Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
More options …

International Journal of the Sociology of Language

Founded by Fishman, Joshua A.

Ed. by Duchêne, Alexandre / Coulmas, Florian

CiteScore 2018: 1.10

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2018: 1.062
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2018: 0.933

See all formats and pricing
More options …
Volume 2013, Issue 224


Afrikaans in contact with English: endangered language or case of exceptional bilingualism?

Susan Coetzee-Van Rooy
Published Online: 2013-11-21 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl-2013-0060


At present, discussions about potential language shift from African languages or Afrikaans to English are widespread in South Africa. This article focuses on the position of Afrikaans. Researchers interested in the position of Afrikaans today hold different views and there are some methodological problems with current studies. The main aim of this article is to problematize claims of language shift among Afrikaans speakers by analyzing relevant data from a larger scale survey of the language repertoires of an identified Afrikaans population (n = 244) in the Vaal Triangle region. The research method involved the adaptation of language history or experience questionnaires designed by bilingualism researchers to describe the language repertoires of a large population of multilingual students. The main findings of the study are that: (a) Afrikaans-English bilingualism (and bi-literacy) is prominent among the Afrikaans participants in the study; (b) the position of English as an important language in the bilingual repertoires of the participants is confirmed; and (c) Afrikaans seems firmly set as the language that contributes most to the identity of these participants. A pattern of stable bilingualism and bi-literacy emerges. The value of adding larger scale quantitative studies to complement smaller, qualitative studies in discussions of language shift and maintenance is confirmed by this study. The impact of the omission of Afrikaans-English bilingualism in the debate about Afrikaans is discussed.

Keywords: Afrikaans-English bilingualism; language maintenance; shift; repertoire; South Africa

About the article

North-West University, South Africa

Published Online: 2013-11-21

Published in Print: 2013-11-20

Citation Information: International Journal of the Sociology of Language, Volume 2013, Issue 224, Pages 179–207, ISSN (Online) 1613-3668, ISSN (Print) 0165-2516, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl-2013-0060.

Export Citation

©[2013] by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston.Get Permission

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in