There are 11 official languages in South Africa: English, Afrikaans and the nine indigenous languages: isiZulu, isiXhosa, isiNdebele, siSwati, Setswana, Xitsonga, Sepedi, Tshivenda and Sesotho.
English is the most commonly spoken language in official and commercial public life. However, English is only the fifth most spoken home language representing a mere 9.6% of the population.
Afrikaans is the second most spoken language in South Africa. The language is only 90 years old, it is officially the youngest language in the world.
Zulu is the most commonly spoken mother tongue (22.7% ), followed by isiXhosa (16%) then Afrikaaans (13.5%), Sesotho sa Leboa (7.6%), English (9.6%) and the remaining six languages. Figures according to the SA Census 2011.
South African creativity has developed its own version of English which combines the influences of the many other languages spoken in the country such as Xhosa, Zulu or even French, Portuguese and German.
The traditional Oxford Dictionary incorporated many South African words which have become common usage, such as kraal (village of huts) and trek (travel by ox-wagon).
Over the years, South Africans have developed their own South African way of speaking and there are many words which are unique to South Africa as you can see below.
WHAT TO SAY WHEN ...
NO ONE SAYS IT QUITE LIKE AN AFRIKAANER
The 'Living in South Africa' book includes three comprehensive pages of typical South African Slang words.
A listing of South African Slang words can also be found here.
No matter what your language, let us always remember the quote from Nelson Mandela:
To learn more about this awesome country and its friendly people, make sure to get our handbook which you also can order from us directly.
If you are interested in more in-depth, well-researched, up-to-date information and more South Africa facts:
Order your copy of the Living in South Africa guidebook directly from us. Now available as softcover and eBook.
This post was shared by Derryn on SMILE 90.4fm Thursday breakfast show with Bobby Brown and Tracey Lange. For more of Derryn's weekly Awesome South Africa insights, tune into SMILE 90.4 fm every Thursday morning at 7.10am or listen via live streaming. Courtesy of Awesome South Africa
Image credits for Languages in South Africa page: Shutterstock.com, SATourism and own images
Aug 14, 19 09:00 AM
Find out about the best Events in August 2019. What to do and see in South Africa in August? Read on here.
May 02, 19 03:34 AM
Find here the best Events in May 2019 when visiting or living in South Africa
Apr 08, 19 07:12 AM
Find here the best Events in April 2019 when visiting or living in South Africa
Work & Study
Things to do