Lead SALead SA

South Africa is a polyglot of languages. Which languages do you speak?

Written by: Elizabeth Kgabane

This week we celebrate International Mother Language Day a worldwide annual observance held on 21st February to promote awareness of linguistic and cultural diversity and promote multilingualism.

The day was first announced by Unesco on 17 November 1999 and was formally recognised by the United Nations General Assembly in a resolution establishing 2008 as the International Year of Languages.

The 12 official languages, sign language, different dialects, and 9 provinces' languages are the main touch point.

We celebrate our diversity through our native languages every day in our rainbow nation, with regular conversations easily encompassing various languages.

Words like 'ek se' an Afrikaans word which means 'I say', is generally used to add emphasis and has become a commonly used phenomenon amongst South Africans.

Many other words including, 'Indaba', a Zulu word meaning a conference or expo, 'Ndi matsheloni', a greeting in Venda, which means good morning and 'Dumelang', a Tswana greeting which means hello have also become a hit.

Learn more phrases here:




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