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The Economics of Language [X Research ARCHIVE] Print

      Although the majority of South Africans are African mother-tongue speakers, English and to a lesser extent Afrikaans are the main languages of business. This project investigates literacy and English language proficiency using data collected in the first wave of the National Income Dynamics study. In contrast to other surveys in South Africa, NIDS asks all adult respondents to rank their reading and writing ability, both in their home language and in English. The project explores measures of adult literacy, the relationship between home language and English language proficiency, and the returns to these language abilities in the South African labour market.
      Additional Participant: Professor Jochen Zeller (Linguistics).


Casale, D. and Posel, D. (2011) English language proficiency and earnings in a developing country: The case of South Africa. Journal of Socio-Economics, 40: 385-393.

Posel, D. (2011) Adult literacy rates in South Africa: a comparison of different measures. Language Matters 42(1): 39-49.More

Posel, D. and Casale, D. (2011) Language proficiency and language policy in South Africa: findings from new data. International Journal of Educational Development 31(5): 443-451. (DOI: 10.1016/j.ijedudev.2010.09.003).

Posel, D. and Zeller, J. (2011) Home language and English language ability in South Africa: Insights from new data. Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies 29(2):115-116. More

Casale, D. and Posel, D. (2010) Mind your language: The benefits of English proficiency in the labour market. In: J. Hofmeyr (ed.) Vision or Vacuum? Governing the South African Economy. Cape Town: Institute for Justice and Reconciliation, pp. 58 – 66.

Professor Dori Posel
Dr Daniela Casale


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