1887 S.W. Silver & Co.’s Handbook to South Africa. 140 There are some fruits which have not as yet got names from any of the languages of Europe. One of these is the Kukamakranka; it is the Gethillis spirilis.
World Englishes Spotlight
Did you know that in South African English a fibre-tipped colouring pen is called a koki, while elsewhere in the world it is referred to as a felt-tip (British English), a texta (Australian English), a sketch pen (Indian English) or a sharpie (American English)?
The influence of Indian languages, which have been used in South Africa since the 17th century as a consequence of the Dutch slave trade, can be traced to a number of typical South African English words such as dhunia, naartjie and bunny chow. To find more words borrowed from Indian languages use the Browse Related Words links at each entry.
The United Nations has declared 2019 The International Year of Indigenous Languages (IYIL2019) in order to raise awareness of the over 4000 indigenous languages spoken worldwide, many of which are in danger of becoming extinct.
South Africa has numerous indigenous languages in use and 11 official languages recognised in its Constitution, each featured as Language of the Month throughout 2019.
As part of the International Year of Indigenous Languages, the South African Centre for Digital Language Resources (SADiLaR) is organising events and workshops dedicated to South Africa’s official languages throughout the year.
Read more about the events taking place at various universities in South Africa highlighting our indigenous languages and the development of language resources for them.
This month we celebrate isiXhosa, the second most commonly spoken indigenous language in South Africa (Census 2011). Did you know that typical South African English words such as fundi (an expert or enthusiast), kwela (a distinct style of music and dance) and ubuntu (human-heartedness or compassion) are borrowed from isiXhosa?
Discover more South African English words derived from isiXhosa, first recorded from the early 19th century onwards.