Vocational language learning and teaching at a South African university: Preparing professionals for multilingual contexts

Pamela Maseko, Russell Kaschula

Abstract


This paper highlights the methodology that has been used at Rhodes University and other South
African universities in implementing vocation-specific African language learning programmes.
Essentially, the paper links the curriculum design to the theoretical paradigm of intercultural
communication. Intercultural theory is used as a basis to develop vocation-specific courses where
language and culture are taught, for example, to second language learners of isiXhosa at Rhodes
University. These courses include courses for Pharmacy and Law students. This paper offers a new
theoretical paradigm for intercultural language teaching. Furthermore, examples from specific courses
are provided in order to illustrate how this theoretical paradigm can be implemented in a practical
way. The impact of multilingualism and intercultural communication in the wider legal and healthcare
work environment in South Africa is also discussed.
Keywords: vocational language learning, indigenous African languages, multilingualism, intercultural
communication, cultural awareness, cultural sensitivity, legal professional, health-care professional,
law, pharmacy

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5842/38-0-60

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ISSN 2224-3380 (online); 1726-541X (print)

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