Central Data Catalog

Citation Information

Type Journal Article - Geoforum
Title Linguistic segregation in urban South Africa, 1996
Volume 35
Issue 2
Publication (Day/Month/Year) 2004
Page numbers 145-156
URL http://www1.geo.ntnu.edu.tw/~moise/Data/Books/Social/03 race and ethnic groups/linguistic​segregation in urban south africa 1996.pdf
South Africa is a multi-lingual country with 11 official languages and a recent history where language was frequently used as a
political instrument, notably in the urban areas. Although the cities were initially colonial foundations, as a consequence of rural–
urban migration, the speakers of the various national languages have come into close contact with one another. However, as a result
of the inheritance of apartheid town planning and its emphasis on racial zoning, residential segregation levels between some linguistic
groups have been extremely high. An analysis of the 1996 census results reveals that the uniformly high segregation levels
between the speakers of indigenous African languages and the speakers of Afrikaans and English are the direct outcome of
apartheid era town planning. Nevertheless, segregation between the speakers of different African languages may also on occasion be
relatively high where homeland political policies were pursued, although this was the exception rather than the rule. Similarly
segregation between English and Afrikaans speakers was locally high where home language coincided with former racial classifi-
cation. Few immediate significant changes are anticipated in the present patterns of linguistic segregation, as the inherited apartheid
city structure is proving to be remarkably resistant to transformation.

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