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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Empowering peripheral writing: a case of South African Black English (SABE)
Author:Ngwenya, ThembaISNI
Year:2007
Periodical:New contree: a journal of historical and human sciences for Southern Africa
Issue:53
Pages:81-109
Language:English
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:English language
multilingualism
Blacks
Abstract:A South African Black English (SABE) speaker is any fluent speaker/writer of English as a second language whose English competency is at or comparable to higher educational level. SABE, sometimes also called Black South African English, has emerged mainly due to the poor learning and teaching its speakers have received, their group enclosure and cohesiveness, their cultural lifestyle, and politics. Structuralist and communicative approaches describing SABE tend wrongly to assume egalitarian and democratic attitudes towards discourse communities and to disregard the disempowerment and alienation that students who use peripheral writing encounter, thus privileging those who use centre writing. The present study explores how SABE can be utilized as a resource to facilitate learners' acquisition of standard English, while at the same time retaining its uniqueness. The participants, 82 first-year resident students, mostly Setswana speaking, at a historically disadvantaged rural university in the North-West area of Mafikeng, were asked to write a two-hour essay on the merger of the former Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education with the University of North-West into one institution, North West University. Some of the most salient features of the students' SABE were florid language, indirectness, multiple identity and multiple resources, high level of formality, oral narrative, unnecessary repetition and padding, and localized lexis. The author concludes that students who use SABE in their writing can be empowered if their lecturers, and the students themselves, adopt SABE as a means for exploring and creating meaning and, in the end, for accessing standard English. App., ref., sum. in Tswana. [ASC Leiden abstract]
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