Linguistic citizenship

Start - End 
2016 - 2019 (ongoing)
Department of Linguistics
Other institution(s) 
University of the Western Cape
Research Period 
Research Region 
Research Language 
Additional tags 
Linguistic ethnography



The project aims to explore further the notion of Linguistic Citizenship as a means of understanding and promoting more participation and capturing the experiences, interests and concerns of the disadvantaged and diverse multilingual populations primarily of the geopolitical South. The project takes as it overall objective the development of a theory of language politics adequate for diverse and transforming societies.

The project aims will be pursued through an empirical grounding of the variety of ways in which a politics of everyday contentious and convivial encounters occur and are manifest linguistically. The project is ethnographic is design and participant observation, close transcription of video recordings and analysis of the semiotics of the spaces in which interactions occur comprise the central databases. Data will be collected from sites located in the townships of Cape Town and from speakers of the variety of languages represented in the Western Cape province, primarily English, Afrikaans and IsiXhosa. Ethnographic enquiry is necessarily accummulative and comparative in nature. Active comparison with research findings in the North and elsewhere in the South are part of the project design.




Christopher Stroud

University of the Western Cape

Quentin Williams

University of the Western Cape