Multiple voices in bilingual Higher Education: Language choices of Afrikaans/English bilinguals at Stellenbosch University

Marcelyn Oostendorp, Christine Anthonissen


This paper uses a sociocultural theory and heteroglossic approach to investigate the bilingual learning experience of seven Afrikaans/English bilinguals at Stellenbosch University. In particular these bilinguals were asked to reflect on the language choices they make when completing various assessment tasks and when they are internalising new information. These students were also asked to reflect on the ways in which a bilingual learning context has changed their language proficiency. It is evident from the data that the language choices are made for a multiplicity of reasons, and that the participants draw on a number of different voices, some contradictory, to articulate their experience. These findings are discussed especially in connection to the implications for policy makers, showing that methodologies such as surveys and questionnaires in which participants are requested to make a choice, do not reflect the heteroglossic and ambiguous nature of bilingualism.


bilingualism, heteroglossia, bilingual education, language policy

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

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