An evaluation of the opinions of students enrolled in Sesotho modules at the University of the Free State
Keywords:Exoglossic, Indigenous language, Marginalisation, Mixed-methods, Methodological triangulation
The lack of equivalence between African languages on the one hand and Afrikaans and English on the other hand under the governments that ruled South Africa until the collapse of apartheid has seriously undermined the status of African languages. Indigenous South Africans experienced decades of marginalisation – so much, in fact, that many, including African scholars, have come to view the study and use of African languages in education in an unfavourable light. Even more astounding is the view that Africans who study African languages beyond secondary school are regarded as “academically weak”. The perception that scholars studying African languages do not meet the requirements has resulted in fewer Africans studying their indigenous languages in school. This article aims to explore students’ attitudes towards Sesotho and probe the factors linked to students’ attitudes. The study employs a mix-methods research approach for data elicitation. Methodological triangulation (questionnaire and interviews) was used to maximise the validity and credibility of the findings. The conclusion of this study is that most of the students have a positive attitude towards Sesotho at the University of the Free State. Students feel that Sesotho should be developed meaningfully so that it can be used as a medium of instruction in classes. Students overwhelmingly support the notion of meaningful development of indigenous languages (such as Sesotho) so that they can contribute to the development of South Africa. The data in this study also suggest that indigenous languages should not be allowed to die out.
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