Language Markers that Enable Underdevelopment in Africa: The Case of South Africa

Author: Gaopalelwe Mpolokeng (NWU)
Speaker: Gaopalelwe Mpolokeng
Topic: Applied Sociolinguistics
The GLOCAL AFALA 2023 General Session


Language often influences relations and behaviour. There are examples of language markers and related concepts that unequivocally promote Africa’s dependence and underdevelopment. Today the underdeveloped world accepts such markers and concepts because such acceptance is beneficial. A country that is referred to as underdeveloped often receives concessionary loans, tailor-made trade protocols with the developed world. As a result, some of these poor countries would rather accept and remain classified as poor than work themselves out of the condition lest they lost the benefits of being poor. It is therefore, proposed that some of the language markers and related concepts be replaced with more developmental markers and concepts. This paper highlights some of these enabling concepts and markers with evidence from South Africa through content analysis and interviews of development experts and practitioners.

Keywords: Language Markers, South Africa, Underdevelopment