The discursive construction of the language policy debate at Stellenbosch University : an investigation of the Cape Times and Die Burger

Williams, Sasha-Leigh (2018-12)

Thesis (MA)--Stellenbosch University, 2018.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: This thesis reports on the ways in which the Stellenbosch University language policy debate is reported on in English and Afrikaans language communities by investigating the discursive construction thereof in hard news reports published in the South African daily publications, Die Burger and the Cape Times. The data collected for the study spans from 1999 to 2016. The study employs the discourse-historical approach (Reisigl and Wodak, 2009) as the main analytical tool, in conjunction with language ideology theory (Woolard, 1998). Supplementary discursive strategies are employed within the structure of the discourse historical approach, such as Fairclough’s (2003) relational approach to texts; and Scollon’s (1998) voiced agents and agents of speaking; Irvine and Gal’s ‘iconisation’; and White’s (1997) ‘intensification’. The findings suggest that the debate has taken place primarily in Afrikaans, allowing little opportunity for counter-ideologies to be explored in the Afrikaans speaking community. This results in the construction and perpetuation of radicalised discourse, reminiscent of right-wing populist discourse (Wodak, 2015) in Die Burger. Furthermore, the findings indicate that both Die Burger and the Cape Times employ metaphors of war in their reporting. Die Burger’s overt use of the war metaphor is symptomatic of a loss of hegemony experienced in post-Apartheid South Africa, expressed as a loss of language (Blommaert, 2011). In the Cape Times, however, a variation of this war metaphor is subtly employed in recent years as a liberation discourse (Blommaert and Verschueren, 1998), by indexing race and transformation with language. The most salient finding suggests that while hard news reports seem to be neutral in tone, the iconisation of social actors, as well as the intensification of lexis are means for perspectivisation for both newspapers. In this thesis, it is argued that language is emblematic for larger socio-political insecurities experienced by a young democratic nation. Therefore, the ultimate aim of this study is to highlight the socio-linguistic complexity of South Africa to the international field of Linguistics. This thesis hopes to attract innovative and sustainable language policy and planning solutions for the linguistic and intellectual development of the multilingual South African population; while sustaining and further developing the Afrikaans language as an inclusive, creative, and academic language.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Hierdie proefskrif berig oor die manier waarop daar verslag gedoen is oor die Universiteit Stellenbosch se taaldebat in Engelse en Afrikaanse taalgemeenskappe deur die diskursiewe konstruksie daarvan in harde nuusberigte wat in die Suid-Afrikaanse daaglikse publikasies, Die Burger en die Cape Times gepubliseer is, te ondersoek. Die data wat vir die studie ingesamel is, strek van 1999 tot 2016. Herdie studie gebruik hoofsaaklik die diskoers-historiese benadering (Reisigl en Wodak, 2009) as die belangrikste analitiese instrument, in samewerking met die taalideologie teorie (Woolard, 1998). Addisionele diskursiewe strategieë word in die struktuur van die diskoers-historiese benadering gebruik, soos Fairclough (2003) se relasionele benadering tot tekste; en Scollon (1998) se stemhebbende agente en agente van praat; Irvine en Gal se ‘ikonisering’; en White se (1997) ‘intensivisering’. Die bevindings dui daarop dat die debat hoofsaaklik in Afrikaans plaasgevind het, en dat min geleenthede vir teen-ideologieë in die Afrikaanssprekende gemeenskap verken kan word. Dit lei tot die konstruksie en voortsetting van 'n radikale diskoers, wat ooreenkom met die regs se populistiese diskoers (Wodak, 2015) in Die Burger. Verder dui die bevindings daarop dat beide Die Burger en die Cape Times metafore van oorlog in hul verslagdoening gebruik. Die Burger se openlike en herhalende gebruik van die oorlogsmetafoor is simptomaties van 'n verlies van hegemonie uitgedruk as taalverlies (Blommaert, 2011). In die Cape Times is egter 'n variasie van hierdie oorlogsmetafoor in die afgelope jare subtiel in diens as 'n bevrydingsdiskoers (Blommaert en Verschueren, 1998), deur ras en transformasie met taal te ekwivaleer. Die mees opvallende bevinding dui daarop dat terwyl harde nuusverslae neutraal wil voorkom, die ikonisering van sosiale akteurs, sowel as die intensivisering van lexis, sterk perspektivisering vir beide koerante veroorsaak. In hierdie proefskrif word dit aanvaar dat taal simbolies is vir groter sosio-politieke onsekerhede wat deur ‘n jong demokratiese nasie ervaar word. Dus is die uiteindelike doel van hierdie studie om hierdie sosio-linguistiese kompleksiteit op die internasionale linguistiese veld te beklemtoon. Die hoofsaaklike hoop is om innoverende en volhoubare taalbeleid en beplanningsoplossings vir die taalkundige en intellektuele ontwikkeling van die veeltalige Suid-Afrikaanse bevolking te lok; insluitend die verdere ontwikkeling van die Afrikaanse taal as inklusiewe, kreatiewe en akademiese taal.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/105113
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