Language Rights in the New Constitution

This paper is one of the first to address the emotive issue of language in South Africa. It discusses key concepts related to language issues and then examines South Africa's move, in the 1993 Constitution, from bilingualism (English and Afrikaans) to multilingualism (eleven official languages). Albie Sachs draws an important distinction between language rights, language policy and language practice. Finally, the paper contains a commentary on the constitutional provisions relating to language, discussing matters such as regional differentiation, the practicability of multilingualism and the role of the Pan South African Language Board.