1st Edition

Languages, Identities and Intercultural Communication in South Africa and Beyond

By Russell H Kaschula Copyright 2022
    286 Pages
    by Routledge

    286 Pages
    by Routledge

    African countries and South Africa in particular, being multilingual and multicultural societies, make for exciting sociolinguistic and applied language analysis in order to tease out the complex relationship between language and identity. This book applies sociolinguistic theory, as well as critical language awareness and translanguaging with its many facets, to various communicative scenarios, both on the continent and in South Africa, in an accessible and practical way.

    Africa lends itself to such sociolinguistic analysis concerning language, identity and intercultural communication. This book reflects consciously on the North–South debate and the need for us to create our own ways of interpretation emanating from the South and speaking back to the North, and on issues that pertain to the South, including southern Africa. Aspects such as language and power, language planning, policy and implementation, culture, prejudice, social interaction, translanguaging, intercultural communication, education, gender and autoethnography are covered.

    This is a valuable resource for students studying African sociolinguistics, language and identity, and applied language studies. Anyone interested in the relationship between language and society on the African continent would also find the book easily accessible.

    Table of Contents




    Chapter 1

    Language policies, identities and African nations

    ‘Language checks and balances’

    Chapter 2

    Languages, identities, politics and power

    ‘Speaking back to power’

    Chapter 3

    Languages, dialects, identities and varieties

    ‘Tower of Babel: Speaking in tongues’

    Chapter 4

    Languages, identities and cultures

    ‘What’s orange for you is red for me!’

    Chapter 5

    Linguistic prejudice and identities

    ‘To speak or not to speak?’

    Chapter 6

    Languages, identities and gender

    Wathint’ umfazi wathint’ imbokodo – You strike a woman; you strike a rock!’

    Chapter 7

    Languages, identities, power, multilingualism and education

    Thetha, bua, khuluma, speak: your language or mine?’

    Chapter 8

    Intercultural communication, identities and workplaces

    ‘A smile is a smile in any language’

    Chapter 9

    Languages, power and identity in creative contexts: The Trevor Noah effect

    ‘Born a Crime’

    Chapter 10

    Languages and identities: A personal journey

    Umntu ngumntu ngabantu – a person exists by virtue of others!’

    Chapter 11


    Phela-phela ngantsomi, our story is done’


    Select identity definitions

    Further reading




    Russell H. Kaschula is Professor of African Language Studies at the University of the Western Cape. His expertise is in the fields of applied language studies and sociolinguistics (specifically related to African languages), African oral and written literature, mother tongue and second language acquisition, and creative writing. He has taught at five South African universities and at an institution in the United States.

    This book makes essential and enlightening reading in the context of overcoming the ‘coloniality’-based Northern bias in our perspective on the Global South in general, and on postcolonial Africa in particular, and by giving language its proper place among the most salient factors in the processes of (mental) decolonization, societal transformation and sustainable economic development.                                                                     -- H. Ekkehard Wolff, Emeritus Professor & Chair (African linguistics), Leipzig University, Germany

    A ground - breaking and timely contribution to African sociolinguistics. A must-read for anyone who has a keen interest in languages, language practice, multilingualism, intercultural studies and identities …

    -- Monwabisi K. Ralarala, Professor and Dean (Faculty of Arts and Humanities), University of the Western Cape, South Africa