Original Research

Careers in languages: Awareness by Grade 12 Tshivenḓa learners in Thembisa, Gauteng

Patricia T. Mphaphuli, Itani P. Mandende, Mashudu C. Mashige
Literator | Vol 45, No 1 | a1965 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v45i1.1965 | © 2024 Patricia T. Mphaphuli, Itani P. Mandende, Mashudu C. Mashige | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 06 September 2022 | Published: 29 May 2024

About the author(s)

Patricia T. Mphaphuli, Department of Applied Languages, Faculty of Humanities, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa
Itani P. Mandende, Department of Applied Languages, Faculty of Humanities, Tshwane University of Technology, Pretoria, South Africa
Mashudu C. Mashige, Faculty of Humanities, Social Sciences and Education, University of Venda, Thohoyandou, South Africa

Abstract

Home language learners exhibit negative attitudes towards South African indigenous languages. These languages are perceived as languages that are not beneficial in terms of upward mobility in the workplace. Being aware of the possibilities of studying South African indigenous languages can be a good motivation for learners. A positive attitude towards careers through South African indigenous languages could help to maintain and promote these languages, Tshivenḓa in particular. The study’s objective was to explore if learners and teachers from selected high schools in Thembisa, Gauteng province, were aware of careers that can be pursued through Tshivenḓa, and thus to help determine their perceptions towards their home language as a subject at schools. The study adopted a qualitative approach and a case study design that purposively sampled 16 participants. The findings indicated that Tshivenḓa learners are not exposed to possible language careers that can be pursued through South African indigenous languages. On the other hand, the findings revealed that teachers were aware of the possible careers in these languages. This study concluded that research must be undertaken to make high school learners aware of the available language careers in South African indigenous languages.

Contribution: The study closes the gap in career awareness by making learners and teachers in general, and Tshivenḓa L1 learners and teachers in particular, aware of possible careers that exist in South African indigenous language qualifications. The study highlights the need for producing more qualified language practitioners to promote previously marginalised South African indigenous languages and encourage learners to consider pursuing careers in these languages. It also encourages teachers to put more effort into the teaching of South African indigenous languages and for government departments to do more to promote South African indigenous languages by making sure that services are provided to the citizens in the languages that they understand better; as a result, this would create more job opportunities for language graduates, especially regarding the Tshivenḓa language.


Keywords

awareness; language careers; perception; ethnolinguistic vitality theory (EVT); Tshivenḓa learners

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