Simile Tenele Shongwe, Sithulisiwe Bhebhe, Zodwa G. Nxumalo


In most African countries the mother tongue leans much on culture. There is a conspicuous relationship between first language and culture. This study sought to establish the relationship between first language and culture in teaching and learning siSwati as a first language. The study adopted an interpretive research paradigm where a qualitative approach was used. The qualitative approach was employed because it is mainly concerned with human behavior, and data collected in natural settings. In this study, a case study design was selected. The case study design enabled me to obtain data from a purposively selected sample of siSwati teachers. Schools were also purposively selected. Data was collected through interviews and observations. The findings of the study revealed that first language goes hand in hand with the norms and customs of the people of a particular society. It was a finding in this study that teachers teaching siSwati as a first language are also teachers of culture and that trying to separate the two is not feasible. The study concluded that it is impossible for one to teach siSwati as a first language without teaching the siSwati culture because culture has a continuous influence on first language. In fact, the two issues are closely correlated and interrelated. Language is the representational of Emaswati and depicts their culture. In other words, first language is emblematic of the siSwati culture. It was recommended that siSwati culture should dominate in the siSwati syllabus since it (culture) is a rich source of the siSwati vocabulary.


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