Positioning the English Language as a Critical Tool in the Development of Rural Economies in South Africa
This study examined the view that the acquisition of English-language skills must of necessity derive from one's consciousness and agentic capability of decision and action informed by a dynamic interplay of personal, behavioral and environmental influences (Pajares, 2002). This view is predicated on the proposition that English skills and the ability to negotiate the striking of invaluable business enterprises by and large complementary. This study, therefore, argued for the existence of a link between language and economy. This link is attested to by Mesthrie's (1990:8) argument in reference to the early days of the settlement of the Indian community to the effect that for them (Indians) "the gains of becoming bilingual in English were 'outward' in terms of economic mobility and social integration within the broader South African society". Similarly, Bourdien (1991) avers that English, having assumed the position of language of higher status, is associated with access to the global markets both materially and symbolically so. As such, English "allows individuals to be more mobile and cosmopolitan by looking beyond local boundaries for personal and professional advancement" (Tembe et al, 2011:131). As argued by Mesthrie (1990:18), "proficiency in English enabled working-class Indian to obtain economic opportunities in urban white-collar jobs as clerks and salespersons in Natal."