A language in decline ? :a constrastive study of the use of, and motivation and de-motivation for, learning Afrikaans among two groups of learners at an English medium high school in Cape Town, South Africa
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Afrikaans in practice replaced Dutch and became one of South Africa's official languages (along with English) from 1925. It reached the apex of its development and influence during the years of Nationalist party rule and the apartheid regime as a language of officialdom, of the judiciary and education. However, in 1994 nine African languages were afforded official status along with English and Afrikaans in South Africa. Presently, Afrikaans is still taught in the majority of schools in the Western Cape as either a first or second language. This thesis compares and contrasts the language attitudes and motivation towards Afrikaans in two groups of secondary school learners - grade eight and grade eleven learners - at the same school, viz. the Settlers' High School in Parow, a northern suburb of Cape Town, South Africa. At this English medium school, Afrikaans as a second language is a compulsory subject. The thesis also examines the dominant ideologies held towards Afrikaans by the learners and by the school in question which contributes towards shaping their attitudes and motivations for learning the language as well as their actual use of the language. The study finds a correlation between the learners' attitudes towards Afrikaans and their actual patterns of use of the language, which indicates that the use of Afrikaans may be in decline among especially the younger, grade eight, learners.
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