Departmental Bulletin Paper Ambivalence Regarding Linguistic and Cultural Choices among Minority Language Speakers: A Case Study of the Khoesan Youth of Botswana

Gabanamotse-Mogara, Budzani  ,  Batibo, Herman Michael

37 ( 3 )  , pp.103 - 115 , 2016-09 , The Center for African Area Studies, Kyoto University
ISSN:0285-1601
NCID:AA10626444
Description
Due to their small numbers and historical domination by others, the Khoesan groups in the southern African region are among the most marginalized and endangered communities in Africa (Batibo, 1998; Chebanne & Nthapelelang, 2000; Smieja, 2003). This situation has also led to their linguistic and cultural domination and an associated dilemma: on the one hand, the speakers of these minority languages wish to use and safeguard their linguistic and cultural heritage and identity; on the other hand, they desire to use other languages to enable wider communication and socioeconomic advancement. This study examined this dilemma among Khoesan youth in three villages in the Central Kalahari and Ghanzi areas of western Botswana. The primary aim of the study was to determine the extent to which ambivalence regarding linguistic and cultural options has affected the use of, attitudes toward, and attachment to languages and identities. The study focused on two Khoesan languages: Naro, a Central Khoesan language spoken in the Ghanzi sub-district, and !X坦探, a Southern Khoesan language spoken in south Central Kalahari. This study found that, in general, the youth in these communities preferred to use other languages and even altered their cultural and autonymic identity for socioeconomic reasons.
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