Original Research

Testing the impact of known variables on the attitudes held by Setswana L1-speaking university students towards their L1

Thabo Ditsele
Literator | Vol 38, No 1 | a1301 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v38i1.1301 | © 2017 Thabo Ditsele | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 21 April 2016 | Published: 28 June 2017

About the author(s)

Thabo Ditsele, Department of Applied Languages, Tshwane University of Technology, South Africa


Previous language attitudes studies among public university students in South Africa have shown that these five variables – gender, age group, year of study, level of study and field of study – influence students’ attitudes towards languages. Thus, the aim of this survey was to establish if testing these variables on Setswana L1-speaking university students (n = 247) will confirm previous studies, seeing that this is the first study to gather data exclusively among Setswana L1-speaking university students at five universities (both public and private) in Tshwane and Johannesburg up to doctoral level. Never before had data been gathered among students at private universities in South Africa, and this gap had weakened generalisations that previous surveys could make about all university students. Mixed methods were used to gather data, which were analysed using means, chi-square test and percentages. The five variables were tested for statistical significance in influencing language attitudes. All but one variable (gender) had statistically significant relationships (p ≤ 0.05) with at least one of the closed-ended questions. Generally, respondents valued their L1 and deemed it relevant in their lives and society they live in.


Setswana; language attitudes; first language; university students; African languages


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