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The feasibility of Northern Sotho as a language of commerce and industry in the Limpopo and Gauteng provinces

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dc.contributor.author Phaahla, Pinkie
dc.date.accessioned 2008-07-08T13:12:15Z
dc.date.available 2008-07-08T13:12:15Z
dc.date.issued 2008-07-08T13:12:15Z
dc.date.submitted November 2006
dc.identifier.uri http://hdl.handle.net/10210/781
dc.description.abstract The main objectives of this study are to investigate the feasibility of using Northern Sotho as a language of commerce and industry and to determine the extent to which the environment favours the use of Northern Sotho as a language of marketing, advertising, business and acquiring entrepreneurial skills. The investigation is characterised by a two-pronged approach to data collection: a questionnaire survey and focus group interviews. A wealth of data was produced by these means. The data from the first phase were captured and decoded in categories set out in frequency tables. The categories were reduced to thematic constructs. Data from the second phase were captured and encoded in transcripts that were later decoded and reduced to themes, categories and sub-categories. The identified themes are consolidated as follows: · The exclusive hegemonic use of English or Afrikaans as a communication barrier to non-native speakers of these languages in commerce and industry · Socio-economic background of respondents · Existence of language policies for workers in commerce and industry · Dispositions of mother-tongue speakers of Northern Sotho and other languages towards the prospective development and use of Northern Sotho as a language of commerce and industry · Feasibility of developing Northern Sotho lexicography and terminology for the purposes of commerce and industry. The question here is: How does one determine feasibility? Before this issue could be addressed another important and sensitive matter had to be considered: to determine whether native speakers of Northern Sotho and the other South African languages are favourably disposed towards the prospective development and use of Northern Sotho as a language of commerce and industry. A negligible percentage of respondents expressed negative sentiments in this regard (cf. outcomes of focus group interviews). A distinct majority (64,7%) of respondents who filled in questionnaires was not favourably disposed but a significant minority (35,3%) was positive. However, it should be noted that the questionnaire was not designed to reveal explicit allegiances; hence responses in this regard are somewhat open to interpretation. The first step towards determining the feasibility of developing and using Northern Sotho as a language of commerce and industry was to determine the current situation in this regard. English and Afrikaans were naturally found to be dominant in commerce and industry while Northern Sotho was used among friends and colleagues in informal situations. Only 3% of the respondents to the questionnaire survey indicated that they used Northern Sotho for transactional purposes in commercial and industrial settings, while 46,8% reported using a smattering of Northern Sotho in a variety of situations. The second step was to determine the effects that could be expected on the current hegemonic use of English or Afrikaans as languages of commerce and industry. Most respondents reported that a lack of proficiency in English prevented them from performing well in their jobs in commerce and industry and some reported that it had been a significant impediment to their efforts to secure employment. In most instances they had no option but to use English to interact with potential employers because it was the only language in common use in commercial and industrial settings. The third step was to determine whether the respondents were proficient in Northern Sotho. It transpired that 68% of them had no command of the language while some reported that they were still learning it. This could be the contingent of 17,8% referred to above since 50,2% reported that they never use Northern Sotho for purposes relating to commerce and industry. The fourth step was to look for a model of language acquisition that would suit the communication needs of anyone who wished to acquire a command of Northern Sotho for use in commerce and industry. Models have been discussed and one has been recommended. The researcher also conducted a survey to establish the extent to which language policy documents exist in commerce and industry. The results of the questionnaire survey revealed that 42 of the 201 respondents are familiar with the language policy or language practice of the company at their place of work. This was in contrast to all the respondents (in the focus group interviews) who seemed to be unaware of the existence of such policies at their places of work. The need to develop and extend targeted/dedicated lexicographic and terminological resources for the use of Northern Sotho in commerce and industry was also identified. en
dc.description.sponsorship Prof. L. C. Posthumus en
dc.language.iso en en
dc.subject Northern Sotho language en
dc.subject Limpopo (South Africa) en
dc.subject Gauteng (South Africa) en
dc.title The feasibility of Northern Sotho as a language of commerce and industry in the Limpopo and Gauteng provinces en
dc.type Thesis en

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