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The identity issue in bi- and multilingual repertoires in South Africa

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Abstract

Identity construction drives the development of postcolonial Englishes in Schneider’s Dynamic Model. Contexts like those of South Africa where widespread bi- and multilingualism are observed challenge notions of English as sole “identity carrier” postulated in the model. Findings from a questionnaire and interview study reported in this article indicate that: (a) urban participants are bi- and multilingual, (b) the home language is the carrier of ethnic or cultural identity, (c) English is part of the repertoires of the participants, (d) “being multilingual” is the linguistic marker of a South African identity. The refinement of the identity construction in this very useful model indicates that South Africa will probably not progress conclusively past Stage 3 in the Dynamic Model in the near future.

References

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