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ENGLISH PROFESSOR TO ADDRESS LANGUAGES’ USE IN BOTSWANA

Dr. Kathryn Spike, an assistant professor of English at Bluffton University, will discuss the concurrent use of two languages—English and Setswana—in Botswana during a campus colloquium on Friday, Jan. 25. Free and open to the public, her presentation will begin at 4 p.m. in Stutzman Lecture Hall in Centennial Hall.

Like many African nations, Botswana uses one language—English—for high-status functions such as education and government, and another—Setswana—for everyday practices such as religion and personal interactions. Unlike other African countries, however, Botswana's population is far from bilingual. While 80-90 percent of the population speaks some form of Setswana, only about 35 percent of the people are believed to have any knowledge of English. The uneven distribution creates limited opportunities for economic mobility in impoverished, rural areas. With the help of a Bluffton University Research Center grant, Spike has studied one village, using on-site interviews to learn more about how the language situation impacts development of literacy and education.

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Bluffton public relations, 1/21/13