Research Article

Family language policy: The case for a bottom-up approach in conserving Zimbabwe’s minoritised languages

Published in: South African Journal of African Languages
Volume 41, issue 2, 2021 , pages: 187–195
DOI: 10.1080/02572117.2021.1948221
Author(s): Busani Maseko, South Africa

Abstract

This article focuses on the perspectives of selected members drawn from three language and culture associations to understand their bottom-up initiatives in the conservation of minoritised languages in Zimbabwe. By triangulating the reversing language shift theory and the concept of family language policy, the study sought to discuss the contributions of ZILPA, KLCDA and TOLACCO as bottom-up players in language policy. Language and culture associations are considered important reversing language shift agents whose language awareness and language ideologies potentially impact family language policy and encourage the use of minoritised languages by all three generations in the family. Findings of the study demonstrate that language and culture associations are vital cogs in the articulation of family language policy. They deploy a range of language intervention measures to enthuse minoritised language families to use their heritage language at home. The study concludes by making a case for further exploration of family language policy as a bottom-up approach in minoritised language conservation, given that the core component of language transmission is its use in homes.

Get new issue alerts for South African Journal of African Languages