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Patterns of Language Use and Language Preference of some Children and their Parents in Botswana

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Abstract

This paper examines the patterns of language use and language preference of some children aged 6–15 and their parents at the University of Botswana. The results indicate that the majority of the children speak Setswana and English, despite the fact that they come from different language groups. However, Setswana, the national language, is the more widely spoken. Very few of the children speak languages such as Ikalanga, Otjiherero and Sesotho and other minority languages. The language preferences of the children and their parents differ. Although many of the children speak two or three languages, they prefer only one – Setswana. However, the parents of the children prefer them to speak English rather than Setswana, especially in the school and playground. They also prefer their children not to speak English at home, although the children actually do so. Children from other language groups prefer English to their mother tongues. Generally, the study shows the continued growth of Setswana and English, and the gradual decline of the other local languages, except Ikalanga. The government is reported to be considering introducing a third language as a medium of instruction in the hope that it will stop the decline of minority languages.

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Chapter
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An informative sociolinguistic and sociopolitical description and analysis of language attitudes in sub-Saharan Africa. The book emphasizes the strong ideological and polemical view that multilingualism in sub-Saharan Africa should seen as a resource and an asset. It argues, therefore, that African indigenous languages need to empowered for greater functions to ensure effective mass mobilization, literacy, and total and original self-actualization.
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