Hugh Sexey Church of England Middle School
Together we believe; Together we achieve

3) Why can't we all just speak the same language?

Find out what happened when school children in South Africa were told they must do all their lessons through Afrikaans, a language many did not speak.


South Africa's deadly riots that started in a classroom


  • In 1976, the apartheid government in South Africa introduced Afrikaans as the first language of Soweto schools.
  • In response, students living in Soweto took to the streets to protest at the changes.
  • The government met the protestors with brutal force, with the ensuing violence shocking the world.


Why can't we all speak one language?

Read the document 'Why can't we all speak one language?' below, and try to answer the questions underneath.


  1. Where did language come from, did someone just make it all up?
  2. What would happen if a baby was brought up by people who spoke a different language to its birth parents?
  3. Why do some languages die out?
  4. Do you think we should all speak one language, and if so - which language?
  5. How could you 'make' everybody speak the same language?