Original Research

Learners’ attitudes towards the recognition and development of isiBhaca in the education space in Umzimkhulu, KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa

Yanga L.P. Majola, Thabo Ditsele, Madoda Cekiso
Literator | Vol 40, No 1 | a1607 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v40i1.1607 | © 2019 Thabo Ditsele | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 30 March 2019 | Published: 30 September 2019

About the author(s)

Yanga L.P. Majola, Department of Applied Languages, Tshwane University of Technology, Soshanguve South Campus, Pretoria, South Africa
Thabo Ditsele, Department of Applied Languages, Tshwane University of Technology, Soshanguve South Campus, Pretoria, South Africa
Madoda Cekiso, Department of Applied Languages, Tshwane University of Technology, Soshanguve South Campus, Pretoria, South Africa


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Abstract

Attitudes towards varieties of a language have been an issue in educational contexts. For example, it is generally said that societies have a positive attitude towards the standard variety and a negative attitude towards the non-standard varieties of a language. The attitudes towards language varieties can affect their use in education and can have an impact on learners’ learning and achievement. In some contexts, learners hold a view that dialect-speaking learners have lower academic potential than learners speaking the standard dialect. The learners’ attitudes have significant implications for the use of dialects in the classroom as it can determine the value and emphasis given to the dialect in education. Therefore, this article establishes the attitudes held by learners towards the recognition and development of isiBhaca in the education space in Umzimkhulu. Using mixed methods, the study followed a survey research design. Data were gathered from 128 purposively selected learners from Grades 6 and 7 at six schools in Umzimkhulu. Mean scores about the belief statements were calculated in order to analyse the quantitative data, whereas the qualitative data were analysed thematically. The study found that learners held positive attitudes towards the recognition and development of isiBhaca in the education space, although they were unsure as to whether this recognition should extend to the language being given official status in the provinces of KwaZulu-Natal and the Eastern Cape, where it has a significant number of home language speakers.

Keywords

anguage attitudes; non-official language; isiBhaca; education; KwaZulu-Natal.

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