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ATKV/UJ multilingualism weekend 2017: Learn a Language

This year the Afrikaans Taal- en Kultuurvereniging (ATKV) and the School of Languages at the University of Johannesburg (UJ) are again celebrating the richness of South Africa’s multilingualism from Friday, 19 May until Saturday, 20 May 2017. Language lovers can take part in the diverse activities at Auckland Park Kingsway Campus, and also in Soweto Campus.

The theme of this year’s ATKV/UJ multilingualism weekend is ‘learn a language’. The ATKV and UJ’s Department of Afrikaans want to celebrate the value of multilingualism by keeping the event as multilingual as possible.

One of the ways in which multilingualism is promoted is the rendering of interpreting services. According to Prof. Anne-Marie Beukes, UJ’s Acting Head of the Department of Linguistics, “simultaneous interpreting makes it possible that people can take part in a conversation in the language of their choice without any delay. “A foreign language doesn’t have to be a hurdle in good communication anymore.”

The UJ Language Unit supports the idea that learning languages connects cultures and promotes multilingualism. The Department of African Languages also joined the team and they will help to strengthen the African language component of the ATKV/UJ multilingualism weekend.

“This fourth multilingualism event in collaboration with the University of Johannesburg’s School of Languages will illustrate yet again the ATKV’s commitment to nation-building through multilingualism,” says Karien Brits, ATKV’s manager: language.

UJ’s Department of Afrikaans will host a workshop for Afrikaans teachers at the Soweto Campus. According to Dr Donovan Lawrence, UJ’s Senior Lecturer: Afrikaans, “this is a unique opportunity for teachers who themselves speak Afrikaans as a second or third language to be equipped further. In the past, this workshop equipped educators with innovative and exhilarating classroom techniques to make the learning of Afrikaans even more fun and this year teachers could once again draw inspiration from the workshop.”

The program is nicely jam-packed with activities for learners and educators.

On Friday 19 May from 09:00 to 11:00 the Talethon, a multilingual quiz for Grade 9 learners will take place at the University of Johannesburg’s Kingsway Campus. The purpose of the language competition is to familiarise learners with more than one language (Afrikaans, Zulu and Northern Sotho) and to help cultivate a love for our country’s languages.

On Saturday 20 May from 09:00 children and adults from all over Gauteng will come together at the Soweto Campus for a fun day which will include a multilingual reading competition for learners (Grade 9 particularly), dances, language classes and workshops. Members of the public and language lovers can go and see for themselves how Afrikaans classes are conducted in Soweto. The Afrikaans-in-Soweto Project is a joint project of the ATKV and the Department of Afrikaans of UJ where children as well as adults learn Afrikaans in an informal fun-filled way. It is not only about learning Afrikaans, but Afrikaans speakers will also get the opportunity to learn speaking Setswana and other African languages in Soweto on this day.


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