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Second Language Acquisition (SLA)

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Xhosa Communication Skills Course For Staff And Students

Description of the Project
This project aims to promote multilingual awareness and multilingual proficiency among staff and students as required by the National Language Policy for Higher Education (2002). To this end, the university has, through the Multilingualism Education Project, initiated the Xhosa Communication Skills Course for staff and students. The choice of Xhosa is based on the fact that this language is one of the major indigenous African languages spoken in the Western Cape.

Aims of the Project:
The Project has three important objectives:

  • to equip members of staff and students with basic proficiency in Xhosa,

  • to train tutors for teaching the course, and

  • to develop teaching materials for the course.

Rationale and Motivation
According to the National Language Policy for Higher Education (2002), tertiary Education institutions are expected to introduce Communication Skills courses to promote multilingualism among staff and students. The Xhosa Communication Skills course is aimed at achieving this objective. The learning of Xhosa is essential for the University as it is situated in a Province where this language one of the major official languages (the others are English and Afrikaans). The knowledge of this language is indispensable for staff in their interaction with students and the surrounding Xhosa speaking communities in the Province.

The course is also important for students as it equips them with language and communication skills to function in multilingual and multicultural contexts during and after completing their study programmes.

The Multilingualism Education Project also forms part of the university transformation strategy. The learning of isiXhosa is believed that the Xhosa Communication Skills course will significantly contribute to the realisation of this objective. It is an established fact that the learning of another language does not only equip one with communicative competence, but also helps to remove social barriers.