Linguistic Imperial Ambiance: Locating the Place of Xitsonga in a Stratified South African Context
The power inherited by the colonial languages in many African countries is not nearing to an end. In many multilingual societies, the majority and minority languages do not enjoy equal linguistic rights. Linguistic rights refers to a series of obligations on state authorities to either use certain language(s) in numerous situations or not interfere with the linguistic choices and expressions of private parties. The linguistic diversity of South Africa and the power of English over the African languages need to be harnessed for the development of the endoglossic languages. This paper seeks primarily to explore the linguistic human rights and highlight how to harness the power of English in South African private and public domains. The paper analyses the language choice and usage in order to determine the extent to which language rights of the minority languages are observed. The paper argues that the extent through which the previously marginalised languages are empowered and developed is very minimal. This phenomenon is exacerbated by the negative attitudes by some speakers of African languages themselves and speakers of other languages. The research is qualitative in nature and observation and in-depth interviews techniques were used to collect the data. The research found that to a large extent language rights of the speakers of African languages are violated because of the levels of language dominance that promote English only at the expense of their mother tongues. This domination of English is magnificent in all the important domains of the peoples’ linguistic space. The paper recommends for a balance language usage in all the dominions in order to enhance the linguistic rights and promotions.
Keywords - Language, Linguistic rights, Harnessing, Multilingualism,