Mozambique Language Mapping
Unpacking “language” in language mapping
Language ability is at the core of learning to read. There is limited data on the oral language proficiency (OLP) of children in Mozambique. To fill this gap, this study measured OLP in all languages children claimed to speak in Nampula and Zambezia provinces. Data were collected using a semantic fluency test, in which children said as many words that came to their mind when shown a picture prompt. The results showed:
- roughly normal distributions in all languages, indicating that OLP is an available resource that can be utilized for literacy instruction;
- large mismatches between self-reported and objectively-measured OLP data;
- about 62% of the schools were linguistically heterogenous; and
- a significant mismatch between OLP skills and language policy.
Qualitative analyses also revealed that teachers use both Portuguese and mother tongue languages in Portuguese-only classrooms, and that parental and community engagement was low and fraught with challenges. Policy and practice implications are discussed.