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South African Journal of African Languages

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Attitudes held by Setswana L1-speaking university students toward their L1: New variables

Thabo Ditsele

Abstract


The aim of this survey was to establish the attitudes held by South African Setswana L1-speaking university students toward their L1, as no survey has up to date been conducted exclusively among university students whose L1 is Setswana, whether in South Africa or Botswana. The random sampling method was used to gather data from 247 students who studied at public and private universities in Gauteng province, South Africa, using mixed methods. Four variables were tested, namely: Competence in Setswana; Linguality; Location of nurture; and Type of university attended. Means, chi-square test and percentages were used to analyse data, and means showed that all variables favourably influenced respondents’ attitudes toward their L1, albeit to varying degrees with Competence in Setswana being the most influential. However, the chi-square test showed that such influence was not statistically significant (p ≤ 0.05). Respondents believed that their L1 had limitations in wider society; and that it had prestige, albeit a covert one. Generally, they held favourable attitudes toward their L1. Further comprehensive research needs to be done to explore these new variables, as well as to explore their statistical significance in language attitude studies.




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