Languages of the heart

Suddenly quite a few Afrikaans bloggers also write in English. I suppose it is to get more readers, also from overseas?  Unfortunately the translation button does not work so well and some words are translated downright funny!

I used to be an Afrikaans teacher and love the language, but here I am tonight trying my hand at English, for no particular reason, but only because other bloggers inspired me, and because I actually love doing the English bit now and then. I have written quite a few English poems in the past if you care to  look through  the category: Gedigte en rympies van Verlange. A lot of the writings in my personal diary are in English as well.

Like all Afrikaans pupils in a predominantly Afrikaans school,  I mostly only learned English at school, and although my parents could speak it very well, and even though I read a lot of English books, I hardly ever spoke it. In those days we were brought up to be so scared of making a mistake, that  we would rather not try to speak the Rooitaal at all, if possible. Someone might just laugh at you!

So this very Afrikaans teacher got her first job: Afrikaans teacher for quite a few immigrant children, most of them from England and Scotland. I was thrown in at the deep end in a class full of teenagers who could not understand even one word of Afrikaans.

It was an experience that would change my life in more ways than one, an experience that I will cherish for the rest of my life, but also an experience that taught me to speak English! “Miss, your tongue ties. When you want to say something like ‘don’t do that , do this,’  you say: ‘don’t do dat do dis”….but it’s ok, miss, we understand what you mean!”

I also learnt an important lesson, especially after I went overseas: It is OK to make mistakes in a second or  a third language. The main thing is to be able to communicate in it, not how perfect you can speak it. Yes,  we all strive for perfection, but seeing that most people in the world can only speak one language, and if they mastered a second language , it is often of quite a poor standard, we need not be ashamed if a mistake or two slips through, at all.

(So an Italian chap and I once spent a whole evening on the train station in Milan  talking in German! We both had it at school and our German was equally bad, but it was the only other language he knew.With a lot of hand gestures and repetitions, he was able to tell me that he is part of the station police, that it is very dangerous for a girl alone on the station, and therefore he will wait with me until my train comes and that  his brother is studying to become a doctor under Chris Barnard in Cape Town, South Africa.}

We in South Africa are actually VERY well educated where languages are concerned. We can all speak at least 2 languages very well, and some of us can speak quite a lot of languages.

This reminds me of a black man I met a few years ago. I had to visit the Air  Force here at our town with two names: Waenhuiskrans if you are Afrikaans, or if you are English: Arniston. They asked me if I would give one of their members a lift back to town.

So this very big Xhosa got in my car next to me. “Do you speak English of Afrikaans?” I asked, as I cannot speak Xhosa.

” English, Afrikaans, Xhosa, Sotho, Zulu, Pedi, Swahili, French, German, and Portuguese,” he answered. He might even have mentioned a few more  languages, but this is what I can remember. I was intrigued. How was this possible?

He explained to me that he grew up in the Transkei and learned Afrikaans at school. He then went to Transvaal, where he encountered Sotho and Zulu and of course English. During the struggle years he was trained as a soldier in Botswana and I think Mozambique as well. He  ventured further into Africa, where French is often spoken. He also met some German people and learned their language. He now works as a translator for the South African Air Force.

I was so impressed. How did he manage to learn all these languages? His answer was a lesson in itself and left me, a child of Africa , quite ashamed .

‘You know,” he said :” It is just a matter of attitude” .

About seegogga

Soos 'n krappie op die strand, trap ek spoortjies in die sand. Dalk sien jy iets, dalk niets. Wie sal raai hoe die wind gaan waai?
This entry was posted in die tale wat ons praat, English blogs, Los opdrifsels. Bookmark the permalink.

49 Responses to Languages of the heart

  1. travel460 sê:

    Seegogga, briljant. Wonder nou net of ek in Engels moet antwoord, so jammer daarvoor. Baie water sal nog in die see, of liewer, ons dam, moet vloei voor ek aanpak wat jy nou vermag het.

    • seegogga sê:

      Neewat, Una, Afrikaans is fine! Hoe lekker meng ek die tale nou,maar anders ias die meeste mense , hou ek mos van die mengesel, finnish en klaar! Dit maak ons Suid Afrikaanse Engels so uniek dat OXFORD glad ‘n Suid Afrikaanse Engels verklarende woordeboek uitgegee het.

      • travel460 sê:

        Daar stem ek so met jou saam. Ek lees baie lekkerder aan ñ mengsel as aan die perfekte stukke. Voel asof die persoon dan eerder gesels as preek.

  2. Mens kan sien jy het ‘n aanvoeling vir tale.Ek wil net ‘n klip in die bos gooi.Al het Engelse op skool Afrikaans geleer,weier meeste van hulle steeds om dit te praat.Miskien is dit omdat Afrikaners altyd lag as iemand ‘n fout maak.

  3. Welgedaan! Dit bewys net hoe ons klomp bloggers mekaar inspireer. (Selfs die Saffer in Ierland het vanoggend ‘n Afrikaanse blog geplaas; sien https://ouchmybackhurts.wordpress.com/2016/11/21/maandag-magic/).
    Ek het ook in Afrikaans skoolgegaan, maar toe in ‘n Engelse korporatiewe omgewing beland waar ek Engelse handleidings moes skryf en my Afrikaanse stryftaal het ‘n agtergeblewene geraak. Nou skryf ek maar albei om die beurt.

  4. seegogga sê:

    Dankie. Jy is voorwaar ‘n Liggie

  5. Toortsie sê:

    Sjoe Seegogga! Fantasties geskryf!

  6. Toortsie sê:

    Ek wonder baie oor hoerdie ding. Ek skryf nou ook in Engels, of eerder, ek probeer. Die hoop ís dat ek ‘n wyer gehoor sal trek, maar skiet ek nie myself in die voet nie? Maak ek nie my Afrikaanse lesers teësinnig nie, hul wat juis Afrikaans wil lees nie? En stel ek nie myself bloot aan ‘n spul trolle nie? Intussen kry ek wel ‘n bietjie selfvertroue in die rooitaal, maar ek wonder …

    • seegogga sê:

      Die ideaal sou seker wees dat alles wat in Afrikaans verskyn ook in Engels beskikbaar sal wees. Ongelukkig is d vertalingsopsie nie goed nie en ons self het nie tyd nie. Ek glo nie n rooitaal inskrywing so nou en dan gaan enigiemand skade doen nie, maar ons taal Afrikaans moenie afgeskeep word nie.
      My Afrikaanse blog word dwarsoor die wereld gelees, want dis mos deesdae ‘n wereldtaal .( Julle kan maar lag vir my, maar dis waar. In elke land in d wereld is daar mense wat Afrikaans praat.)

  7. Terug pieng: As jou wekker deurmekaar is | Toortsie, Kameel en Bokbaaivygie se blog

  8. Terug pieng: Languages of the heart | Seegogga se Bloggie

  9. karen sê:

    Mm, ek lees en praat genoeg Engels en vind dat mens juis om so meer in Afrikaans moet skryf, noudat dit so verengels. Net my twee sent ;).

    • seegogga sê:

      Dit is so, Karen. Ek kom net agter dat baie Afrikaanse bloggers nou soms in Engels blog. Bly jy bly so Afrikaans daar in die buiteland! Ek het hierdie sommer as eksperiment geskryf, maar om heel ander (persoonlike) redes. Gaan dit tog nou en dan weer doen as die behoefte my pak.

  10. seegogga sê:

    Sjoe, Karen, ek kan glo jy verlang soms baie in Afrikaans!

  11. AG Visser skryf mos in sy gedig “Toe die wêreld nog jonk was” van Metusalem skool toe gaan op 60 jaar:
    sy vaders trots, sy moeders vreugd’,
    Met Step by Step en Trap der Jeugd
    in Hoog-Galdeeus en Aramees,
    want almal moes tweetalig wees

    Daar het jy dit seegogga is nou ook ‘n tweetalige sea bug!

  12. Kameel sê:

    Welgedaan!!! Vir Toorts al gesê dit is goed as julle Engels skryf maar ag liewe blogs is die enigste Afrikaanse leesstof wat ek inkry. Is inkry nou die regte word? Ek lees mos net Ingels…. van die bybel tot wat ookal. Ek kon ook g’n Engels gepraat het toe ek jonk was nie, moes dit maar aanleer so met die Ingelsman saam.

  13. I found this article so very interesting – I speak only English, Fanegalo (Chilapalapa), a smattering of French, and a little Portuguese. Regarding Waenhuiskrans, or Arneston, I have a wonderful original oil painting of the cottages on the beach at Arneston painted by Scott. (First name eludes me at the moment). It was on sale at a fete in a small village, Raffingora, in Zimbabwe quite a few years’ ago. I love the Cape. My parents lived in Grabouw before they passed away, and we visited from time to time.

  14. seegogga sê:

    Hallo Dendy(?) Welcome here at my Bloggie. Wow, you speak quite a few languages yourself. Good for you. It is interesting how small the world is nowadays. I hope you have a chance to visit the Overberg again. A blessed Christmas for you.

  15. Thank you for your Christmas wishes, I trust you too will have a wonderful Christmas.

  16. Dear Seegogga,
    we have an honour to invite to participate in first ETERNAMENTA AWARDS ‘Most Talented Reader’.
    Best Regards,
    Maria
    More detailed information is here: https://eternamenta.wordpress.com/2016/11/14/eternamenta-blog-awards/

  17. Hallo ek het regtig geniet jou blog post. Ek is Engels maar my man is van Suid-Afrika en ek het altyd tale geniet so ek probeer om Afrikaans te leer. Ek baie foute maak veraal met die grammatika maar ek is life vir Afrikaans, dit is ‘n baie pragtige taal 🙂

    • seegogga sê:

      Jy skryf pragtig Afrikaans. Ek het vir baie Engelse kinders leer Afrikaans praat en weet baie goed hoe hulle sukkel met die regte woordvolgorde. Hou so aan! Jy kan trots wees op jouself!

  18. Baie interessant en heel gemaklik oorgedra.

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