The promotion of linguistic diversity in multilingual settings
Policy and reality in post-apartheid South Africa
The South African case raises a number of important issues of concern for those interested in language policy and language planning: issues of multilingualism, linguistic diversity, linguistic integration, linguistic equity, and language rights. South Africa is fascinating for those interested in matters of language because it is characterized by elements of both the ‘developed’ and the ‘developing’ worlds, and thus, to some extent, provides us with a microcosm of the broader international issues related to language. In the years since the 1994 election, South Africa has begun seriously and thoughtfully to address many of the challenges related to language and language policy that will face virtually all societies in the next century. Its experiences in this regard are both telling and significant, and have far broader implications for other societies. This article provides a brief discussion of the historical use of language policy and language planning in the South African context, and explores recent developments in South Africa with respect to language policy. Finally, it identifies and discusses possible lessons for efforts to promote linguistic diversity in multilingual settings.
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