PanSALB advocates for preservation of SA languages

Monday, February 3, 2020

Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) acting CEO, Dr David Maahlamela, has emphasised the importance of preserving South African languages.

At the launch of the 29 Days of Language Activism campaign in Tshwane on Monday, Maahlamela said the hegemony of English poses a great threat to the survival of many languages.

“It is crucial that we not only seek to preserve our linguistic diversity, but also ensure that we instil a sense of pride in one’s ability to fully articulate complex matters in their mother tongue.

“We ought to be deliberate in our efforts to effectively decolonise and intellectualise indigenous languages,” Maahlamela said.

The aim of the 29 Days of Language Activism is to encourage South Africans to speak and live their languages, and create a more multilingual society.

“As we celebrate our linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism, it is important that we continue reflecting on the Republic’s use of all official languages and other languages, as enshrined in the Constitution,” said Maahlamela said.

In an effort to ensure that N/uu, the oldest surviving San language, does not go extinct, PanSALB has partnered with Briza Publications to develop an audio-visual dictionary in N/uu.

The dictionary (also called the Talking Dictionary) is the only dictionary that links key words and phrases to detailed, full-colour illustrations and incorporates technology to allow readers to listen to the pronunciation of terms and phrases in different languages.

This unique language education tool assists in the teaching and learning of vocabulary and phrases from the target language.

Various activities will be held throughout the month, including the HHP (Jabulani Tsambo) Memorial Lecture on 19 February in Mafikeng, North West. The following day, a book fair will be held in Mafikeng.

An International Mother Language Day celebration will be held on 21 February in KwaZulu-Natal.

The PanSALB language activism campaign will conclude on 28 February with a handover of indigenous languages dictionaries to His Majesty King Goodwill Zwelithini in KwaNongoma, KwaZulu-Natal.

All these activities will be aimed at encouraging the use of mother tongue. -