In a previous post I spoke about the official languages of South Africa. These 11 languages are not the only languages in the country. Recognized languages include Khoe, Nama, Lobedu, Northern Ndebele, Phuthi, San, South African sign language, and Fanagalo. There are also European and Asian languages and different dialects of the San and Khoikhoi people.
Fanagalo is a ‘mixed’ language, words from Zulu, English and some occasional Afrikaans, create a colorful dialect. This language is thought to have been formed in the nineteenth century as a way for English colonists to communicate with English and Dutch colonists, as well as their slaves. It is now used mainly in the mining communities. People travel from all over the country to find jobs in the mines and have created this means of communication.
The San, Nama, and Khoe languages are prime examples of click languages. These are present throughout Africa. Unlike Xhosa and other official languages, these languages are made up almost entirely with clicks. In writing they include symbols such as ! and ǂ to indicate the different clicking sounds.
Not used to hearing them, continuous clicks can sound very funny! Something I find funny is the film ‘ The Gods Must Be Crazy’ (which I highly recommend). It has me as well as my Xhosa speaking friends and family in fits of laughter. Though I laugh, I would love to one day learn these click languages as well.