Bilingualism and language shift in Western Cape communities
AbstractThis paper considers a number of pertinent sociolinguistic aspects of a distinct process of languageshift recently noted in some historically Afrikaans first language (L1) communities established in theCape Metropolitan area. Particularly, it considers qualitatively how a number of families madedeliberate choices to change the family language from Afrikaans L1 to English L1. It elaborates on anexploratory study undertaken in 2003, adding data collected in 2008 and 2009, investigating linguisticrepertoire and language choice in a number of families where there has been contact between Englishand Afrikaans over a number of generations. The aim, eventually, is to characterise the nature of theperceived process of language shift. The paper considers how widespread use of both English andAfrikaans in communities that until recently were predominantly Afrikaans, impacts on linguisticidentities. It reports on structured interviews with members of three generations of families whocurrently exhibit English-Afrikaans bilingualism where members of the younger generation are morefluent in English. It finds that there is evidence of language shift, it reports on the circumstances thatmotivate such shift, and concludes that the third generation presents either a monolingual Englishidentity where Afrikaans has a decidedly second language status, or a strong English-dominantbilingual identity.Keywords : bilingualism, family language, language shift, language identity
- Authors retain copyright and grant the journal right of first publication with the work simultaneously licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution License that allows others to share the work with an acknowledgement of the work's authorship and initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are able to enter into separate, additional contractual arrangements for the non-exclusive distribution of the journal's published version of the work (e.g., post it to an institutional repository or publish it in a book), with an acknowledgement of its initial publication in this journal.
- Authors are permitted and encouraged to post their work online (e.g., in institutional repositories or on their website) prior to and during the submission process, as it can lead to productive exchanges, as well as earlier and greater citation of published work (See The Effect of Open Access).