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International Journal of the Sociology of Language

Founded by Fishman, Joshua A.

Ed. by Garcia Otheguy, Ofelia / Duchêne, Alexandre / Coulmas, Florian

6 Issues per year

CiteScore 2016: 0.53

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2016: 0.505
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2016: 0.716

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Volume 2014, Issue 225


Language capital and development: the case of African language publishing for children in South Africa

Viv Edwards / Jacob Marriote Ngwaru
Published Online: 2013-12-03 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl-2013-0064


In recognizing 11 official languages, the 1996 South African Constitution provides a context for the management of diversity with important implications for the redistribution of wealth and power. The development and implementation of the language-in-education policies which might be expected to flow from the Constitution, however, have been slow and ineffective. One of the casualties of government procrastination has been African language publishing. In the absence of well-resourced bilingual education, most learners continue to be taught through the medium of English as a second language. Teachers are reluctant to use more innovative pedagogies without the support of adequate African language materials and publishers are cautious about producing such materials. Nonetheless, activity in this sector offers many opportunities for African language speakers. This paper explores the challenges and constraints for African language publishing for children and argues that market forces and language policy need to work in mutually reinforcing ways. Further progress is necessarily dependent on the political will to implement language-in-education policies that promote additive bilingualism and, in the process, guarantee sales for risk-averse publishers.

Keywords: South Africa; publishing; children's books; African languages

About the article

Published Online: 2013-12-03

Published in Print: 2014-01-01

Citation Information: International Journal of the Sociology of Language, Volume 2014, Issue 225, Pages 29–50, ISSN (Online) 1613-3668, ISSN (Print) 0165-2516, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/ijsl-2013-0064.

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©[2014] by Walter de Gruyter Berlin Boston. Copyright Clearance Center

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