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Cafetalk Tutor's Column

Tutor Janey T 's Column

Sometimes words from other languages are best!

Weekly Topic: Words and phrases that you do not find in other languages

Sep 16, 2019

In South Africa we have 11 official languages. It is very common for people to speak 2 or more languages. It is a requirement to do at least 2 languages at school. I learned 1 second language when I was very young - around 7 years old: Afrikaans. This is very similar to Dutch; because of the political situation in South Africa at the time, it was the only language besides English available to me at the time. As an adult, I have also learned some Zulu, my local African language. There are some words or phrases, in Afrikaans, and Zulu that can't really be translated directly to my native English. 'Ja-Nee' in Afrikaans means, 'well, yes and no, and oh well, what can we do?'. So there is no exact way of translating some words and phrases, especially more nuanced and complex phrases, from some languages directly across to other languages.

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