Language, identity and nationhood: language use and attitudes among Xhosa students at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa
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This thesis is a study of patterns of language attitudes and use among Xhosa home language speakers at the University of the Western Cape, South Africa. Speakers of Xhosa, according to Statistics South Africa 2000, form the second largest speech community in South Africa (17.9% of the total population), second only to speakers of Zulu (22.9% of the total population). The University of the Western Cape, which is situated just outside Cape Town, was originally intended to serve only the Coloured (mixed-race) population of South Africa. Coloureds form the majority group in the population of the Western Cape, one of the nine provinces of South Africa. In 1982, the university took the bold step of defying the apartheid regime, by opening its doors to students of all races. Students from all over South Africa now attend the university, but Xhosa students, drawn mainly from the provinces of the Eastern and Western Cape, form the largest language group or speech community on the campus. The thesis presents a study of the patterns of language attitudes and use with which Xhosa students enter the university, as well as patterns of change in language attitudes and use revealed by a longitudinal study of a smaller group of Xhosa students.