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Gender and Behaviour

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Contesting a linguistic space: A case in the teaching and learning of African languages in private schools

M.T. Babane, M.W. Maruma

Abstract


The paper aims to highlight a contesting linguistic space, investigating the impact and the significance of code-switching in the teaching and learning of African languages in private schools. This research was undertaken in three private schools in the Limpopo Province in South Africa. In these schools English is prescribed as the medium of instruction for all the content subjects from Grade R to Grade 12. This paper reports on code-switching which is a common linguistic phenomenon in the African languages teaching and learning classrooms. This term refers to an alternation of two or more languages by bilinguals in the same conversation. The study is qualitative in nature and was conducted in a natural setting of the participants. Data was collected through the use of both non-participant observation and in-depth interviews techniques. The findings from the observations and the interviews reveal that there is constant occurrence of code-switching from African languages to English by both the teacher and learners. This type of code-switching phenomenon is very strange because normally it was supposed to be from English to African languages and not versa visa. The paperr is important for the African languages teachers and learners in the language classroom to use African languages correctly, precisely and appropriately.

Keywords: Code-switching, Code-mixing, Language Interference, Language Usage/pPreference, Private Schools.




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