Date Thesis Awarded


Access Type

Honors Thesis -- Access Restricted On-Campus Only

Degree Name

Bachelors of Arts (BA)




Iyabo Osiapem

Committee Members

Talbot Taylor

Lawrence M. Leemis


The purpose of this study is to determine the attitudes of Linguistics students and professors at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in South Africa towards codeswitching, specifically English-Afrikaans and English-Xhosa. The study also addresses how these attitudes vary in relation to the participants' attitudes towards Xhosa, English, Afrikaans, and/or other varieties that they speak, and how these attitudes relate to the linguistic landscape of the University of Cape Town campus and surrounding area. The study's importance lays in its focus on attitudes towards the phenomenon of codeswitching. It will augment the existing literature and be used as a comparison with other, similar studies, such as Ramsay-Brijball's (2004) studies on Zulu L1 students' language attitudes at the University of Durban and Gibbons's (1983) matched-guise study of Hong Kong students' attitudes towards codeswitching. Each of these studies show on some level that the participants' attitudes towards codeswitching portray a compromise of their attitudes towards the varieties involved. Student participants' attitudes were elicited primarily through a matched guise technique, during which they responded to audio clips from South African feature films using a questionnaire comprising 18 semantic differential scales; clips containing speech in English, Afrikaans, and Xhosa, and using English-Afrikaans and English-Xhosa codeswitching will be included. The questionnaire was designed to indirectly elicit the participants' attitudes, while subsequent sociolinguistic interviews were held to more directly elicit those attitudes (Garrett, 2010) and the ideologies informing them. Similar interviews were conducted with various professors and post-graduates at the University of Cape Town in order to investigate how their attitudes vary with those of the undergraduate students. Furthermore, a supplemental questionnaire asked students to rate their intrinsic and extrinsic attitudes towards the language varieties in question and collected information such as the student's gender, level of study, language varieties spoken at home, and language varieties spoken with friends, so that variation in the attitudes could be analyzed according to these factors. Finally, photographs were taken across campus of language in use in signs, posters, and advertisements to obtain a portrait of the linguistic landscape of the University of Cape Town. Triangulation of data from these mixed methods provided a much fuller picture of the language attitudes of undergraduates at UCT.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.


Thesis is part of Honors ETD pilot project, 2008-2013. Migrated from Dspace in 2016.

On-Campus Access Only