Veronica Federico

Multilingual Policies versus Monolingual Practices. The Unresolved Ambiguities of the South African Experience

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Framed in the increasing concern for language rights, especially in diverse nations, the article explores South African post 1994 entrenchment of language rights. While the constitutional, legal and policy framework defines a sophisticated and articulated recognition and enforcement of language rights and makes South Africa a truly multilingual state, little has changed since the transition in language practices, with English (and to a smaller extent Afrikaans) remaining the dominant language in the public sphere. The article inquiries the lack of language political transformation discussing, on the one hand, the veracity of the commitment to multilingualism, and, on the other, the reasons underpinning unchanged language practices and behaviors, highlighting the ambiguities of the South African experience.


  • Multilingual Policies
  • Cultural Diversity
  • English Hegemony
  • South African Democratization


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