Ideology, policy and implementation: Comparative perspectives from two African universities

  • Charlyn Dyers Department of Linguistics, University of the Western Cape
  • Jane-Francis Abongdia School of General and Continuing Education (SGCE), University of Fort Hare
Keywords: language ideologies, language attitudes, language policy, University of the Western Cape, University of Yaoundé 1


This paper provides an exposition and interpretation of the language policies of two African universities, namely the University of Yaoundé 1 in Cameroon and the University of the Western Cape in South Africa. It does so against the background of the socio-historical and political factors that led to the creation of both universities and their respective language policies. The authors’ main argument is that well-intended, liberal language policies are often impossible to implement as a result of the powerful influence of political and linguistic ideologies shaped, on the one hand, by many years of colonisation and the resulting marginalisation of the indigenous languages in both countries, and, on the other, by ideologies of nation-building and assimilation in the post-colonial era. The paper also attempts to find greater conceptual clarity between the concepts of ‘language attitudes’ and ‘language ideologies’.


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