1st Edition

The Ambiguity of English as a Lingua Franca Politics of Language and Race in South Africa

By Stephanie Rudwick Copyright 2022
    202 Pages
    by Routledge

    202 Pages
    by Routledge

    Grounded in ethnography, this monograph explores the ambiguity of English as a lingua franca by focusing on identity politics of language and race in contemporary South Africa. The book adopts a multidisciplinary approach which highlights how ways of speaking English constructs identities in a multilingual context. Focusing primarily on isiZulu and Afrikaans speakers, it raises critical questions around power and ideology. The study draws from literature on English as a lingua franca, raciolinguistics, and the cultural politics of English and dialogues between these fields. It challenges long-held concepts underpinning existing research from the global North by highlighting how they do not transfer and apply to identity politics of language in South Africa. It sketches out how these struggles for belonging are reflected in marginalisation and empowerment and a vast range of local, global and glocal identity trajectories. Ultimately, it offers a first lens through which global scholarship on English as a lingua franca can be decolonised in terms of disciplinary limitations, geopolitical orientations and a focus on the politics of race that characterize the use of English as a lingua franca all over the world. This book will be of interest to students and researchers in linguistic anthropology, sociolinguistics, World Englishes, ELF and African studies.

     1. Introduction: Framing the Study

    2. English in the World and as a Lingua Franca

    3. The Making of English as a Lingua Franca in South Africa

    4. Marginalisation and Empowerment

    5. Cosmopolitanism and Parochialism

    6. Linguistic Mobility and Racial Authenticity

    7. Gendered Ambiguities

    8. Disruption and Innovation

    9. Positionality and Reflexivity

    10. Conclusion: Moving the Centre






    Stephanie Rudwick is a linguistic anthropologist and interdisciplinarian in African Studies/Political Science at the University of Hradec Králové, Czech Republic and an honorary affiliate at the University of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. Her research focuses primarily on the sociocultural politics of language, race, ethnicity, and gender and she has published widely on these topics.