Home of Sword and Soul
It is amazing to me how many African Americans are interested in Africa. I believe for most people it gives a sense of Identity and roots. However here, few people are interested in having a sense of identity and roots. Most of us hate studying history but worst of all we are way more interested in getting to know what is out there rather than telling our own stories.
People in Africa are very interesting because there are so many countries and we are all so different. We hardly speak the same language accross the continent and despite what most poeple think, not everyone can speak swahili. Swahili is a language spoken mostly in central africa and has similarities to Nguni languages. The nguni languages are languages spoken in the southern part of africa, like Zulu, Shona, Shangani, Venda and Xhosa. Though we speak different languages you will find similar words like mwana means child in shangani, swahili and shona. Geza means bath in zulu and shona, though alternatively in zulu it could be used as an insult as well, meaning crazy. But that is more rare than common.
I am no language expert but when I listen to people speaking their languages I can generally tell what language it is, but only if it is from central or southern Africa. However west Africa is a whole different ball game. I can tell a person is from west africa from their bone and facial structure, and I can tell when it is a west african language but I have no semblence of what it is or even what it means. They have phonatically difficult languages, and they find our languages hard for them as well.
I have never been to west Africa, but from what I have learnt from my West African friends, there is more of a sense of respect and pride in terms of history and culture in West Africa than there is down South. They have more of the traditional African clothing, we have more of the western clothing. In West Africa, who you are in terms of tribes is important, here what you have in terms of money and designer clothing, gadgets and cars matters more. The southern part of Africa is way more westernised because we got our independence later than most of West Africa. We are well aware of what is going on out there.
I have been speaking English since I was five years old, and people respect me more at home when I have travelled and know more about europe and the united states. It seems Americans want to know more about us when we are waaay more alike than we realise. Globalisation is slowly merging the world into one culture. And sadly a lot of languages in Africa are becoming less and less relevant to a point where we get literacy in English, french, portuguese, geman and spanish more than our own languages. Part of the reason for this is that we have to speak international languages to be relevant in the world. Our languages are spoken by so few people, at times only a village or town or tribe, at times a whole province. So in order to communicate with each other (between people with different languages) we resort to an international language as a sort of "go between" language. So though we may speak English in different accents, we do understand each other very well.
I have a friend who is from Nigeria who got married to a Kenyan. They only speak English in their house because their languages are so different. It would be so hard to learn each other's languages so it is easier to speak english. Another factor to consider for them is that the lady never learnt her language because noone speaks it anymore. It faded away like the original latin did. Less and less people spoke the language over the years that in the end someone died as the last person who spoke that language and they were buried with it. So sad.
I can imagine how many other languages died out this way. In certain countries they speak up to 500 different languages. I wonder how many they were before other languages died out.
I speak shona, we have traditional shona, that is only spoken by the older generation and then there is educational shona, which you read and write in, but hardly speak, then there is coloquial shona, which evolves daily. I am yet to figure out what shona they use on google in shona but if you want to see more of what my language looks like you can check out goodle in shona.
The language is syllable driven, every word has at least two syllables. all words end with a vowel and we do not use the letters L and Q in our alphabet but have combination letters that make different sounds that on might not be able to pronounce unless they hear it. The combination letters we have include ZV, SV, TY, DY, MB, ND, DZV, NZV, DZ.
Our language is also very dependent on proverbs but they are seperated into two, there are wise sayings and there are symbolic sayings. Our language is also heavily context driven. One word can be used to mean many things. If you want to say stop, you say Mira, if you want to say stand you say Mira, if you want say wait, you say Mira, if you want to say the house has been erected you also use the word Mira. In all cases we know what the word means depending on the context.
Shona is also a very rude language, let me explain myself. There are certain things that just sound that much more rude and vulgar when said in shona, like the word for buttocks of human excrement, private parts both male and female. That is why we teach science strictly in English because it would be so hard to go though in shona. I hope today someone has learnt something new abut language in Africa.
I am very offended by hollywood and their depiction of Africa. I watched a movie once where there were girls in an African village discussing men. It was called 'He is just not that into you.' First and foremost we do not live in huts anymore. We…Continue