The English Language: Its Use, Abuse and Ultimate Fate

Like everything else, language also changes. It is a constant process. Nevertheless it performs a utilitarian purpose in allowing one to communicate succinctly and comprehensibly with another person. This fact is even more crucial when one or both of the parties to a conversation are conversing in English as a second language. Why should we be concerned? What is the future of English?  Continue reading

Official Language, Mother Tongue & Lingua Franca: How should these sensitivities be handled in a multicultural society?

A Personal View – April 2014

Theoretically in terms of the South African Constitution all languages are guaranteed equality of treatment but is it possible or even desirable in such a multilingual country with nine official languages?

A family history will illustrate how “transient” or flexible the language issue really is. My late maternal grandmother [nee Nel] was born in the 1870s to 1880s on a farm in the Middleburg District in the Eastern Cape. With a paucity of other white families in the area, her natural play mates were the children of the farm workers. Naturally Xhosa became her stronger language as most of her communication was with her friends, the black Xhosa speaking children on the farm. At the time her family spoke a pidgin version of Dutch which was prevalent at the time.

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Book Review: Charles Dickens’ England

A literary travelogue of Victorian England

Rating: 3 out of 5

The influence of Charles Dickens was undoubtedly great for two vastly different reasons; of course one was for his writing but the second was possibly more importantly was his expose of the injustices & iniquities of Victorian England. Roy Hattersley, ex Labour Party Member of Parliament, goes so far as to claim that his contribution was seminal in the awakening of the British conscience to the appalling conditions that were inflicted upon their less fortunate fellow citizens.

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