How Many Words Do You Need To Know Forum.Language-Learners Official Languages of South Africa

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Official Languages of South Africa

There are few other accurate reflections of South Africa’s cultural diversity than its official languages. Eleven official languages ​​make South Africa the country with the second number of constitutionally recognized languages ​​after Bolivia and India. All eleven languages ​​are sent to share equal emphasis and importance, in use and in development. It is inevitable that all the official languages ​​have exerted influences on each other. However, their origins still separate languages ​​from being fully intelligible to native speakers of certain languages.

English

English is considered the lingua franca of South Africa. It was originally brought over by the British colonizers in 1795. Its adoption as a superior language to the local languages ​​was prevalent even among the original Dutch settlers. Efforts to educate South Africans by sending them to study in English universities also helped their spread in the colonial period of South Africa. Today, despite being accepted as the language for government and education, English is only the fourth most prevalent home language for South Africans (at 8.2% of the population). The use of South African English is geographically widespread and is colored with many words and phrases from the most prevalent languages ​​such as Afrikaans and isiZulu.

Setswana

Setswana ties with English as the fourth most prevalent home language in South Africa. Another language that is widely spoken in the country, Setswana is also a national language in neighboring Botswana and has a few speakers in Namibia. Setswana belongs to the Sotho subgroup of Southeast Bantu languages. It was the first Sotho language to be translated from its oral form to a written form by early colonial scholars, in an effort to educate and spread religious teachings among native South Africans.

Sesotho

Sesotho is also known as Southern Sotho, another member of the Sotho subgroup of Southeast Bantu languages. Setswana and Sesotho speakers are most likely to understand each other. Sesotho was also one of the first African languages ​​to be translated into writing by European missionaries. It is the fifth most prevalent home language in South Africa (with 7.9% of the population as speakers at home). It is also the primary language of the Kingdom of Lesotho.

Tsonga

Tsonga is known by many names in South Africa, including Thonga, xiTsonga and Shangaan. It was brought to the northern provinces of South Africa by the Vatsonga tribes. These same people also settled in the southern regions of Mozambique and Zimbabwe. Thus, xiTsonga speakers are also found here. xiTsonga and xiShangaan are linguistically the same language. However, cultural differences separate them due to the various clans being subjugated and not subjugated by the Zulu leader Soshangane in the 19th century. Only 4.4% of the South African population speaks Tsonga as their first language.

The needs of diversity

The South African government intends to preserve its rich cultural heritage by using and developing all its official and non-official languages. This diversity and complexity should not be in contrast with the current trends of globalization. Competent language translation should enable South Africans and other people to create and maintain effective communication in an increasingly connected world.

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