Language variation in Zulu: a case study of contemporary codes and registers in the greater Durban area.
Zungu, Phyllis Jane Nonhlanhla.
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This study has been an attempt to clarify a number of basic problems regarding the phenomena of Language Variation and their implications for linguistic usage. The data were collected in the GDA. Very little has been done on Language Variation in Zulu owing to lack of interest in Sociolinguistics in the middle of this century. A study of this nature is imperative because language planners have to design policies for the Government of National Unity in South Africa.There are two very important aspects to National Language Policies. These comprise the ideological aspect, which is concerned with mobilising the nation's sentiments and attitudes towards the acceptance and use of selected speech forms. The second aspect involves the technical side, which looks at the practical elements which are concerned with the problems of implementing the ideology (Whiteley 1963: 150). In order to fulfill the foregoing ideals, we had to look for applicable aims and objectives of Language Variation. The main objectives were: (a) to identify at least seven domains where different language varieties were employed in the Black Durban speech community; (b) to investigate the social attitude of the Black Durban speech community towards CCR's; (c) to trace the origin of and development of the non-standard varieties which are employed by the Black Durban speech community; (d) To investigate the impact of CCR's on the economy, and social conditions prevailing in the GDA. In order to achieve the foregoing objectives, the term 'Language Variation' and its dynamics had to be clarified. Empirical studies on research methodologies had to be resorted to in order to give a sound base to the theoretical framework. A number of theories were explored and they were found to be applicable to Contemporary Codes and Registers employed by the Black Durban speech community. These comprised speech accommodation, cognitive uncertainty, affective reinforcement, gain-loss, social identity, functionalist and interactionist theories. In order to test these theories, I resorted to ethnomethodological and ethnographic approaches to empirical research. The choice of these approaches was to capture data on CCR's in the most objective and valid manner. The next step was to take a deep plunge into field work. I became a participant observer in a number of domains around the Durban Metropolitan area. Interviews with prominent Zulu speakers were also conducted in order to obtain their input towards CCR's. The research was conducted in seven Black townships, situated in the GDA. In addition to this, research was conducted in Westville prison, transportation modes, hospitals, streets, taverns, educational units, and in soccer clubs. I entered the aforementioned domains as a 'friend of a friend' a lecturer, or an ex-class teacher in order to become a participant observer in various activities of the Black Durban speech communities. In addition to this, written questionnaires were administered and answered by respondents. The aim of the questionnaire survey was to measure the magnitude of linguistic transformations in the GDA. Another aim was to capture the attitude of the Black Durban speech community towards non-standard varieties of Zulu. Interviews were also conducted for the same purpose. Checklists were also resorted to in order to secure valid and objective information. The collection and analysis of data alone was not adequate in accounting for Language Variation. Bokamba, (1988:21) mentions that we need data on the communicative behaviour of speakers - the whys and how's of ..... [Language Valiation]. A description of the social context of CCR's as observed in the Black speech community of the GDA was exposed. This involved a presentation of the origins and development of linguistic CR's used in the GDA. CR's included slang, Tsotsitaal/isiLovasi, jargon, borrowing, interlarding, neologisms, which were covered under the term CCR's. The linguistic make up, characteristics and classification of CCR's were also carried out. I had to identify the speakers of CCR's in the various targeted domains, where they are employed, as well as the topics which are normally discussed by the interlocutors. Socio-psychological functions of CCR's as spoken in the targeted areas were uncovered. It was revealed that CCR's entail elaborate and rich linguistic forms. They incorporate everyday situations thus recording the activities of people at a particular era in the history of mankind. At least 75% of the 800 collected lexical items which were regarded as non-standard and filtered talk were found to be known and used by most Black Durban speakers. School children were found to have carried these CCR's to the classroom situation where they were penalised for employing them.