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23 September 2014
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Your comments

Francois Landsberg, Bristol
On reply of Melanie's comment I agree i only speak afrikaans to my family on the phone everyone here is either polish or english it feels like english is becoming my first language but i am a die hard afrikaner and very trots. People think here I sound like dutch or german if they hear me speaking afrikaans one english guy thought it was a made up language and joked telling me to stop talking jibberish. Not many people in UK especially european and eastern european know about afrikaans but they should its a beautiful language and way of life.

Liebrecht from Caledon, South Africa
I love my language and I can't see why ANYONE would want to be ashemed of their own language and culture! I always get the feeling that English-speaking South Africans really want to speak Afrikaans, but most are too self-conscious and lack confidence to do so... shame! I would NEVER laugh at someone trying to speak Afrikaans, but respect and admire them instead! And I've come across especially Germans learning Afrikaans!!! Incredible!!! Afrikaans is also offered at universities in Poland, Russia and a few others. Afrikaans will never become extinct, even if it tried... :-D

Sybrand Slot, County Durham
A Language is not just a communication tool, it is a way of life, a way of thought, perceiving others, accepting or rejecting ideas, honouring home-learned traditions, and hopefully, not encapsuling ideas from others. I was born in SA, from Dutch parents,with the effect that my first language was Dutch-Afrikaans, we had English-speaking neighbours, and my tongue and brain adapted to same, speaking English with the neighbours, Dutch with my parents, and Afrikaans at school.The Afrikaner children tagged me as being a 'kaaskop', but my marks were better than most of the Afrikaner kinders, and the 'Kaaskop'vloekwoord, watered down.I was however, always ridiculed because of my name and surname, and that is somthing I will never forget, the Afrikaners are prone to ridicule anything they do not understand, as the British, and the Dutch, the Germans.....goodness, how ignorant can nations and generations be.. I love the Language, especially as spoken in the Cape Province. Anyway i still think in Afrikaans, Dutch and now, a half-brooded Georgie. Sybrand Slot, Peterlee, UK

Mariselle Stolz Germany
Discriminating? No way all the more reason to speak Afrikaans, and show people in other countrys that what they might read in the press is not always true... Afrikaners is Plesierig ! And a lot of us try to let the world know just that, as good ambasadors of the most beautifull country in the world! In Germany there´s a few SA Clubs . Afrikaans could also be taken as subjekt at the Frankfurt Univ. and one of the biggest language schools in the country. A few family´s teach there children Afrikaans as home language, also so they can comunicate with Ouma and Oupa in South Africa...Germans learn Afrikaans in a short time and the same the other way around although after a few years you realise just how many differences you have coming from your culture only. A language is far more than that what you say. I do hope my kids would keep up speaking Afrikaans... it´s not alwys easy to keep your Afrikaans as pure and good as it should be and I do hope to have DSL one of these days so we could listen to SA radio and also not just stagnate but grow with this beautifull "still baby" TAAL. Keep it up friends where ever you are...we will always have the memories and great Cultural roots to look back and also forward too :-)

Alet from Worcester
My husband and I are both Afrikaans speaking people living in Worcester, UK. We are extremely proud of our language and will definitely raise our children in Afrikaans as well. Afrikaans is part of our identity as a nation - I feel that the negative press due to its association to apartheid is completely unnecessary as the language already existed at least a 100 years before the inception of apartheid. I believe that it has a rosy future as long as we practice speaking it.

Marnus Rossouw Saudi Arabia
Afrikaans is die baas! I'm also a Afrikaner living outside my own country.I have quite alot of South african friends here in the middle east and we constantely talk Afrikaans to one another,it's our way of spreading the language many people have also started to learn it because of us. They say it's a beautiful language that rolls of ur tongue,although my english accent is mistaken for German I can live with being a boer seun.

Wullae from Glasgow
Reading this board makes me particularly proud that I'm still speaking Afrikaans at the age of 21 after leaving South Africa at 5. Now I'm Glaswegian through and through and on the odd occasion that I bump into an Afrikaner I usually crack them up with my accent. My mother and I are now trying to pass on the torch to my baby niece but it's hard going. Hebrew survived as a language for some 1300 years after the diaspora but I think the Afrikaners as a nation lack the homogeneity, pride and distinct character traditionally associated with the Jews. I think most of us take integration for self negation. This isn't helped along by the scar of Apartheid on our collective conscience.

Jamie, Wellington NZ
My partner is from South Africa and was a language I was interested in long before I met him. I went to see a teacher for about six months, but now we generally speak in Afrikaans at the house. Surely it can only be good that there are other outside of SA that want to learn this interesting language, can only strengthen it's presence in the future!

Werner from Dubai
Our language is definately under pressure. In South Africa some people are trying to boycott the language. Attendants all over refuse to react to requests in Afrikaans. Despite it being near impossible for them to be oblivious of the meaning of your words. Outside South Africa Afrikaans will probably not carry over into the next generation in any significant way. It's just not necessary. That is why I was surprised. I never knew that Afrikaans is offered in Abu Dhabi, a mere hour's drive from where I live in Dubai! Peculiar. In my department we are only two who speak Afrikaans. When we find the time we just babble away in 'Die Taal'. It's delightful! I am amazed however that so many people are trying to learn Afrikaans. It certainly is not something you need on a regular basis. Even in a relationship with an Afrikaner. The greater majority of us speak English fluently. It's great that you are trying. It's my first language and I enjoy the way it feels on my voice. Lank lewe Afrikaans!

Mozilla, Surrey
I am learning Afrikaans from some of my collegues at work. It is a beautiful language and am so looking forward to learning more and more.

cynthia from dublin ireland
I love speaking Afrikaans eventhough I am living miles away from my home country. My husband is an english born South African and I find that he is now speaking more Afrikaans than when we actually lived in Cape Town! I don't think we will ever forget the fact that we are true south africans no matter where we live in the world or how hard we try to be different.

Mary Donley, Graaff-Reinet, South Africa
I am a retired Afrikaans language teacher in South Africa - I am ecstatic over the fact that so many young people from outside our country want to learn the beautiful language of Afrikaans.

Heidemarie Pretoria RSA
Im Afrikaans still living in South Africa. Im proud of you keeping Afrikaans alive in the rest of the world. Im an Afrikaans tweede taal teacher in a black high school and Afrikaans will live on all black would like to talk, read and write in South Africa. Im taking a group to the UK in September 2006 to show them how our culture is just growing and growing. Thanks to all.... Proud Afrikaans Teacher

Ken nr Rye
I am now learning Afrikaans as a second language as my girlfriend is Afrikaans and her family do not speak english well, but I find it quite easy to learn only tricky part is the grammar.

DP Stain, Ottawa, Canada
I don't see how theres anything wrong with speaking Afrikaans when other people don't understand. In Canada there are many people of many cultures living together and you would be hard pressed to hear English in many urban settings, even though it is the lingua franca. If we didn't keep speaking Afrikaans whenever we can, there would be nothing left of it. I also find that if you're a white Afrikaans speaker here, people are quite awestruck when they hear that you are speaking an "African" language. All they hear is the "Afrika" part and you are presumed to be quite exotic.

Lorraine, Canterbury Kent
Aidan forgot one very special word which is HOWZIT - I can identify any South African because of the use of this word. Afrikaans identifies the speaker immediately as a South African whereas English does not. Since moving to England in 1998, my son & I speak to each other as often as we can so as not to forget or get out of practice - English is our first language but Afrikaans some how has become our identity and a matter of pride to keep it up. Paradoxically, speaking Afrikaans does not make me homesick - only the lousy weather here does that!

Jennifer Reid from Glasgow
I am in the early stages of learning Afrikaans. As I was born in Cape Town I feel that it is a connection to where I come from. Finding it a bit difficult as I don't know any Afrikaans speakers except my relatives in South Africa. I also think it is a beautiful language.

Winston, London UK
I doubt speaking Afrikaans "in public" is a sign of discrimination. Think about the number of other ethnic minorities in London for instance speaking other languages, sure, when in Rome do as the Romans work, yes, dont speak in tongues when a 3rd person who doesnt understand your language is involved in a conversation, it just screams "gossiping"! There is nothing as nice as sitting on a train or a bus and hearing someone hammer away in Afrikaans. As an Afrikaaner living in the UK it really makes me feel at home.

Jenny Harris from Worcester, England
Ek ook probeer om die taal te leer! As for influenced by French, there's not that much French influence on the Afrikaans language itself, as the Huguenots mostly learned Dutch right away, so most French in Afrikaans, like 'meubels' for furniture from 'meubles', comes through Dutch. As Aidan pointed out, the influence is far greater in terms of names, eg. 'Cillié' (many other spellings)from Cellier, 'Viljoen' from Villion, Malan, Marais, Du Plessis, and even Gouws (from Gauche)! One of the best earlier Afrikaans poets was a Du Toit (or Totius as he liked to be known). There's even been some suggestion that the double negatives are of French origin, though this seems unlikely to me, as they work completely differently. As far as I can make out, Afrikaans is in no danger of dying out - more people speak it than Danish (I think).

Aidan Work from Wellington,New Zealand.
In reply to Claude from France,I would like to say that a lot of French surnames are very common in South Africa,as some of the Hugenots (French Protestants) fled there after the revocation of the Edict of Nantes.The surname 'Joubert' is very French. The ancestors of former State President F.W. de Klerk originally had the surname 'de Clerq',which,again is very French.The middle name of Thomas F. Burgers,one of the Presidents of the South African Republic was Francois,which is a very common French name.

Graeme Abu Dhabi
Akrikaans is Bobaas! Afrikaans is offered as a second language at the Cambridge school in Abu Dhabi.

Attie from London
We live in London, but my wife and I speak exclusively Afrikaans to each other. I'm proud of being Afrikaans and an Afrikaner despite the historical connotations.

Steve, London
Ek wil ook die mooi taal leer!! Studied German at university and love languages. Started learning bits from the Internet. Find it pretty easy to pick up having learnt German. My thoughts are echoed by Aidan's comment above - Afrikaans developed in a unique setting, and in a very short space of time became quite distinct from its Dutch (inter alia) roots. The language has only been written for just over 100 years - let's not let another language, beautiful like any - die out for the wrong reasons.

AIDAN strongly influenced by french? Don't think so give us examples Claude France en Afrikaassprekend

Butch Kamena - Bellingham, Washington, USA
A couple of weeks ago I was on business in Canada, and talked with a South African who said that there are so many South African doctors in the prairie provinces in Canada that some surgeries are performed with the medical staff speaking Afrikaans.

Pam from Middlesbrough
Spending some time in S. Africa & our Son being born there in the 1970`s, we often remenice and try to remember the Africaans language which we learned whilst over there as an experience never to be forgotten. Everyone should be proud of their language wherever in the world they may be.

Brian Sperryn from Kent
As with all South Africans, I speak at least 2 languages - English first, Afrikaans second... it wasnt until recently that I actually started speaking it again and I think its great to be bilingual. I do think its very rude for afrikaans speakers to speak afrikaans among people who dont understand it though as many people cant join in the conversation, even if I can. I'm still very proud of afrikaans, it makes me feel like I belong to something rather than being just an English colony.

ciracestuncon from Bretagne
Influenced by French ? I'm not so sure I speak French and Dutch and Afrikaans I don't see any big influence of French or Malay on Afrikaans Malay a bit motre with double negatives and the word baie =much afrikaans was somewhat changed modified if you want by the coloured people and by the settlrs themselves who had no literatary references as far proper dutchspeaking was concerned ( only the bible = hence the expression kitchen Dutch actually the Dutch themselves coulm bebefit from using Afrikaans spelling as the Dutch one is highly complicated like y for ij.

Matt Day from Amsterdam
Some of my friends at work are Afrikaans speaekers. At first, I put it down as a mere dialect of dutch. After a while, however, I realised it's a real part of who they are. South Africa is a long way from Europe and these guys feel it most (they're here only for a year -- first time in Europe too). Having realised how culturally special it is to them and also how it represents in some ways their nations darkest moments, I have a great respect for Afrikaans as a language -- although I emplore South Africans to speak English in public, as you're usually great company which us English speakers shouldn't miss out on!

Donald from Michigan, USA
Ek leer myself die taal praat. I am learning Afrikaans as part of my education in South African literature. My hope is to be accepted at Universiteit Stellenbosch so it's a tough road! Not many resources exist to learn die taal here in the US so a lot of my knowledge comes from a handful of books and newspapers online like Rapport and Beeld.

Kevin From Edinburgh, Scotland
At the moment, i am in my first stages of learning Afrikaans. I class it as the most beautifull language in the world.

Johan from London
I love the Afrikaans language. I mainly communicate in my social circles in Afrikaans, as I have soooo may Afrikaans speaking friends here. It is very sad that (after going through some of the letters) that so may people associate the 'taal' with Apartheid. I've moved to London because of these wrongs in the South African past. These wrongs were done by people and not by a language. I am proud to be a South African, and proud to be Afrikaans.

Lynette - Ripley
Oh, beloved Afrikaans, my other mother tongue! Lucky was I to be born into a totally bilingual family. To be bilingual is to have two lovers, each with his good points, each with his unique good looks and personality! Oh, what a trial to have to choose one over the other. Or is it more like choosing which parent to live with in a divorce! Afrikaans speakers are currently the most misunderstood people in the world. The language had such bad press during the Apartheid era it became unfashionable to speak it. Luckily, there are still millions, like me, who "praat die taal" whenever we can. Millions of South Africans still use Afrikaans as a lingua franca, partly as a result of the political domination of the Afrikaners during Apartheid, but also due to the influence of the Afrikaners before the official Apartheid years. As is well known, not all mother-tongue Afrikaans speakers are white Afrikaners. Many are members of the so-called Coloured group. It is really tragic that politics has dampened their use of Afrikaans. Ironically, their liltingly beautiful, creative, rich and textured use of the language is considered the Jewel in the Crown. There are huge benefits to speaking more than one language. In the case of Afrikaans, its closeness to Dutch enables you to understand Dutch and Flemish and to learn other Germanic languages more easily because you recognise many of the root words. When you speak more than one language, you have a chance to express yourself in an alternative idiom and to understand how a whole bunch of completely different people think. When you recognise the roots of words across related languages you realise hat the differences between many languages are actually quite cosmetic and that the similarities are far greater and deeper. If you have the benefit of learning more than one language, take that second or third language and never stop developing your use of it. Do whatever you can to maintain and improve it. Then use it to promote understanding between different cultures.

Melanie from Edinburgh
I miss speaking Afrikaans, the only time I speak Afrikaans is over the phone to my family back in South Africa, and even then it feels as if Afrikaans is becoming my second language and English my first.

JJ from London
I speak afrikaans. Among my friends, but I feel those who speak afrikaans in public among eacho ther use it as a tool of discrimination against others...

Breyton Van De Hojdenbojden from Leicestershire
I speak Afrikaans with my friends at my local South African social club. I see it more as a sign of S.A's horriffic past back home, but not in England. In England I just see it as a way not to have to stress to speak English!

Aidan Work from Wellington,New Zealand.
Afrikaans is the only Germanic language to have undergone full development outside Europe.The Afrikaans language is not only derived from 17th Century Dutch,it is strongly influenced by French,German,Malay,& the native South African languages,as well as by English. It must be remembered that quite a few words which have crept into English usage are derived from Afrikaans - trek,veld,braai,tickey,Boer,&,of course,apartheid.


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