In lieu of an abstract, here is a brief excerpt of the content:

BOOK NOTICES 863 each topic has developed such a rich literature that it is difficult for the author to do more than mention issues and references. The result is a Catch-22 situation: in order to understand the intended interpretive import ofa condensed survey of research on a topic, readers already have to be experts of sorts on the topic. Otherwise, the most one can hope to come away with in some instances is a general feeling of much research activity. Still, there is value in simply learning of the existence of specialized theories and literatures on everything from 'language in friendships' to 'self-disclosure'. Perhaps because of the 'expertise dilemma', I was often most impressed with the synthesis and insights in those chapters covering areas that I know well. For example, 'The many faces of facework', by Karen Tracy (209-26), extends the scope of strategies used in orienting to face beyond that discussed in Brown & Levinson ( Universals in language usage: Politeness phenomena, Cambridge University Press, 1978, 1987). 'Bilinguahty and multilinguality', by Itesh Sachdev & Richard Bourhis (293-308), argues for integrative approaches to linguistic choices in bilingual communication (including codeswitching), taking account of both normative and motivational factors—such as interpersonal accommodation—which may come into play at different points in an interaction. Chéris Kramarae's contribution, 'Changing the complexion of gender in language research' (345-61), is much more than an overview, offering a well-reasoned argument why future research in this area should explore gender differences in language as a result of hierarchical inequalities. [Carol Myers-Scotton, University of South Carolina.] You taught me language: The implementation of English as a medium of instruction in Namibia. By Brian Harlech-Jones. Cape Town: Oxford University Press, 1990. Pp. 264. R29.95. In 1985 and 1986, virtually on the eve of Namibian independence, H-J carried out research on attitudes towards English in schools in this South West African country. His main objective was to find out whether, in a future independent state, schools could switch over from Afrikaans as the predominant medium of instruction to English, which has been favored by various representatives of the opposition both in Namibia and in exile. In particular, the influential South West African People's Organisation (SWAPO) made it clear that English should become the official language of Namibia. This more or less politically biased approach to the linguistic situation was aimed at revising the status and use of languages in public. Its impact had already been felt before independence was achieved, as demonstrated in the book under review, which is based on the author's Ph.D. dissertation (University of Edinburgh, 1988). Initially, H-J defines problem areas for the implementation of English as the medium of instruction in Namibia. It is well known that the social basis of English among non-Whites is very weak, whereas Afrikaans, although much discredited by the apartheid policy ofthe South African administration, enjoys the status of a lingua franca in most parts of the country. The reason for this development, and the factors that have shaped the linguistic situation in this corner of Africa, are described in detail from a historical and contemporary point of view. Taking into account the importance of African languages as well as Afrikaans among the Namibian people, H-J advocates a model of bilingual education (i.e. mother tongue plus a second language as early as possible). The author supports his views and proposals by referring to various scholars and educators who have dealt with similar issues both theoretically and practically. H-J then describes the design and implementation of a survey that covered 54 primary schools in central Namibia. One hundred and sixty teachers were asked to answer a questionnaire whose design drew on relevant hypotheses of language use in school, language status, corpus planning, etc. It is interesting to note that the results of the survey did not establish any particular inclination to favor English under all circumstances. On the contrary, African languages and even Afrikaans scored highly in several school subjects and several levels of education. In addition, teachers felt uncomfortable because of their average low competence in English. In his final chapter H-J...

pdf

Additional Information

ISSN
1535-0665
Print ISSN
0097-8507
Pages
pp. 863-864
Launched on MUSE
2015-04-01
Open Access
No
Back To Top

This website uses cookies to ensure you get the best experience on our website. Without cookies your experience may not be seamless.