FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
18 JANUARY 2022, PRETORIA
THE Pan SOUTH AFRICAN LANGUAGE THROUGH ITS ISIXHOSA NATIONAL LANGUAGE BODY CONDUCTS AN IMBIZO ON DEROGATORY OR UNACCEPTABLE ISIXHOSA WORDS
The Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) through its IsiXhosa National Language Body (XNLB) will be conducting an Imbizo on 19-20 January 2021 at the Mayfair Hotel in Mthatha, Eastern Cape. The event will be attended by isiXhosa language experts, journalists, representatives of disability advocacy groups and language practitioners who will be debating the merits of classifying some words in isiXhosa as derogatory or unacceptable and the implications thereof on language use.
The event will be broadcast live on Umhlobo Wenene FM and UCR FM and will address misunderstandings that negatively affect the use of isiXhosa language and availability of terminology for matters that relate to disability, body parts, etc.
Language experts will deliberate on many terms/words in isiXhosa that may be unduly considered rude or derogatory without proper verification of their origins, meaning and context for their use. The exercise is aimed at closing gaps that currently exist in the terminology list for the language caused by the classification of terms/words as unacceptable for use in writing, broadcast, and many other formal and social settings. The classification of certain terms as derogatory by the general population causes a lot of challenges not only for language practitioners and broadcasters but also creates unnecessary strife within communities that may take offence on the terms/words used.
It is anticipated that the Imbizo will provide much needed clarity between what is derogatory and what is simply isiXhosa in its purest form. The outcomes of the conference will inform the isiXhosa National Language Body’s stance and position on the acceptability of certain words in the language. This is another step towards decolonialization of the language from the thralls of evangelism, cultural, psychosocial, and socioeconomic subjugations of this indigenous language, so are its native speakers.
2022 is the start of UNESCO International Decade of Indigenous Languages which seeks to highlight and redress the consequences of over 400 years of linguicides and linguicism that marginalized the dictum of indigenous African knowledge systems. This imbizo is a demonstration that in its furtherance of multilingualism, PanSALB must not only seek to redress the linguistic inequalities of the past, but also ensure the functional and contextual development and use of previously marginalized languages such as isiXhosa.