The development of a sustainability model for the integration and use of an African language as a language of learning and teaching in higher education.
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This paper discusses the organic development of a Sustainability Model for the implementation of an African language, viz. Zulu, as a language of learning and teaching (LoLT) at tertiary level in a South African University. The model created the conceptual framework for research into and implementation of Zulu as a medium of instruction in selected subject areas at University level. The aim of this project is to promote multilingualism in higher education. It has been funded by the South Africa-Norway Tertiary Education Development (SANTED) programme. This article traces the initial development of this model, which drew on the findings of various research studies over a period of ten years, culminating in its application to the development of specialist discourse and terminology in Zulu in specific subject areas in the Social Sciences, Health Sciences and Humanities curricula. The project involved the collaboration of various subject specialists in Psychology, Nursing, Dentistry and Education (Foundation Phase level). The implementation has been two-fold: the offering of basic communication skills courses in Zulu for non-Zulu-speaking staff and students involved in the above professional disciplines, and terminology development in the respective disciplines in order to enable the use of Zulu in selected materials and tutorial groups. This SANTED-funded initiative (2006) has been a systematically-planned and deliberate intervention on the part of lecturers and researchers to introduce an African language as a potential LoLT, whilst at the same time contributing to the intellectualisation of the language in question.
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