PLEASE NOTE:

MyNews24 is a user-generated section of News24.com. The stories here come from users.

 
Elimu
 
Comments: 25
Article views: 1195
 
 
Latest Badges:

 
View all Elimu's badges.
 

Great Shame of Language

05 January 2014, 21:13

It’s a tired topic but one that must be revisited because we haven’t resolved it: Languages.

Languages are very important, they can ostracize and reconcile. I’d wager that language is more important than skin colour. Nobody in these larney schools actually cares about your ethnicity, so long as your twanging is on par you’re good to go. Likewise, hip-hop culture has spread globally and across races, so long as you speak in their ‘urban’ style and use the words they do on topics the hip-hop community cares about. Heck, the king of hip-hop (arguably) is a white guy – Eminem. That doesn’t matter, because when you close your eyes he isn’t white or black, what he says and the ways he says it are hip-hop.

There is a growing fear and feeling though that most of our indigenous languages are being excluded from the millennium. Except for Afrikaans, our other South African languages barely make a blip on the radar besides Xhosa being the infamous ‘clicking language’. And while Afrikaans speakers stand on the other side of the scientific and technological barrier boasting about how Afrikaans is almost always the first language in an international drop-down list, the rest of us feel cheated. And so the calls come for scientific education in our other languages at school, and when reasonable people object they are called racists. It’s quite sad.

However, I expect reasonable people to also sympathize with the agony of your language – a major factor of one’s identity – being excluded from anything other than cheap social interactions and niceties and tourism attractions.  That’s where the debate comes in. It’s a crying shame to these communities that they are excluded from this whole world, for whatever reasons. However, as I pride myself in being pragmatic even in sympathy, I have a few realistic suggestions on how native speakers of these marginalized languages can rectify the situation (because who else do you expect to come and upgrade your languages?):

1.       Write more. There are a few popular newspapers and magazines in these languages but where are the scientific magazines (even just popular science, not journals) or the technological columns? Even Afrikaans is failing here (heck, there are practically no popular science magazines in South Africa)

2.       Read more. Children should be reading more of their indigenous languages. In addition to writing, investing in the younger generation is how you will develop vocabulary, but it has to be at a natural pace. You can’t suddenly invent a Zulu dictionary of science and expect kids to understand it. It has to be natural.

3.       Standardize – as painful as it sounds, we must sometimes abandon our dialects. There needs to be a (South African produced) standard dictionary and standard translation dictionary for our indigenous languages (most school kids are familiar with the Pharos English – Afrikaans).

4.       Get on the internet in a formal, standard way. News24 has a whole Zulu section on which I barely ever see comments, despite Zulu being the most common native tongue in the country. Google have just added more African languages to their translator and anybody can help by simply using the translator and clicking the button which asks if you can help in the translation. (The African languages were originally just Afrikaans and Swahili, but now include Zulu, Yoruba, Hausa and Igbo)

I’ll close by laying the responsibility and some of the blame where it belongs – with native speakers. Take note of the following shame, and I hope it spurs you to action: Nelson Mandela is the best known South African to have ever lived, and undoubtedly the most famous Xhosa person ever and the Xhosa page on Wikipedia is barely two paragraphs long, while the French, English, Dutch, Arabic and others simply go on and on.

So let’s remember that it’s really up to us to do this job, because who else should write the Xhosa page for this great man of the Thembu clan, this great South African? Hendrick Verwoed?

Disclaimer: All articles and letters published on MyNews24 have been independently written by members of News24's community. The views of users published on News24 are therefore their own and do not necessarily represent the views of News24. News24 editors also reserve the right to edit or delete any and all comments received.
 

Read News24’s Comments Policy

24.com publishes all comments posted on articles provided that they adhere to our Comments Policy. Should you wish to report a comment for editorial review, please do so by clicking the 'Report Comment' button to the right of each comment.

Comment on this story
25 comments
Add your comment
Comment 0 characters remaining

Read more from our Users

Submitted by
Katherine Frisk
Market is rigged

As soon as the London and the New York markets have opened, there has been a more and more obvious smashing of the price.  Read more...

3 comments 361 views
Submitted by
liljohnn
The Pied Piper of Nkandla.

They just watch as the sun sets on their dream, their hard fought dream. Read more...

1 comments 349 views
Submitted by
Monsternari@hell
SA Airlink - an expensive journey

Flying to Kimberley today from Cape Town return on Friday. Cost of ticket R 6500. Read more...

20 comments 3938 views
Submitted by
GMitch
Submitted by
Martin Malatjie
Disadvantaged students and poor f...

Every time when political demagogue are on the podium addressing students, they always promise free education, particularly tertiary education. Read more...

8 comments 372 views
Old people & Nurses

Old people… they are not a mysterious species that just one day ‘showed up’, we all know where they come from.  Read more...

5 comments 658 views

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Magical Massinga

Spend 5 nights at the gorgeous Massinga Beach Lodge in Mozambique and only pay for 4 from R13 220 per person sharing. Includes return flights, accommodation, transfers and romantic turndown. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Save up to 60% on toys!

Don’t miss out on this hot offer, save up to 60% on toys. While stocks last. Shop now!

Festive gifts!

Check out our awesome range of festive gifts to make everyone’s wishes come true. Shop now!

Seen something you like in our catalogue?

Find the perfect gift and save up to R5000 – As seen on the catalogue. Hurry and shop now!

Save up to R2200 on electronics! – As seen in the catalogue

Wishing for tech gadgets this festive? Save up to R2100 on hot tech products at kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 35% off books

Save up to 35% on the latest page-turners. While stocks last. Shop now!

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

 

services

E-mail Alerts The latest headlines in your inbox

RSS feeds News delivered really simply.

Mobile News24 on your mobile or PDA

E-mail Newsletters You choose what you want

News24 on your iPhone Get News24 headlines on your iPhone.

SMS Alerts Get breaking news stories via SMS.

Blogs Your opinion on you, me and everyone.

Calais Website keywords automated by OpenCalais.

 
Interactive Advertising Bureau
 
© 2014 24.com. All rights reserved.
There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.