Reflections on Critical Language Studies and the Genesis of a Counter Paradigm

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The case of South Africa is implicative for language studies. Although there has been a growing sensitivity among some scholars and policy makers with respect to the need to address the historically disadvantaged condition of the African languages in South Africa, these developments have been over-shadowed, occurring within the context of the overwhelming dominance of English, a dominance supported by both economic factors and by tacit government acquiescence. The dilemma posed by the South African case is in many ways analogous to that which underlies the purposes of Critical Inquiry in Language Studies as a new journal, serving and addressing not so much a new disciplinary field as a multidisciplinary and interdisciplinary approach to understanding issues of language in society broadly conceived. The authors argue that, to some extent, language studies should be viewed as a counter paradigm, rather than a paradigm shift. Its usefulness is inherently limited to its ability to intentionally position itself as the "Other" in relation to "mainstream" scholarly discourse.

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Critical Inquiry In Language Studies: An International Journal, v. 1, issue 4, p. 237-242