South Africa is a country with eleven official languages. However, it is not possible for the majority of South Africans to conduct their lives exclusively in their first language. English has the unofficial status of a lingua franca and is the language of international contact, although it is the first language of only approximately 9% of all South Africans. This means that English is a second language for the majority of South Africans who need it for their education and their work. Not only English, but also the other South African languages, are important second languages for a considerable number of South Africans. In a very real sense, South Africa is a country of second languages.
The educational, economic and socio-political development of South Africa is significantly influenced by the proficiency with which large numbers of the population acquire English and other second languages.
Clearly, there is a great need for a post-graduate linguistics programme in which the phenomenon of second languages is studied from various disciplinary perspectives. Our MPhil programme was designed to address this need as it is experienced by language teachers, lecturers and other educators, speech-language therapists, translators, interpreters, publishers and language advisors. Graduates of this programme will be able to practise their professions with greater expertise and satisfaction.
Adopting an interdisciplinary perspective, the general aim of the programme is to equip those in careers that revolve around the phenomenon of second languages with -
(a) knowledge of current linguistic insights into the central aspects of second languages, and
(b) a thorough understanding of the research methodology which is used to examine problems concerning second languages.
Through the acquisition of such knowledge and understanding, the general intellectual skills and professional expertise of the students will be greatly enhanced.
North Central Association of Colleges and Schools, The Higher Learning Commission