Inferences of social change in Sibiya’s novel Bengithi lizokuna (‘I thought it would rain’)

  • Rose Masubelele


Literature in sociolinguistics has provided numerous examples of the use of code-switching in natural languages. In this article the author asserts that code switching has been used in the novel Bengithi lizokuna (‘I thought it would rain’) by N Sibiya, as an indication of change in society. In the past, the mixing of codes was not readily embraced by some members of Zulu society, especially by reviewers for publishing houses. The contention was that the introduction of foreign elements would contaminate the language in one way or another and would also lower the standard. However, in the case of Sibiya’s novel, contentious language use such as code-switching was accepted by the publishers as it was recognised as a functional strategy. The different uses of code-switching in the novel will be examined to determine what they might reveal about contemporary Zulu society. The findings revealed that Zulu society is no longer monolingual, but bilingual and this goes hand in hand with being erudite, elitist and classy. Furthermore, the use of code switching also reveals that Zulu society has adopted tendencies that were not practised in the past. Critical discourse analysis underpins the arguments that are made regarding language use in the novel.


Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2305-1159
print ISSN: 0257-2117