Epistemological access through lecture materials in multiple modes and language varieties: the role of ideologies and multilingual literacy practices in student evaluations of such materials at a South African University

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 4
  • Abstract:

    This paper seeks to address the ways in which ideology and literacy practices shape the responses of students to an ongoing initiative at the University of the Western Cape aimed at diversifying options for epistemological access, specifically the language varieties and the modes in which parts of the curriculum for a third year linguistics module are delivered. Students’ responses to the materials in English and in two varieties of Afrikaans and isiXhosa (as mediated in writing vs orally) are determined, and used as basis to problematize decisions on language variety and mode in language diversification initiatives in Higher Education in South Africa. The findings of the paper are juxtaposed against particular group interests in the educational use of a language as well as differences in the affordances and impact of different modes of language use. The paper suggests that beyond the euphoria of using languages other than English in South African Higher Education, several issues (such as entrenched language practices, beliefs and language management orientations) require attention if the goals of transformation in this sector are to be attained.