Language policy and speech practice in Cape Town: An exploratory public health sector study

Williams M. ; Bekker S. (2008)


Public language policy in South Africa recognises 11 official spoken languages. In Cape Town, and in the Western Cape, three of these eleven languages have been selected for equal recognition in the public sphere. This exploratory study of Cape Town aims to establish the gap between this policy and speech practice in the public health system. Qualitative field results suggest that English and Afrikaans continue to predominate in this system, to the detriment of isiXhosa. Where medical interpreters are available, the state health services appear to be superior, particularly for unilingual isiXhosa speakers. Most facilities are however without officially trained interpreters. Copyright © 2008 NISC Pty Ltd.

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