Accessibility navigation

Language capital and development: the case of African language publishing for children in South Africa

Edwards, V. and Ngwaru, J. M. (2014) Language capital and development: the case of African language publishing for children in South Africa. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 2014 (225). pp. 29-50. ISSN 1613-3668

Full text not archived in this repository.

It is advisable to refer to the publisher's version if you intend to cite from this work. See Guidance on citing.

To link to this item DOI: 10.1515/ijsl-2013-0064


In recognizing 11 official languages, the 1996 South African Constitution provides a context for the management of diversity with important implications for the redistribution of wealth and power. The development and implementation of the language-in-education policies which might be expected to flow from the Constitution, however, have been slow and ineffective. One of the casualties of government procrastination has been African language publishing. In the absence of well-resourced bilingual education, most learners continue to be taught through the medium of English as a second language. Teachers are reluctant to use more innovative pedagogies without the support of adequate African language materials and publishers are cautious about producing such materials. Nonetheless, activity in this sector offers many opportunities for African language speakers. This paper explores the challenges and constraints for African language publishing for children and argues that market forces and language policy need to work in mutually reinforcing ways. Further progress is necessarily dependent on the political will to implement language-in-education policies that promote additive bilingualism and, in the process, guarantee sales for risk-averse publishers.

Item Type:Article
Divisions:Arts, Humanities and Social Science > Institute of Education > Language and Literacy in Education
ID Code:27866
Uncontrolled Keywords:South Africa, publishing, children’s books, African languages
Publisher:De Gruyter Mouton

University Staff: Request a correction | Centaur Editors: Update this record

Page navigation