Sanibonani! Goeie dag!

Started work on Afrikaans and isiZulu.* Both are beautiful languages, though I admit that occasionally the guttural nature of Afrikaans gets to me (though it depends on the speaker). isiZulu sounds like you should be telling a spellbinding story in it. To hear some basic isiZulu, go here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IIqKZo0NSN8. To hear some Afrikaans, click on links here: http://www.openlanguages.net/Afrikaans.

There are actually 11 official languages in South Africa, and even I am not crazy enough to try to learn them all. However, I can actually find resources for these two (and I think I have a bit of a grasp on English already; though if I can come back with a South African accent, all the better) and I stand a good chance of using these two.

The media in SA is evidently mostly in English, although English is only the 5th most spoken language there. The top 3 are isiZulu, isiXhosa (closely related to isiZulu and the native tongue of Nelson Mandela), and Afrikaans. And that X in isiXhosa? Nothing as ordinary as a simple “ks” – it’s one of those famous click consonants. Yay for learning cool weird sounds.


* Sometimes you will see the name of the language as “Zulu”. Why? Well, in a language like Spanish, there are masculine and feminine nouns. Masculine Spanish nouns tend to end in -o, and feminine nouns in -a. Languages in the Bantu family, like isiZulu (and isiXhosa, seSotho, or Kiswahili – also known as Swahili) have multiple noun categories usually indicated by prefixes. European languages tend to use genders to group nouns. Bantu languages are more abstract. So, for example, umZulu is a Zulu person, amaZulu are the Zulu people group, and isiZulu is the Zulu language.

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