ABSTRACT

This first chapter introduces the book’s linguistic anthropological approach and explains the aim to develop a more nuanced understanding of ambiguity that characterizes English as a lingua franca in South Africa. To address this broad topic, the chapter outlines how the study draws from literature on English as a lingua franca, raciolinguistics, and the politics of English and explains its aim to dialogue these fields. It also introduces its ethnographic perspective and the focus on the use of English among isiZulu and Afrikaans language speakers. The intersectionality of multilingua franca English, ethnicity, race, and gender opens up a complex platform on which struggles for belonging and racial identity politics can be made productive. This chapter also sketches out how these struggles are reflected in mobility and immobility, inclusion and exclusion, marginalization and empowerment and a vast range of local, global, and glocal trajectories. Ultimately, it offers a first lens through which global scholarship on English as a lingua franca can be further advanced and decolonized, in terms of disciplinary limitations, geo-political orientations, and a shifting attention to the politics of race that characterize the use of English as a lingua franca.