The futility of being held captive by language policy issues in applied linguistics: an argument for implementation

Sinfree Makoni


Some South African Applied Linguists and political language activists are currently
operating in a policy mode. This paper argues that the continued interest in and
preoccupation with language policy issues arises from an interplay of two factors:
(I) Overconfidence in the role that a new language policy could play in effecting
change particularly in education
(2) Overcorifidence in the beneficial impact of innovations.
The paper also argues that trust in the effectiveness of language policy is misplaced
because many language problems cannot readily be solved by planning unless detailed
attention is paid to what is necessary for policy to be implemented and evaluated. The
paper concludes by proposing how such detailed implementation could be carried out. Party Suid-Afrikaanse toegepaste taalwetenskaplikes en politieke taalaktiviste werk tans
in 'n beleidsmodus. In hierdie referaat word aangevoer dat die volgehoue belangstelling
en preokkupasie met taalbeleidsake voortspruit uit die wisselwerking van twee faktore:
(I) Oormatige vertroue in die rol wat 'n nuwe taalbeleid kan speel om verandering te
bewerkstellig, vera! in die opvoedkunde
(2) Oormatige vertroue in die voordelige impak van nuwighede.
In hierdie referaat word oak aangevoer dat die vertroue in die effektiwiteit van taalbeleid
misplaas is omdat baie taalprobleme nie geredelik deur beplanning opgelos kan word
nie, behalwe as gedetailleerde aandag gegee word aan dit wat nodig is om 'n beleid te
implementeer en te evalueer. Die referaat word afgesluit met voorstelle oar hoe hierdie
gedetailleerde implementasie uitgevoer kan word.

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ISSN 2224-0012 (online); ISSN 0259-2312 (print)

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