Language sociological trends in South African Ndebele communities: A pilot survey

Riho Grünthal, Sami Honkasalo, Markus Juutinen

Forskningsoutput: TidskriftsbidragArtikelVetenskapligPeer review


This article presents the results of a language sociological survey (2016) focusing on language choices and practices of two different Ndebele-speaking communities in Limpopo and Mpumalanga, the two north-eastern provinces of South Africa. The survey shows the prevailing dynamics in a multilingual environment, in both private and public spheres. One of the main differ-ences between the investigated groups is that in Mpumalanga, isiNdebele is the dominating language in its surroundings, whereas in Limpopo the local Sindebele variety is in the position of a minority language. From the perspec-tive of daily practices and attitudes Northern Sotho often dominates in this particular case. The different perceptions of the implementation of language law and the relationship of individual speakers with respect to private and public use of the two Ndebele variants suggest that further research is needed especially in order to shed more light on the language sociological status of Limpopo Ndebele. The survey consisted of a pilot sample of three different groups, which are: 1) speakers of the Mpumalanga Ndebele variety, which corresponds to isiNdebele and has official status in South Africa; 2) the signifi-cantly diverging Limpopo Ndebele, which does not have any official status; and 3) a control group sample from Mokopane town.
TidskriftStudia Orientalia
Sidor (från-till)17–62
Antal sidor46
StatusPublicerad - 2019
MoE-publikationstypA1 Tidskriftsartikel-refererad


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