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Displaced Author Russell Kaschula on “Re-imagining the Grammar of Local Languages”

Displaced Professor Russell Kaschula is the Head of the School of Languages at Rhodes University and the author of Displaced. Kaschula teaches African Language Studies at Rhodes and his research is concerned with the importance of indigenous languages in education.

According to the Mail & Guardian two Research Chairs were awarded in 2012 as part of the South African Chairs Initiative (SARChI) with the focus on higher education in an African context.

Kaschula has been awarded the position of Chair of Intellectualisation of African Languages, Multilingualism and Education. In this article he explains the three focus areas of the Chair:

First, linguistics and applied African language studies, which looks at ways to introduce teaching in indigenous languages into the higher education system. One project in this field is looking at translating and developing appropriate terminology and lexicology in various fields of study that is not only relevant but that students can identify with.

This approach is being applied in developing isiXhosa language usage and terminology for information and communication technology subjects.

Allied to this is the development of courses in indigenous languages in subjects ranging from journalism to pharmacy, education and law.

Probably closer to the Chair title of intellectualisation of language is work on what Kaschula terms re-imagining the grammar of local languages that he says had originally been documented by missionaries in the 18th Century.

The third area of the Chair’s research is into Africa literary studies, including its history.

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