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The impact of family language policy (FLP) on the conservation of minority languages in Zimbabwe

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dc.contributor.advisor Mutasa, D. E.
dc.contributor.advisor Nakin, R.M. Maseko, Busani 2017-03-16T15:01:08Z 2017-03-16T15:01:08Z 2016-11
dc.identifier.citation Maseko, Busani (2016) The impact of family language policy (FLP) on the conservation of minority languages in Zimbabwe, University of South Africa, Pretoria, <> en
dc.description.abstract This study investigates the impact of Family Language Policy (FLP) on the conservation of minority languages in Zimbabwe. Family language policy is a newly emerging sub field of language planning and policy which focuses on the explicit and overt planning in relation to language use within the home among family members. The study is therefore predicated on the view that the conservation of any minority language largely depends on intergenerational transmission of the particular language. Intergenerational transmission is dependent in part, on the language practices in the home and therefore on family language policy. To understand the nature, practice and negotiation of family language policy in the context of minority language conservation, the study focuses on the perspectives of a sample of 34 L1 Kalanga parents and 28 L1 Tonga parents, who form the main target population. In this study, parents are considered to be the ‘authorities’ within the family, who have the capacity to articulate and influence language use and language practices. Also included in this study are the perspectives of language and culture associations representing minority languages regarding their role in the conservation of minority languages at the micro community level. Representatives of Kalanga Language and Cultural Development Association (KLCDA), Tonga Language and Culture Committee (TOLACCO) as well Zimbabwe Indigenous Languages Promotion Association (ZILPA) were targeted. This research takes on a qualitative approach. Methodologically, the study deployed the interview as the main data collection tool. Semi structured interviews were conducted with L1 Kalanga and L1 Tonga parents while unstructured interviews were conducted with the representatives of language and culture associations. This study deploys the language management theory and the reversing language shift theory as the analytical lenses that enable the study to understand the mechanics of family language policy and their impact on intergenerational transmission of minority languages in Zimbabwe. Language management theory allows for the extendibility of the tenets of language policy into the family domain and specifically affords the study to explore the dialectics of parental language ideologies and family language practices in the context of minority language conservation in Zimbabwe. The reversing language shift theory also emphasises the importance of the home domain in facilitating intergenerational transmission of minority languages. Findings of the study demonstrate that family language policy is an important aspect in intergenerational transmission of minority languages, itself a nuanced and muddled process. The research demonstrates that there is a correlation between parental language ideologies and parental disposition to articulate and persue a particular kind of family language policy. In particular, the study identified a pro-minority home language and pro- bilingual family language policies as the major parental language ideologies driving family language policies. However, the research reveals that parental language ideologies and parental explicitly articulated family language polices alone do not guarantee intergenerational transmission of minority languages, although they are very pertinent. This, as the study argues, is because family language policy is not immune to external language practices such as the school language policy or the wider language policy at the macro state level. Despite parents being the main articulators of family language policy, the study found out that in some instances, parental ideologies do not usually coincide with children’s practices. The mismatch between parental preferences and their children’s language practices at home are a reproduction, in the home, of extra familial language practices. This impacts family language practices by informing the child resistant agency to parental family language policy, leading to a renegotiation of family language policy. The research also demonstrates that parents, especially those with high impact beliefs are disposed to take active steps, or to employ language management strategies to realise their desired language practices in the home. The study demonstrates that these parental strategies may succeed in part, particularly when complemented by an enabling sociolinguistic environment beyond the home. The articulation of a pro-Tonga only family language policy was reproduced in the children’s language practices, while the preference for a pro- bilingual family language policy by the majority L1 Kalanga parents was snubbed for a predominantly Ndebele-only practice by their children. In most cases, the research found out that language use in formal domains impacted on the success of FLP. Tonga is widely taught in Schools within Binga districts while Kalanga is not as widespread in Bulilima and Mangwe schools. Ndebele is the most widespread language in Bulilima and Mangwe schools. As such; children of L1 Kalanga parents tend to evaluate Kalanga negatively while having positive associations with Ndebele. All these language practices are deemed to impact on family language policy and therefore on intergenerational transmission of minority languages in Zimbabwe. The desire by parents for the upward mobility of children results in them capitulating to the wider socio political reality and therefore to the demands of their children in terms of language use in the home. The study therefore concludes that family language policy is an important frontier in the fight against language shift and language endangerment, given the importance of the home in intergenerational transmission of minority languages. The study therefore implores future research to focus on this very important but largely unresearched sub field of language policy. The study observes that most researches have focused on the activities of larger state institutions and organisations and how they impact on minority language conservation, to the detriment of the uncontestable fact that the survival of any language depends on the active use of the language by the speakers. The research also recommends that future practice of language policy should not attempt to promote minority languages by discouraging the use of other majority languages, but rather, speakers should embrace bilingualism as a benefit and a resource and not as a liability. The interaction between the top down state language policy and the bottom up micro family language policy should be acknowledged and exploited, in such a way that the two can be deployed as complementary approaches in minority language conservation. en
dc.format.extent 1 online resource (xvii, 278 leaves) en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject Family language policy en
dc.subject Minority languages en
dc.subject Language conservation en
dc.subject Language ideologies en
dc.subject Language practices en
dc.subject Language management en
dc.subject Home domain en
dc.subject Intergenerational transmission en
dc.subject Reversing language shift en
dc.subject L1 Kalanga parents en
dc.subject L1 Tonga parents en
dc.subject.ddc 409.689
dc.subject.lcsh Language and culture -- Zimbabwe en
dc.subject.lcsh Language planning -- Zimbabwe en
dc.subject.lcsh Language policy -- Zimbabwe en
dc.subject.lcsh Linguistic minorities -- Zimbabwe en
dc.subject.lcsh Zimbabwe -- Languages -- Political aspects en
dc.title The impact of family language policy (FLP) on the conservation of minority languages in Zimbabwe en
dc.type Thesis en
dc.description.department Linguistics and Modern Languages en D. Litt. et Phil. (Languages, Linguistics and Literature)

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