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Multilingualism from Below : Studies in Language Policy in South Africa - Elex Academic Bookstore

Multilingualism from Below : Studies in Language Policy in South Africa

  • R 515.00

Standard accounts of language policy and language planning tend to portray language users all too often as the 'passive receivers' of linguistic decisions taken at the higher levels of state organization. Conversely, those who are supposed to 'live' the language policies never really appear to submissively 'implement' them, but, appropriating them, steer them in novel, unforeseen directions through their everyday language practices and their discursive perceptions and interpretations of linguistic realities. It is these dialectic processes of interaction between what is designed from above and how it is responded to from below which give shape to societies' overall patterns of multilingualism. Multilingualism from below resulted from the Second International MIDP Symposium, "Multilingualism from below", held in Antwerp (Belgium) from 14 to 16 September 2009, and hosted jointly by the University of Antwerp, the University of the Free State (South Africa) and the University of Ghent (Belgium). The symposium comprised part of the MIDP colloquia series sponsored by the Province of Antwerp, and brought together several scholars from Africa, America and Europe, as well as from South Africa. The selected papers included in this, the eighth volume in the Van Schaik series, "Studies in language policy in South Africa", critically reflect on themes such as multilingualism and agency; multilingualism and language ideology construction; the management of multilingualism, etc. The diversity of the contributions to this volume underscores the fact that the construction of multilingualism is a complex process of dialectical exchange between top-down and bottom-up actors. Decision making and implementation by agents at grass roots level are affected by non-explicit language ideologies, impacting on the fluidity of both individual and societal multilingualism. In light of this, researchers need to adapt their research approach when investigating language practices on grass roots level. This includes a careful consideration of the concepts 'code switching' or 'code selection' from below. With Multilingualism from below, the editors hope to evoke further discussion on the themes covered in this volume, as well as the opinions expressed by its contributors. The book is particularly directed at readers interested in the intricate relations between language and society, but it can also be used effectively as an important reference work in courses in language policy and language planning with a South African, African, or global focus.

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