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Eastern Cape
Mar 28 2012 9:50AM
 
A case for mother tongue
PROMOTING VERNACULAR: MEC Xoliswa Tom has launched the language policy. Picture: SITHANDIWE VELAPHI
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Sithandiwe Velaphi

Linguistics lecturer at Fort Hare University Zoliswa Mali says languages cannot survive and develop if their speakers do not value them.

She says it is important to endorse and speak mother tongue languages. “Parents should speak it with their children,” said Mali.

“It is also important for people to start reading books and other works written in their mother tongue.

“If you have kids at multiracial schools, make sure you motivate them to value the mother tongue. Speak the mother tongue with them and read books written in African languages with them. Kids are quick to learn from example,” says Mali, who lectures at Fort Hare’s East London campus.

She says younger generations mistakenly think speaking English is a sign of development. “Parents have the power to reverse. People should not feel less important when speaking their mother tongue.” Mali urged the provincial government to support the development of local languages.

In November last year arts and culture MEC Xoliswa Tom launched a language policy in Grahamstown to promote adherence to constitutional provisions and requirements regarding language.

provinces@thenewage.co.za

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