Thursday, September 9, 2010

It's all Xhosa to Me

The Xhosa language is the dominant indigenous language spoken in the Eastern Cape Province and the second largest language group in the country after Zulu. About 18% of South Africa’s population uses Xhosa as its first language, including Nelson Mandela. It is distinguished by the “click” sounds that punctuate the words—there are three distinct clicks that are formed by using different areas of the mouth and tongue. It is beautiful to listen to as one of the clicks is very subtle, while another one is very strong and sounds like a champagne bottle being cracked open. The rhythm and mannerisms of the language and the way words are drawn out make it mesmerizing to listen to. I am doing tongue strengthening exercises to build up my proficiency! Luckily, everyone I’ve spoken to speaks beautiful English (better than most Canadians) so the language barrier has not been as extreme as it could have been!

My vocabulary includes:

-“hello/good morning” = “molo”
-“how are you?” = “unjani”
-“I’m fine” = “ndiphilile kanye”
-“thank you” = “enkosi”

Asa and Akona have been teaching me other words and phrases, but remembering these three took the better part of a week, so this will be a slow process. But I will continue the Xhosa lessons throughout the 6 months and share them with you!

Please note that some of the spelling is phonetic!

Check out this video link for actual Xhosa 101!
Stay tuned for photos-I promise I have some gems!

1 comment:

  1. liselle! this sounds amazing. I am ridiculously jealous. you've inspired me to actually start writing in my blog, but unfortunately mine is on wordpress so I feel that we're in some kind of rival blogging gangs. Oh dear.