Traduction et Langues
Volume 16, Numéro 1, Pages 113-130

Hierarchies And Coloniality: Students' Language Ideologies And Attitudes In Cape Town

Authors : Hurst Ellen .


This paper focuses on the ideologies surrounding language that are produced by a cohort of students in their first year at a South African university, in order to investigate how dominant power-discourses are reproduced. An assignment asking students to relate their language histories reveals strong language ideologies relating to South Africa’s official, and not-so-official, languages. These ideologies are surfaced through a form of critical discourse analysis, undertaken using NVivo software. The paper argues that the students’ ideologies are influenced by discourses such as language hierarchies and what Mignolo (2005) calls ‘coloniality’. Language attitudes on the other hand, reflect students’ strong identification with their home languages, and the effects of English dominance are felt at various levels.


Language, attitudes, students, effects of English dominance.