Sunday, November 01, 2009
This is a pretty funny story. In South Africa there are eleven official languages and students are to learn at least two of them in school. This often results in students learning both English and Afrikaans, but depending on one's mother tongue it may also be English and Zulu, English and Xhosa, etc. A principal from an Indian school in South Africa has recently been ranting against the teaching of Afrikaans in his school, in spite of the fact that the school is perfectly free to go with English and another official language of the country instead.
The reason why the school won't go with another language, of course, is that all the other languages besides Afrikaans and English are so hard to learn. The other choices are IsiNdebele, IsiXhosa, IsiZulu, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, SiSwati, Tshivenda, and Xitsonga.
The principal has been making the argument that students won't need to use Afrikaans after they learn it, but let's not forget its huge similarities to Dutch, as well as other Germanic languages. Being fluent in two Germanic languages can only be good for a student who later on wishes to learn other languages in the same family tree.