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Languages of South Africa

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Languages of South Africa
South Africa 2011 dominant language map (hex cells).svg
Dominant languages in South Africa:
  •   Afrikaans
  •   English
  •   Pedi
  •   Sotho
  •   Southern Ndebele
  •   Swazi
  •   Tsonga
  •   Tswana
  •   Venda
  •   Xhosa
  •   Zulu
  •   None dominant
  •   Areas of little or no population
Official
Significant
MainEnglish
SignedSouth African Sign Language
Keyboard layout
Trilingual government building sign in Afrikaans, English, and Xhosa
Trilingual government building sign in Afrikaans, English, and Xhosa
A man speaking Afrikaans
Languages of South Africa (2017)[1]
Languages percent
Zulu
24.7%
Xhosa
15.6%
Afrikaans
12.1%
Sepedi
9.8%
Tswana
8.9%
English
8.4%
Sotho
8%
Tsonga
4%
Swati
2.6%
Venda
2.5%
Ndebele
1.6%
SA Sign Language
0.5%

At least thirty-five languages indigenous to South Africa are spoken in the Republic, eleven of which are official languages of South Africa: Ndebele, Pedi, Sotho, Swati, Tsonga, Tswana, Venda, Xhosa, Zulu, Afrikaans, and English, which is the primary language used in parliamentary and state discourse, though all official languages are equal in legal status. Unofficial languages are protected under the Constitution of South Africa, though few are mentioned by any name. South African Sign Language has legal recognition but is not an official language, despite a campaign and parliamentary recommendation for it to be declared one.[2]

Unofficial and marginalised languages include what are considered some of Southern Africa's oldest languages: Khoekhoegowab, !Orakobab, Xirikobab, N|uuki, !Xunthali, and Khwedam; and other African languages, such as SiPhuthi, IsiHlubi, SiBhaca, SiLala, SiNhlangwini (IsiZansi), SiNrebele (SiSumayela), IsiMpondo/IsiMpondro, IsiMpondomise/IsiMpromse/Isimpomse, KheLobedu, SePulana, HiPai, SeKutswe, SeṰokwa, SeHananwa, SiThonga, SiLaNgomane, SheKgalagari, XiRhonga, SeKopa (Sekgaga), and others. Most South Africans can speak more than one language,[3] and there is very often a diglossia between the official and unofficial language forms for speakers of the latter.

Discover more about Languages of South Africa related topics

Afrikaans

Afrikaans

Afrikaans is a West Germanic language that evolved in the Dutch Cape Colony from the Dutch vernacular of Holland proper used by Dutch, French, and German settlers and their enslaved people. Afrikaans gradually began to develop distinguishing characteristics during the course of the 18th century. Now spoken in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, estimates circa 2010 of the total number of Afrikaans speakers range between 15 and 23 million. Most linguists consider Afrikaans to be a partly creole language.

Constitution of South Africa

Constitution of South Africa

The Constitution of South Africa is the supreme law of the Republic of South Africa. It provides the legal foundation for the existence of the republic, it sets out the rights and duties of its citizens, and defines the structure of the Government. The current constitution, the country's fifth, was drawn up by the Parliament elected in 1994 in the South African general election, 1994. It was promulgated by President Nelson Mandela on 18 December 1996 and came into effect on 4 February 1997, replacing the Interim Constitution of 1993. The first constitution was enacted by the South Africa Act 1909, the longest-lasting to date. Since 1961, the constitutions have promulgated a republican form of government.

Khoemana

Khoemana

ǃOrakobab or Khoemana, also known as Korana, ǃOra, or Griqua, is a moribund Khoe language of South Africa.

Nǁng language

Nǁng language

Nǁng [ᵑǁŋ] or Nǁŋǃke, commonly known by the name of its dialect Nǀuu (Nǀhuki), is a moribund Tuu (Khoisan) language once spoken in South Africa. It is no longer spoken on a daily basis, as the speakers live in different villages. The dialect name ǂKhomani is used for the entire people by the South African government, but the descendants of ǂKhomani-dialect speakers now speak Khoikhoi. As of June 2021, only one speaker of the Nǀuu dialect and two of the ǁʼAu dialect remain.

Khwe language

Khwe language

Khwe is a dialect continuum of the Khoe family of Namibia, Angola, Botswana, South Africa, and parts of Zambia, with some 8,000 speakers.

Hlubi language

Hlubi language

Hlubi is a minor Bantu language of South Africa, traditionally considered a dialect of Swazi. It is spoken in South Africa, near where the Xhosa, Sotho, and Phuthi languages meet at the Orange River and the southern point of Lesotho. The scattered Hlubi people speak several languages, including Swazi, and the Hlubi dialect of Xhosa in the former Bantustan of Ciskei.

Bhaca language

Bhaca language

Bhaca, or IsiBhaca (Baca) is a Bantu language of South Africa. Traditionally considered a dialect of Swati, it is closer to Zulu, Phuthi and Xhosa. It is spoken southeast of Lesotho, where Sotho, Xhosa and Zulu meet, mainly around Mount Frere, Mzimkhulu, and to a lesser extent in Mount Ayliff, Matatiele, Harding, Bulwer, Underberg, Highflats, Umzinto, Umzumbe and Ixopo.

Lala language (South Africa)

Lala language (South Africa)

Lala is a Bantu language of South Africa, claimed to be extinct in some sources. As of 1999, however, there were still a number of communities of speakers in the coastal regions of the KwaZulu-Natal province of South Africa. Although it is a Tekela Nguni language, for sociological reasons it is often considered a dialect of Zulu, whereas it differs quite markedly in phonology and to a degree in morphology, and with a large portion of its lexicon derived from Xhosa and the IsiZansi Tekela variety of the lower South Coast.

Nhlangwini language

Nhlangwini language

Nhlangwini (Hlangwane) is a Bantu language of South Africa. It is located along the border between Xhosa and Zulu, but is more closely related to Swazi.

Kgalagadi language

Kgalagadi language

Kgalagadi is a Bantu language spoken in Botswana, along the South African border. It is spoken by about 40,000 people. In the language, it is known as Shekgalagari.

Multilingualism

Multilingualism

Multilingualism is the use of more than one language, either by an individual speaker or by a group of speakers. It is believed that multilingual speakers outnumber monolingual speakers in the world's population. More than half of all Europeans claim to speak at least one language other than their mother tongue; but many read and write in one language. Multilingualism is advantageous for people wanting to participate in trade, globalization and cultural openness. Owing to the ease of access to information facilitated by the Internet, individuals' exposure to multiple languages has become increasingly possible. People who speak several languages are also called polyglots.

Diglossia

Diglossia

In linguistics, diglossia is a situation in which two dialects or languages are used by a single language community. In addition to the community's everyday or vernacular language variety, a second, highly codified lect is used in certain situations such as literature, formal education, or other specific settings, but not used normally for ordinary conversation. In most cases, the H variety has no native speakers but various degrees of fluency of the low speakers. In cases of three dialects, the term triglossia is used. When referring to two writing systems coexisting for a single language, digraphia is the word.

Language demographics

Proportion of the population that speaks a Nguni language as a first language.

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  0–20%
  20–40%
  40–60%

  60–80%
  80–100%Density of first-language speakers of Nguni languages.


  2
  1–3 /km2
  3–10 /km2
  10–30 /km2
  30–100 /km2

  100–300 /km2
  300–1000 /km2
  1000–3000 /km2
  >3000 /km2
Proportion of the population that speaks a Nguni language as a first language.
  0–20%
  20–40%
  40–60%
  60–80%
  80–100%
Proportion of the population that speaks a Nguni language as a first language.

@media(min-width:720px){.mw-parser-output .columns-start .column{float:left;min-width:20em}.mw-parser-output .columns-2 .column{width:50%}.mw-parser-output .columns-3 .column{width:33.3%}.mw-parser-output .columns-4 .column{width:25%}.mw-parser-output .columns-5 .column{width:20%}}
  0–20%
  20–40%
  40–60%

  60–80%
  80–100%Density of first-language speakers of Nguni languages.


  2
  1–3 /km2
  3–10 /km2
  10–30 /km2
  30–100 /km2

  100–300 /km2
  300–1000 /km2
  1000–3000 /km2
  >3000 /km2
Density of first-language speakers of Nguni languages.
  2
  1–3 /km2
  3–10 /km2
  10–30 /km2
  30–100 /km2
  100–300 /km2
  300–1000 /km2
  1000–3000 /km2
  >3000 /km2
Proportion of the population that speaks a Sotho–Tswana language as a first language.


  0–20%
  20–40%
  40–60%

  60–80%
  80–100%Density of first-language speakers of Sotho–Tswana languages.


  2
  1–3 /km2
  3–10 /km2
  10–30 /km2
  30–100 /km2

  100–300 /km2
  300–1000 /km2
  1000–3000 /km2
  >3000 /km2
Proportion of the population that speaks a Sotho–Tswana language as a first language.
  0–20%
  20–40%
  40–60%
  60–80%
  80–100%
Proportion of the population that speaks a Sotho–Tswana language as a first language.


  0–20%
  20–40%
  40–60%

  60–80%
  80–100%Density of first-language speakers of Sotho–Tswana languages.


  2
  1–3 /km2
  3–10 /km2
  10–30 /km2
  30–100 /km2

  100–300 /km2
  300–1000 /km2
  1000–3000 /km2
  >3000 /km2
Density of first-language speakers of Sotho–Tswana languages.
  2
  1–3 /km2
  3–10 /km2
  10–30 /km2
  30–100 /km2
  100–300 /km2
  300–1000 /km2
  1000–3000 /km2
  >3000 /km2
Proportion of the population that speaks a West Germanic language as a first language.


  0–20%
  20–40%
  40–60%

  60–80%
  80–100%Density of first-language speakers of West Germanic languages.


  2
  1–3 /km2
  3–10 /km2
  10–30 /km2
  30–100 /km2

  100–300 /km2
  300–1000 /km2
  1000–3000 /km2
  >3000 /km2
Proportion of the population that speaks a West Germanic language as a first language.
  0–20%
  20–40%
  40–60%
  60–80%
  80–100%
Proportion of the population that speaks a West Germanic language as a first language.


  0–20%
  20–40%
  40–60%

  60–80%
  80–100%Density of first-language speakers of West Germanic languages.


  2
  1–3 /km2
  3–10 /km2
  10–30 /km2
  30–100 /km2

  100–300 /km2
  300–1000 /km2
  1000–3000 /km2
  >3000 /km2
Density of first-language speakers of West Germanic languages.
  2
  1–3 /km2
  3–10 /km2
  10–30 /km2
  30–100 /km2
  100–300 /km2
  300–1000 /km2
  1000–3000 /km2
  >3000 /km2

The most common language spoken as a first language by South Africans is Zulu (23 percent), followed by Xhosa (16 percent), and Afrikaans (14 percent). English is the fourth most common first language in the country (9.6%), but is understood in most urban areas and is the dominant language in government and the media.[4]

Trilingual sign in Roodepoort, in English, Afrikaans and Tswana
Trilingual sign in Roodepoort, in English, Afrikaans and Tswana

The majority of South Africans speak a language from one of the two principal branches of the Bantu languages that are represented in South Africa: the Sotho–Tswana branch (which includes Southern Sotho, Northern Sotho and Tswana languages officially), or the Nguni branch (which includes Zulu, Xhosa, Swati and Ndebele languages officially). For each of the two groups, the languages within that group are for the most part intelligible to a native speaker of any other language within that group.

The indigenous African languages of South Africa which are official, and therefore dominant, can be divided into two geographical zones, with Nguni languages being predominant in the south-eastern third of the country (Indian Ocean coast) and Sotho-Tswana languages being predominant in the northern third of the country located further inland, as also in Botswana and Lesotho. Gauteng is the most linguistically heterogeneous province, with roughly equal numbers of Nguni, Sotho-Tswana and Indo-European language speakers, with Khoekhoe influence. This has resulted in the spread of an urban argot, Tsotsitaal or S'Camtho/Ringas, in large urban townships in the province, which has spread nationwide.

Tsotsitaal in its original form as "Flaaitaal" was based on Afrikaans, a language derived from Dutch, which is the most widely spoken language in the western half of the country (Western and Northern Cape). It is spoken as first language by approximately 61 percent of whites and 76 percent of Coloureds.[5] This racial term is popularly considered to mean "multiracial", as it represents to some degree a creole population many of whom are descendants of slave populations imported by the Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie (VOC) from slaving posts in West and East Africa, and from its colonies of the Indian Ocean trade route.

Political exiles from the VOC colony of Batavia were also brought to the Cape, and these formed a major influencing force in the formation of Afrikaans, particularly in its Malay influence, and its early Jawi literature. Primary of these was the founder of Islam at the Cape, Sheikh Abadin Tadia Tjoessoep (known as Sheikh Yusuf). Hajji Yusuf was an Indonesian noble of royal descent, being the nephew of the Sultan Alauddin of Gowa, in today Makassar, Nusantara. Yusuf, along with 49 followers including two wives, two concubines and twelve children, were received in the Cape on 2 April 1694 by governor Simon van der Stel. They were housed on the farm Zandvliet, far outside of Cape Town, in an attempt to minimise his influence on the VOC's slaves. The plan failed however; Yusuf's settlement (called Macassar) soon became a sanctuary for slaves and it was here that the first cohesive Islamic community in South Africa was established. From here the message of Islam was disseminated to the slave community of Cape Town, and this population was foundational in the formation of Afrikaans. Of particular note is the Cape Muslim pioneering of the first Afrikaans literature, written in Arabic Afrikaans, which was an adaptation of the Jawi script, using Arabic letters to represent Afrikaans for both religious and quotidian purposes. It also became the de facto national language of the Griqua (Xiri or Griekwa) nation, which was a mixed race group.

Afrikaans is also spoken widely across the centre and north of the country, as a second (or third or even fourth) language by Black South Africans (which, in South Africa, popularly means SiNtu-speaking populations) living in farming areas.

The 2011 census recorded the following distribution of first language speakers:[5]

Demographics

Language L1 speakers L2 speakers[6] Total speakers[6]
Count Of population Count Of population Count Of population
Zulu 11,587,374 22.7% 15,700,000 27,300,000 46%
Xhosa 8,154,258 16.0% 11,000,000 19,150,000 33%
Afrikaans 6,855,082 13.5% 10,300,000 17,160,000 29%
English 4,892,623 9.6% 14,000,000 19,640,000 33%
Northern Sotho 4,618,576 9.1% 9,100,000 13,720,000 23%
Tswana 4,067,248 8.0% 7,700,000 11,770,000 20%
Sotho 3,849,563 7.6% 7,900,000 11,750,000 20%
Tsonga 2,277,148 4.5% 3,400,000 5,680,000 10%
Swati 1,297,046 2.5% 2,400,000 3,700,000 6%
Venda 1,209,388 2.4% 1,700,000 2,910,000 5%
Ndebele 1,090,223 2.1% 1,400,000 2,490,000 4%
SA Sign Language 234,655 0.5% 500,000
Other languages 828,258 1.6%
Total 50,961,443 100.0%
Language 2011 2001 Change (pp)
Zulu 22.7% 23.8% -1.1%
Xhosa 16.0% 17.6% -1.6%
Afrikaans 13.5% 13.3% +0.2%
English 9.6% 8.2% +1.4%
Sepedi 9.1% 9.4% -0.3%
Tswana 8.0% 8.2% -0.2%
Sesotho 7.6% 7.9% -0.3%
Tsonga 4.5% 4.4% +0.1%
Swati 2.5% 2.7% -0.2%
Venda 2.4% 2.3% +0.1%
Ndebele 2.1% 1.6% +0.5%
SA Sign Language 0.5%
Other languages 1.6% 0.5% +1.1%
Total 100.0% 100.0%

Other significant languages in South Africa

Other languages spoken in South Africa not mentioned in the Constitution, include many of those already mentioned above, such as KheLobedu, SiNrebele, SiPhuthi, as well as mixed languages like Fanakalo (a pidgin language used as a lingua franca in the mining industry), and Tsotsitaal or S'Camtho, an argot that has found wider usage as an informal register.

Many unofficial languages have been variously claimed to be dialects of official languages, which largely follows the Apartheid practice of the Bantustans, wherein minority populations were legally assimilated towards the official ethnos of the Bantustan or "Homeland".

Significant numbers of immigrants from Europe, elsewhere in Africa, China, and the Indian subcontinent (largely as a result of the British Indian indenture system) means that a wide variety of other languages can also be found in parts of South Africa. In the older immigrant communities there are: Greek, Gujarati, Hindi, Portuguese, Tamil, Telugu, Urdu, Yiddish, Italian and smaller numbers of Dutch, French and German speakers. Older Chinese tend to speak Cantonese or Hokkien, but recent immigrants mainly speak Mandarin Chinese.

These non-official languages may be used in limited semi-official use where it has been determined that these languages are prevalent. More importantly, these languages have significant local functions in specific communities whose identity is tightly bound around the linguistic and cultural identity that these non-official SA languages signal.

The fastest growing non-official language is Portuguese[7] – first spoken by immigrants from Portugal, especially Madeira[8] and later black and white settlers and refugees from Angola and Mozambique after they won independence from Portugal and now by more recent immigrants from those countries again – and increasingly French, spoken by immigrants and refugees from Francophone Central Africa.

More recently, speakers of North, Central and West Africa languages have arrived in South Africa, mostly in the major cities, especially in Johannesburg and Pretoria, but also Cape Town and Durban.[9]

Angloromani is spoken by the South African Roma minority.[10]

Discover more about Language demographics related topics

Sotho–Tswana languages

Sotho–Tswana languages

Sotho–Tswana languages are a group of closely related Bantu languages spoken in Southern Africa. The Sotho–Tswana group corresponds to the S.30 label in Guthrie's 1967–71 classification of languages in the Bantu family.

Roodepoort

Roodepoort

Roodepoort is a town in the Gauteng province of South Africa. Formerly an independent municipality, Roodepoort became part of the Johannesburg municipality in the late 1990s, along with Randburg and Sandton. Johannesburg's most famous botanical garden, Witwatersrand National Botanical Gardens, is located in Roodepoort.

Afrikaans

Afrikaans

Afrikaans is a West Germanic language that evolved in the Dutch Cape Colony from the Dutch vernacular of Holland proper used by Dutch, French, and German settlers and their enslaved people. Afrikaans gradually began to develop distinguishing characteristics during the course of the 18th century. Now spoken in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, estimates circa 2010 of the total number of Afrikaans speakers range between 15 and 23 million. Most linguists consider Afrikaans to be a partly creole language.

Bantu languages

Bantu languages

The Bantu languages are a large family of languages spoken by the Bantu people of Central, Southern, and Southeast Africa. They form the largest branch of the Southern Bantoid languages.

Nguni languages

Nguni languages

The Nguni languages are a group of closely related Bantu languages spoken in southern Africa by the Nguni peoples. Nguni languages include Xhosa, Zulu, Ndebele, and Swazi. The appellation "Nguni" derives from the Nguni cattle type. Ngoni is an older, or a shifted, variant.

Botswana

Botswana

Botswana, officially the Republic of Botswana, is a landlocked country in Southern Africa. Botswana is topographically flat, with approximately 70 percent of its territory being the Kalahari Desert. It is bordered by South Africa to the south and southeast, Namibia to the west and north, and Zimbabwe to the northeast. It is connected to Zambia across the short Zambezi River border by the Kazungula Bridge.

Lesotho

Lesotho

Lesotho, officially the Kingdom of Lesotho, is a country landlocked as an enclave in South Africa. It is situated in the Maloti Mountains and contains the highest mountains in Southern Africa. It has an area of over 30,000 km2 (11,600 sq mi) and has a population of about 2 million.

Gauteng

Gauteng

Gauteng is one of the nine provinces of South Africa. The name in Sotho-Tswana languages means 'place of gold'.

Dutch language

Dutch language

Dutch is a West Germanic language spoken by about 25 million people as a first language and 5 million as a second language. It is the third most widely spoken Germanic language, after its close relatives German and English. Afrikaans is a separate but somewhat mutually intelligible daughter language spoken, to some degree, by at least 16 million people, mainly in South Africa and Namibia, evolving from the Cape Dutch dialects of Southern Africa. The dialects used in Belgium and in Suriname, meanwhile, are all guided by the Dutch Language Union.

Northern Cape

Northern Cape

The Northern Cape is the largest and most sparsely populated province of South Africa. It was created in 1994 when the Cape Province was split up. Its capital is Kimberley. It includes the Kalahari Gemsbok National Park, part of the Kgalagadi Transfrontier Park and an international park shared with Botswana. It also includes the Augrabies Falls and the diamond mining regions in Kimberley and Alexander Bay.

Dutch East India Company

Dutch East India Company

The United East India Company was a chartered company established on the 20th March 1602 by the States General of the Netherlands amalgamating existing companies into the first joint-stock company in the world, granting it a 21-year monopoly to carry out trade activities in Asia. Shares in the company could be bought by any resident of the United Provinces and then subsequently bought and sold in open-air secondary markets. It is sometimes considered to have been the first multinational corporation. It was a powerful company, possessing quasi-governmental powers, including the ability to wage war, imprison and execute convicts, negotiate treaties, strike its own coins, and establish colonies. They are also known for their international slave trade.

Indian Ocean

Indian Ocean

The Indian Ocean is the third-largest of the world's five oceanic divisions, covering 70,560,000 km2 (27,240,000 sq mi) or ~19.8% of the water on Earth's surface. It is bounded by Asia to the north, Africa to the west and Australia to the east. To the south it is bounded by the Southern Ocean or Antarctica, depending on the definition in use. Along its core, the Indian Ocean has some large marginal or regional seas such as the Arabian Sea, Laccadive Sea, Bay of Bengal, and Andaman Sea.

Constitutional provisions

Chapter 1 (Founding Provisions), Section 6 (Languages) of the Constitution of South Africa is the basis for government language policy.

The English text of the constitution signed by president Nelson Mandela on 16 December 1996 uses (mostly) the names of the languages expressed in those languages themselves. Sesotho refers to Southern Sotho, and isiNdebele refers to Southern Ndebele. The Interim Constitution of 1993 referred to Sesotho sa Leboa, while the 1996 Constitution used "Sepedi" for the title of the Northern Sotho language.[11]

The constitution mentions "sign language" in the generic sense rather than South African Sign Language specifically.

  1. The official languages of the Republic are Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, siSwati, Tshivenda, Xitsonga, Afrikaans, English, isiNdebele, isiXhosa and isiZulu.
  2. Recognising the historically diminished use and status of the indigenous languages of our people, the state must take practical and positive measures to elevate the status and advance the use of these languages.
  3. (a) The national government and provincial governments may use any particular official languages for the purposes of government, taking into account usage, practicality, expense, regional circumstances and the balance of the needs and preferences of the population as a whole or in the province concerned; but the national government and each provincial government must use at least two official languages.
    (b) Municipalities must take into account the language usage and preferences of their residents.
  4. The national government and provincial governments, by legislative and other measures, must regulate and monitor their use of official languages. Without detracting from the provisions of subsection (2), all official languages must enjoy parity of esteem and must be treated equitably.
  5. A Pan South African Language Board established by national legislation must
    (a) promote, and create conditions for, the development and use of -
      (i) all official languages;
      (ii) the Khoi, Nama and San languages; and
      (iii) sign language; and
    (b) promote and ensure respect for -
      (i) all languages commonly used by communities in South Africa, including German, Greek, Gujarati, Hindi, Portuguese, Telugu, Tamil and Urdu; and
      (ii) Arabic, Hebrew, Sanskrit and other languages used for religious purposes in South Africa.
    — Constitution of the Republic of South Africa[12]

Discover more about Constitutional provisions related topics

Constitution of South Africa

Constitution of South Africa

The Constitution of South Africa is the supreme law of the Republic of South Africa. It provides the legal foundation for the existence of the republic, it sets out the rights and duties of its citizens, and defines the structure of the Government. The current constitution, the country's fifth, was drawn up by the Parliament elected in 1994 in the South African general election, 1994. It was promulgated by President Nelson Mandela on 18 December 1996 and came into effect on 4 February 1997, replacing the Interim Constitution of 1993. The first constitution was enacted by the South Africa Act 1909, the longest-lasting to date. Since 1961, the constitutions have promulgated a republican form of government.

Language policy

Language policy

Language policy is an interdisciplinary academic field. Some scholars such as Joshua Fishman and Ofelia García consider it as part of sociolinguistics. On the other hand, other scholars such as Bernard Spolsky, Robert B. Kaplan and Joseph Lo Bianco argue that language policy is a branch of applied linguistics.

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Rolihlahla Mandela was a South African anti-apartheid activist who served as the first president of South Africa from 1994 to 1999. He was the country's first black head of state and the first elected in a fully representative democratic election. His government focused on dismantling the legacy of apartheid by fostering racial reconciliation. Ideologically an African nationalist and socialist, he served as the president of the African National Congress (ANC) party from 1991 to 1997.

Northern Sotho language

Northern Sotho language

Northern Sotho, or Sesotho sa Leboa as an endonym, is a Sotho-Tswana language spoken in the northeastern provinces of South Africa. It is sometimes referred to as Sepedi or Pedi, its main dialect, through synecdoche.

Sotho language

Sotho language

Sotho or Sesotho or Southern Sotho is a Southern Bantu language of the Sotho–Tswana ("S.30") group, spoken primarily by the Basotho in Lesotho, where it is the national and official language; South Africa, where it is one of the 11 official languages; and in Zimbabwe where it is one of 16 official languages.

Tsonga language

Tsonga language

Tsonga or Xitsonga as an endonym, is a Bantu language spoken by the Tsonga people of southern Africa. It is mutually intelligible with Tswa and Ronga and the name "Tsonga" is often used as a cover term for all three, also sometimes referred to as Tswa-Ronga. The Xitsonga language has been standardised for both academic and home use. Tsonga is an official language of South Africa, and under the name "Shangani" it is recognised as an official language in the Constitution of Zimbabwe. All Tswa-Ronga languages are recognised in Mozambique. It is not official in Eswatini.

English language

English language

English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family, with its earliest forms spoken by the inhabitants of early medieval England. It is named after the Angles, one of the ancient Germanic peoples that migrated to the island of Great Britain. English is genealogically West Germanic, closest related to the Low Saxon and Frisian languages; however, its vocabulary is also distinctively influenced by dialects of French and Latin, plus some grammar and a small amount of core vocabulary influenced by Old Norse. Speakers of English are called Anglophones.

Southern Ndebele language

Southern Ndebele language

Southern Ndebele, also known as Transvaal Ndebele or South Ndebele, is an African language belonging to the Nguni group of Bantu languages, spoken by the Ndebele people of South Africa.

Pan South African Language Board

Pan South African Language Board

The Pan South African Language Board is an organisation in South Africa established to promote multilingualism, to develop the 11 official languages, and to protect language rights in South Africa. The Board was established in Act 59 of 1995 by the Parliament of South Africa.

German language

German language

German is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family, mainly spoken in Central Europe. It is the most widely spoken and official or co-official language in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Liechtenstein, and the Italian province of South Tyrol. It is also a co-official language of Luxembourg and Belgium, as well as a national language in Namibia. Outside Germany, it is also spoken by German communities in France (Bas-Rhin), Czech Republic, Poland, Slovakia and Hungary (Sopron).

Greek language

Greek language

Greek is an independent branch of the Indo-European family of languages, native to Greece, Cyprus, southern Italy, southern Albania, and other regions of the Balkans, the Black Sea coast, Asia Minor, and the Eastern Mediterranean. It has the longest documented history of any Indo-European language, spanning at least 3,400 years of written records. Its writing system is the Greek alphabet, which has been used for approximately 2,800 years; previously, Greek was recorded in writing systems such as Linear B and the Cypriot syllabary. The alphabet arose from the Phoenician script and was in turn the basis of the Latin, Cyrillic, Armenian, Coptic, Gothic, and many other writing systems.

Gujarati language

Gujarati language

Gujarati is an Indo-Aryan language native to the Indian state of Gujarat and spoken predominantly by the Gujarati people. Gujarati is descended from Old Gujarati. In India, it is one of the 22 scheduled languages of the Union. It is also the official language in the state of Gujarat, as well as an official language in the union territory of Dadra and Nagar Haveli and Daman and Diu. As of 2011, Gujarati is the 6th most widely spoken language in India by number of native speakers, spoken by 55.5 million speakers which amounts to about 4.5% of the total Indian population. It is the 26th most widely spoken language in the world by number of native speakers as of 2007.

The Constitution of South Africa in Various Languages

The following is from the preamble to the Constitution of South Africa:

English[13] Afrikaans[14] isiNdebele[15] isiXhosa[16] isiZulu[17] siSwati[18] Sepedi[19] Sesotho[20] Setswana[21] Tshivenda[22] Xitsonga[23]
Preamble Aanhef Isendlalelo Intshayelelo Isendlalelo Sendlalelo Ketapele Ketapele Pulamadibogo Mvulatswinga Manghenelo
We, the people of South Africa, Ons, die mense van Suid-Afrika, Thina, abantu beSewula Afrika, Thina, bantu baseMzantsi-Afrika, Thina, bantu baseNingizimu Afrika, Tsine, bantfu baseNingizimu Afrika, Rena, batho ba Afrika Borwa, Rona, batho ba Afrika Borwa, Rona, batho ba Aforika Borwa, Riṋe, vhathu vha Afrika Tshipembe, Hina, vanhu va Afrika Dzonga,
Recognise the injustices of our past; Erken die ongeregtighede van ons verlede; Siyakwazi ukungakaphatheki kwethu ngokomthetho kwesikhathi sakade; Siyaziqonda iintswela-bulungisa zexesha elidlulileyo; Siyazamukela izenzo ezingalungile zesikhathi esadlula; Siyakubona kungabi khona kwebulungiswa esikhatsini lesengcile; Re lemoga ditlhokatoka tša rena tša bogologolo; Re elellwa ho ba le leeme ha rona nakong e fetileng; Re itse ditshiamololo tsa rona tse di fetileng; Ri dzhiela nṱha u shaea ha vhulamukanyi kha tshifhinga tsho fhelaho; Hi lemuka ku pfumaleka ka vululami ka nkarhi lowu nga hundza;
Honour those who suffered for justice and freedom in our land; Huldig diegene wat vir geregtigheid en vryheid in ons land gely het; Sihlonipha labo abatlhoriswako ngerhuluphelo lokobana kube khona ubulungiswa netjhaphuluko enarheni yekhethu; Sibothulel’ umnqwazi abo baye bev’ ubunzima ukuze kubekho ubulungisa nenkululeko elizweni lethu; Siphakamisa labo abahluphekela ubulungiswa nenkululeko emhlabeni wethu; Setfulela sigcoko labo labahlushwa kuze sitfole bulungiswa nenkhululeko eveni lakitsi; Re tlotla bao ba ilego ba hlokofaletšwa toka le tokologo nageng ya gaborena; Re tlotla ba hlokofaditsweng ka lebaka la toka le tokoloho naheng ya rona; Re tlotla ba ba bogileng ka ntlha ya tshiamo le kgololosego mo lefatsheng la rona; Ri ṱhonifha havho vhe vha tambulela vhulamukanyi na mbofholowo kha shango ḽashu; Hi xixima lava xanisekeke hikwalaho ko hisekela vululami na ntshunxeko etikweni ra hina;
Respect those who have worked to build and develop our country; and Respekteer diegene wat hul beywer het om ons land op te bou en te ontwikkel; en Sihlonipha labo abasebenzileko ekwakhiweni nekuthuthukisweni kwephasi lekhethu; begodu Siyabahlonela abo baye basebenzela ukwakha nokuphucula ilizwe lethu; kwaye Sihlonipha labo abasebenzele ukwakha nokuthuthukisa izwe lethu; futhi Sihlonipha labo labaye basebentela kwakha nekutfutfukisa live lakitsi; futsi Re hlompha bao ba ilego ba katanela go aga le go hlabolla naga ya gaborena; mme Re tlotla ba ileng ba sebeletsa ho aha le ho ntshetsa pele naha ya rona; mme Re tlotla ba ba diretseng go aga le go tlhabolola naga ya rona; mme Ri ṱhonifha havho vhe vha shuma vha tshi itela u fhaṱa na u bveledzisa shango ḽashu; na Hi hlonipha lava tirheke ku aka no hluvukisa tiko ra hina; no
Believe that South Africa belongs to all who live in it, united in our diversity. Glo dat Suid-Afrika behoort aan almal wat daarin woon, verenig in ons verskeidenheid. Sikholwa bonyana iSewula Afrika ingeyabo boke abandzindze kiyo, sibambisane ngokwahlukahlukana kwethu. Sikholelwa kwelokuba uMzantsi-Afrika ngowabo bonke abahlala kuwo, bemanyene nangona bengafani. Sikholelwa ukuthi iNingizimu Afrika ingeyabo bonke abahlala kuyo, sibumbene nakuba singafani. Sikholelwa ekutseni iNingizimu Afrika yabo bonkhe labahlala kuyo, sihlangene ngekwehlukahlukana kwetfu; Re dumela gore Afrika-Borwa ke ya batho bohle ba ba dulago go yona, re le ngata e tee e nago le pharologano Re dumela hore Afrika Borwa ke naha ya bohle ba phelang ho yona, re kopane le ha re fapane. Re dumela fa Aforika Borwa e le ya botlhe ba ba tshelang mo go yona, re le ngata e le nngwe ka go farologana U tenda uri Afrika Tshipembe ndi ḽa vhoṱhe vhane vha dzula khaḽo, vho vhofhekanywaho vha vha huthihi naho vha sa fani. Tshembha leswaku Afrika Dzonga i ya vanhu hinkwavo lava tshamaka eka rona, hi hlanganile hi ku hambana-hambana ka hina.

Discover more about The Constitution of South Africa in Various Languages related topics

Constitution of South Africa

Constitution of South Africa

The Constitution of South Africa is the supreme law of the Republic of South Africa. It provides the legal foundation for the existence of the republic, it sets out the rights and duties of its citizens, and defines the structure of the Government. The current constitution, the country's fifth, was drawn up by the Parliament elected in 1994 in the South African general election, 1994. It was promulgated by President Nelson Mandela on 18 December 1996 and came into effect on 4 February 1997, replacing the Interim Constitution of 1993. The first constitution was enacted by the South Africa Act 1909, the longest-lasting to date. Since 1961, the constitutions have promulgated a republican form of government.

English language

English language

English is a West Germanic language of the Indo-European language family, with its earliest forms spoken by the inhabitants of early medieval England. It is named after the Angles, one of the ancient Germanic peoples that migrated to the island of Great Britain. English is genealogically West Germanic, closest related to the Low Saxon and Frisian languages; however, its vocabulary is also distinctively influenced by dialects of French and Latin, plus some grammar and a small amount of core vocabulary influenced by Old Norse. Speakers of English are called Anglophones.

Afrikaans

Afrikaans

Afrikaans is a West Germanic language that evolved in the Dutch Cape Colony from the Dutch vernacular of Holland proper used by Dutch, French, and German settlers and their enslaved people. Afrikaans gradually began to develop distinguishing characteristics during the course of the 18th century. Now spoken in South Africa, Namibia and Botswana, Zambia, and Zimbabwe, estimates circa 2010 of the total number of Afrikaans speakers range between 15 and 23 million. Most linguists consider Afrikaans to be a partly creole language.

Southern Ndebele language

Southern Ndebele language

Southern Ndebele, also known as Transvaal Ndebele or South Ndebele, is an African language belonging to the Nguni group of Bantu languages, spoken by the Ndebele people of South Africa.

Source: "Languages of South Africa", Wikipedia, Wikimedia Foundation, (2022, November 25th), https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Languages_of_South_Africa.

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See also
References
  1. ^ "Africa :: SOUTH AFRICA". CIA The World Factbook. 8 March 2022.
  2. ^ "South Africa could make signing official language". bbc.com. 28 July 2017. Retrieved 19 April 2019.
  3. ^ Alexander, Mary (6 March 2018). "The 11 languages of South Africa - South Africa Gateway". South Africa Gateway. Retrieved 12 March 2018.
  4. ^ The Economist, "Tongues under threat", 22 January 2011, p. 58.
  5. ^ a b Census 2011: Census in brief (PDF). Pretoria: Statistics South Africa. 2012. pp. 23–25. ISBN 9780621413885.
  6. ^ a b "South Africa". Ethnologue. Retrieved 4 September 2022.
  7. ^ "A Comunidade dos Países de Língua Portuguesa, com Jorge Couto" [The Community of Portuguese-Speaking Countries, with Jorge Couto] (in Portuguese). Retrieved 22 June 2015.
  8. ^ "Portuguese Migration to, And Settlement in South Africa: 1510-2013" (PDF). SSIIM (UNESCO Chair on the Social and Spatial Inclusion of International Migrants – Urban Policies and Practices). 10 May 2013. Retrieved 27 August 2018.
  9. ^ Palusci, Oriana (2010). English, But Not Quite: Locating Linguistic Diversity. p. 180. ISBN 9788864580074.
  10. ^ "South Africa - Languages".
  11. ^ "Constitution of the Republic of South Africa Act 200 of 1993". www.gov.za. Retrieved 6 December 2014.
  12. ^ "Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, 1996 - Chapter 1: Founding Provisions". www.gov.za. Retrieved 6 December 2014.
  13. ^ "The SA Constitution".
  14. ^ https://www.justice.gov.za/legislation/constitution/translations/0/SAConstitution-web-afr-0.pdf
  15. ^ https://www.justice.gov.za/legislation/constitution/translations/0/SAConstitution-web-nde-0.pdf
  16. ^ https://www.justice.gov.za/legislation/constitution/translations/0/SAConstitution-web-xho-0.pdf
  17. ^ https://www.justice.gov.za/legislation/constitution/translations/0/SAConstitution-web-zul-0.pdf
  18. ^ https://www.justice.gov.za/legislation/constitution/translations/0/SAConstitution-web-swa-0.pdf
  19. ^ https://www.justice.gov.za/legislation/constitution/translations/0/SAConstitution-web-sep-0.pdf
  20. ^ https://www.justice.gov.za/legislation/constitution/translations/0/SAConstitution-web-sot-0.pdf
  21. ^ https://www.justice.gov.za/legislation/constitution/translations/0/SAConstitution-web-set-0.pdf
  22. ^ https://www.justice.gov.za/legislation/constitution/translations/0/SAConstitution-web-ven-0.pdf
  23. ^ https://www.justice.gov.za/legislation/constitution/translations/0/SAConstitution-web-tso-0.pdf
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