Accommodating multilingualism in IT classrooms in the Free State province1

  • Jako Olivier


This article explores the language context of Information Technology (IT) classes in the Free State province. An overview of the multilingual context within which the research was done is provided through a brief historical background of language accommodation and recognition in South Africa in general, and then specifically in schools. Attention is paid to the role of English in contrast to that  of the other official languages as well as code-switching as a method of accommodating multilingualism. Details are also provided on the language requirements of the subject Information Technology. Through questionnaires completed by Information Technology teachers and an interview with the provincial subject specialist, the language profiles of teachers and learners are explored and current multilingual practice is described. It is determined that Information Technology classes in the Free State province are multilingual by  nature and that some accommodation of multilingualism is done by teachers through code-switching, but that not all teachers are able to do this. Finally, based on the response of the provincial subject specialist, it is clear that increased multilingual accommodation is necessary in Information Technology as adequate knowledge of English is required in addition to mother tongue instruction.

Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies 2011, 29(2): 209–220

Author Biography

Jako Olivier
School of Languages, Potchefstroom Campus of the North-West University, Private Bag x6001, Potchefstroom, 2520, South Africa

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 1727-9461
print ISSN: 1607-3614