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Rhodes lauded for African science ‘translatathons’

Date Released: Fri, 17 May 2013 09:45 +0200

Rhodes lauded for African science ‘translatathons’

BREAKING down long-held beliefs that indigenous African languages could not be used to teach science would go a long way towards ridding South Africa of “linguistic apartheid”.

Internationally renowned multilinguist Dr Michael Joseph said it was shameful that African languages were still considered an unsuitable means of communication.

Speaking at the second annual multilingualism colloquium, the new Rhodes University education professor told delegates most university efforts to introduce multilingualism were inadequate.

Joseph and his life partner and coresearcher, Professor Esther Ramani, helped introduce an acclaimed multilingual BA degree at the University of Limpopo that has grown from 38 students 10 years ago to more than 300.

He said most students at monolingual English and Afrikaans universities were learning in a language “alien to them”. “There is a feeling that English is out of reach and African languages are receding.”

The Indian-born linguist, who has worked locally and internationally, said he was looking forward to helping Rhodes further develop the bilingual curriculum they had unrolled in certain departments in recent years.

“People want multilingual education if it is on offer.”

Fellow panelist Dr Pam Maseko, of the school of languages, said extensive work was still needed to standardise and modernise terms, as well as come up with yet to be named technological and scientific words in African languages.

Ramani praised Rhodes for its ongoing efforts to help develop scientific terms at their translatathons, where English text is translated into African languages.

School of languages head Professor Russell Kaschula – who also chairs the Rhodes University Language Committee – said they were mandated to drive multilingualism awareness campaigns on campus and to oversee implementation of university language policy.

New multilingualism developments on campus include: Multilingual signage; A newly-approved bachelor of education degree in foundation phase teaching to be presented bilingually in Xhosa and English;

A change of human resources interview protocol to accommodate languages other than English.

Acceptance by three faculties of postgraduate theses in languages other than English; and plans to offer journalism studies in Xhosa.

In addition R31-million had been secured for a new school of languages building.

Picture source: http://aquazone-saiab.blogspot.com/2012/07/news.html 

By DAVID MACGREGOR

Source: Daily Dispatch

 

 

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