South Africa - Diverse in Culture but Could Be Unified in Language

Topics: English language, South Africa, Africa Pages: 4 (1318 words) Published: October 8, 1999
South Africa is diverse in culture but could be unified in language. English should be South Africa's unifying language. It is necessary to understand what nationhood is, so that you the reader realise that a national language does not alter a nation. It binds the nation. I will also discuss South Africa's diverse cultures and how a unifying language can merge these cultures. Lastly, I will demonstrate the links between language and identity.

The concept of a nation is not easily defined.
"Nationalism is a deeply contradictory enterprise."
(P Brooker, 1999,148).

Our nation is one that has been formed over many years and languages have been brought to us through imperialism, immigrants and time. We have to accept that, "for most nations of the world to escape the profound experience of imperialism would be in fact to escape their own actual history" (P Brooker, 1999,148). We cannot deny that there is an assortment of language, which abound this nation. However, we need to choose one unifying language, which we can all use. This is essential for purposes of communication and mediation, which I will discuss later. This national language would be the only official language and English would be the unifying language.

Identity is an ever-changing concept. South Africans sexuality, class, gender, race and even language determine our identity.
"Contemporary identities can therefore be fluid or consciously delimited. Any number of factors are likely to be under negotiation in either case; whether of religion, nation, language, political ideology or cultural expression" (P Brooker, 1999,109).

Our South African identity is one which has changed through imperialism and it is one that has changed through apartheid and it is one which will continue changing in order to progress therefore a national language such as English can become a part of this ever changing south African identity. A national language will...

References:

  • Achebe, C. (1975) 'The African writer and the English language ' in Morning Yet on Creation Day London: Heinemann, 55-62

  • Bochner, S. (1982) 'Cultures in Contact ' Studies in cross-cultural interaction: Pergamon Press, 99-125

  • Cameron, D. (1995) 'Civility and its discontents: language and the "political correctness" in Verbal Hygiene London: Routledge, 116-211

  • Kachru, B. (1980) ‘The pragmatics of non-native varieties of English ', Macmillan, 194-210

  • Wade, JP. (1999) ‘The idea of an "African Identity" ignores the facts ', The Mercury, 5 November 1999
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