Volume 4, Issue 2  August 2021, pp. 60–74          Download PDF

Regular Articles
Entangled in two Romance languages: Experiencing language barriers in higher education

Dinis Fernando da Costa https://orcid.org/0000-0002-6738-63371

1 Instituto Superior Politécnico Gregório Semedo, ANGOLA ddacosta212@gmail.com

DOI: https://doi.org/10.29140/ajal.v4n2.508


Since 2002, which marks the end of the Civil War in Angola, a large multilingual and multicultural workforce from various corners of the world has entered the Angolan education system. This paper investigates language barriers experienced in the classroom of Spanish speaking lecturers by Portuguese speaking students. The study focuses on a group of 81 first year students enrolled at the Pedagogic School of Namibe (Universidade Mandume Ya Ndemufayo) and the Institute of Higher Education Gregorio Semedo. Using questionnaires and observation techniques, the article shows how Spanish poses a language barrier to efficient communication in the teaching-learning process. It also shows that students employ various strategies; from asking help from fellow colleagues to recording lectures, in order to comprehend the lecturers’ explanation. Given that the Angolan higher education system hosts a great number of foreign lecturers, largely from Cuba, the paper offers recommendations through which to lower language barriers and thus create a conducive environment for meaningful learning.


© Dinis Fernando da Costa

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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International License.

Suggested citation

da Costa, D. (2021). Entangled in two Romance languages: Experiencing language barriers in higher education. Australian Journal of Applied Linguistics, 4(2), 60–74. https://doi.org/10.29140/ajal.v4n2.508

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