examines the reported language behaviour of South Africans when meeting and interacting with fellow South Africans irrespective of what their first language (L1) is. The participants who form part of the study all work in the educational, medical and business sectors in the Middle East. This study is particularly interested in what the language repertoires of South African expatriates are and whether these repertoires form part of how they define themselves as a group and contribute to their identity construction. Whilst Afrikaans has had a contested history within the South African context, and is often viewed as the language of the oppressor, it has undoubtedly also been a first language to some of the “oppressed” and has served a function as lingua franca (McCormick 2006). This thesis therefore focuses specifically on attitudes towards Afrikaans and the use of Afrikaans in linguistic 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 negotiation across space and time. The number of South African expatriates around the globe has increased to such an extent that the term “diaspora” (Kotze 2003: 63) has been used on occasion. While there have been some studies done on language repertoires of South African abroad, little is known about the attitudes and ideologies attached to these languages in diasporic contexts. 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. There are 33 participants in this study who are all South African citizens working or living in the Middle East. All participants are bi- and/or multilingual in mainly English and Afrikaans, with some speaking a third or fourth language such as another African indigenous language (for example, Zulu or Xhosa) or an Asian language (such as Urdu). In summary, this study finds that whilst English is clearly regarded as the global language of wider communication, people continue to identify strongly with their languages from “home” or their mother tongues, where these amplify their personal and group identities or are markers of their ethnolinguistic distinctiveness. Data collected in this research points to South African expatriate groupings that prefer communicating in Afrikaans and other indigenous languages outside the borders of South Africa as the languages give them a sense of comfort and belonging.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie tesis ondersoek die houding van Suid-Afrikaners wat in die Midde-Ooste werk of woon, teenoor die Afrikaanse taal. Dit ondersoek verder die raporteerde gedrag van Suid- Afrikaners wanneer hulle mede Suid-Afrikaners teekom of ontmoet, ongeag wat hul moedertaal is. Die deelnemers aan die studie werk almal in die onderrig, mediese- of besigheidsektore in die Midde-Ooste. Die tesis is spesifiek gemik op die taal repertoire van die groep Suid-Afrikaners in die buiteland, met die fokus op die moontlike bydrae tot hoe die groep hulself defineer en selfs ook bydra tot die konstruering van hul identiteite. Alhoewel die geskiedenis van Afrikaans dikwels gekoppel is aan die van ‘die onderdukker’, dien dit sonder twyfel ook as eerste taal vir baie van die ‘onderdruktes’ sowel as die van ‘n lingua franca (McCormick 2006). Die tesis het dus ‘n spesifieke fokus op houding teenoor Afrikaans en die gebruik van Afrikaans in die skepping van taalidentiteite. 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 getalle Suid-Afrikaners wat dwarsoor die wereld werk of woon het so vermeerder, dat die term ‘diaspora’ nou as beskrywing gebruik word (Kotze 2003: 63). Alhoewel daar al studies gedoen oor die ‘taal repertoire’ van Suid-Afrikaners in die buiteland, is daar min bekend oor die houding en ideologiee wat met die tale in ‘diasporiese’ kontekste gepaard gaan. Die studie probeer vasstel wat die volle taalrepertoire van elke deelnemer is en of die deelnemers hulself deur middel van taal identifiseer. Die studie maak gebruik van ʼn multimodale metode van data insameling en analise in ʼn poging om die multisemiotiese aspekte van die ‘taalidentiteite’ van die deelnemers te ondersoek. Die 33 deelnemers in die studie is almal Suid-Afrikaanse burgers wat in Midde- Ooste werk of woon. Die deelnemers is almal twee of meertalig, meestal in Engels en Afrikaans en sommige praat ‘n derde of vierde taal soos ‘n inheemse Afrika (byvoorbeeld, Zulu of Xhosa) of Asiese taal (soos Urdu). Opsommend vind die navorsing, dat al word Engels as die wereldstaal van wye kommunikasie beskou, mense nog steeds sterk identifiseer met hul ‘huis’ of moedertale wanneer dit hul individuele en groep identiteite beklemtoon, of n merker is van hul etnolinguisitiese andersheid. Data in hierdie navorsingstudie dui ook daarop dat hierdie Suid Afrikaanse groepe verkies om in Afrikaans of ander Suid Afrikaanse inheemse tale te kommunikeer terwyl hulle buite the grense van Suid Afrika woon en werk, want nie net troos dit hulle nie, maar besorg ook ‘n gevoel van erens behoort.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/97942
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