Original Research

Exploring intellectualisation of South African indigenous languages for academic purposes

Matefu L. Mabela, Thabo Ditsele
Literator | Vol 45, No 1 | a1980 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.4102/lit.v45i1.1980 | © 2024 Matefu L. Mabela, Thabo Ditsele | This work is licensed under CC Attribution 4.0
Submitted: 04 December 2022 | Published: 29 February 2024

About the author(s)

Matefu L. Mabela, Department of Applied Languages, Faculty of Humanities, Tshwane University of Technology, Tshwane, South Africa
Thabo Ditsele, Department of Applied Languages, Faculty of Humanities, Tshwane University of Technology, Tshwane, South Africa

Abstract

Language represents an individual’s identity in many respects. It is a natural ability of any average person that they use to express thoughts and ideas, investigate their traditions and experiences, and better their community and the laws that govern it. The ability to choose the official language was acknowledged in the Bill of Rights, and the Constitution acknowledges that indigenous languages are a commodity which has not been fully used. By studying the difficulties of intellectualising indigenous languages in modern South Africa, this research aims to promote the usage and enhance the prestige of indigenous languages. The challenge in basic education in South Africa is that South African indigenous languages are not prioritised. Moreover, there appears to be a disconnection between language policy and implementation.

Contribution: A document analysis was undertaken to review literature on the possibility of intellectualising South African indigenous languages by considering various theories and methods of terminology development, including interborrowing within South African indigenous languages and adaptation of some English and Afrikaans words as already entrenched languages in education.


Keywords

intellectualisation; African languages development; terminology development; language policy and planning; word coinage; terminology theory

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