Reading in African Languages: Developing literacies and reading methodologies

Friday 17 January 2014: 2pm – 6pm, SOAS

Organised by Language in Africa Special Interest Group of the British
Association for Applied Linguistics, University of KwaZulu-Natal, South
Africa and SOAS, University of London

Deadline for Abstracts of up to 300 words: 15 December 2013 Send to: Notification of Acceptance: 23 December 2013

FURTHER INFORMATION is available on the LIASIG website: or contact Rosemary Wildsmith-Cromarty at

Meeting description:

A major factor in the weakness in children’s educational achievement in
post-colonial contexts is widely ascribed to the fact that children are
required to learn to read through the former colonial language.
Introducing learning to read through the child’s familiar community language
is continually advocated by international and grassroots organisations. BUT,
even where this is taking place, children are not always advancing well.

How far is this due to traditional attitudes and pedagogic practices – AND –
how far is this due to lack of research into the psychological processes of
learning to speak and read a language with a very different structure from
English, French, etc.? Writers of curricula and teacher educators in
Sub-Saharan Africa have to resort to research into those languages.

Hosted by Prof Lutz Marten at the School of Oriental and African Studies,
the seminar will be led by Professor Rosemary Wildsmith-Cromarty from the
University of KwaZulu-Natal who is interested in reading research in
isiZulu. Prof Elizabeth Pretorius from UNISA and Dr Joanne Westbrook from
the University of Sussex will also give their input. We would like to be
joined by other reading and language specialists in debating various aspects
of reading.

A special edition of the journal Southern African Linguistics and Applied
Language Studies is currently being planned for 2015. We will therefore be
considering seminar papers for inclusion in this Special Edition.


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