Anonymous asked in TravelAfrica & Middle EastSouth Africa · 1 decade ago

Afrikaans in South Africa?

If I was to take a job in South Africa, ethier in Johannesburg or Cape Town; would it be beneficial to learn Afrikaans to a resonable level?

Obviously, Afrikaans and English and the two lingua fracas between the different ethnic groups in South Africa, but among the white community, is Afrikaans or English more used?

9 Answers

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago
    Best Answer

    In the work situation you'll be fine with just English - and you'll pick up a lot of the Afrikaans words! But if you want to learn a bit - it would be greatly appreciated among the Afrikaners, but not necessary! It also depends in what industry you'll work in as to how many Afrikaners there are.

  • 1 decade ago

    Yes, its never a waste to learn a language.

    The vast majority of whites speak both English and Afrikaans - some better than others of course. Until recently a pass in both languages were required to graduate from high school.

    The "split" between white English and Afrikaans mother tongue speakers is roughly 60/40 overall but there is considerable variation geographically, socially and by economic sector.

    The "aspirational" language is English. All schools offer it. Even though the matriculation standards specify "any two" of SA's 11 official languages, English is inevitably chosen as one of them. Meanwhile the number of schools offering Afrikaans as a subject are declining as Afrikaans medium schools (as well as colleges and universities) are put under enormous pressure to introduce other languages.

    Among black South Africans there is a very strong shift away from Afrikaans toward English as a second (even third, fourth or fifth) language. This shift began in the 1970's but was "delayed" by the necessity to understand the "bosses" under Apartheid. It became stigmatised as the "language of the opressor". With the Afrikaner's loss of political hegemony the necessity to know the language for political purposes has dissapeared, hence the shift towards English.

    Source(s): I am totally fluent in English and Afrikaans.
  • 1 decade ago

    English is the international business language. Unless you land up in a little town in the middle of nowhere, where Afrikaans is the most frequently spoken language, you will do fine with English only. In the big cities English is used more than Afrikaans.

    Although Afrikaans is a very picturesque language. There are many things that are best expressed in Afrikaans. So, learning Afrikaans is an enrichment to your life in South Africa.

    There are more Afrikaans speaking whites than English speaking whites, but most Afrikaans speakers understand and attempt to speak English.

  • 1 decade ago

    It is certainly not essential to be able to converse in both languages but it does help. More important, is the fact that it is always helpful to try and spea and understand the main languages of the area in which you are working, as there are still Afrikaaners and Black African people, who struggle with English.

    I seem to think that Afrikaans tops the most used language. I remember reading that a vast amount of the Coloured community use Afrikaans as their main language and, since the modern Afrikaans language evolved from the time that Dutch was banned by the British, from being spoken, the Coloured people, defying the ban, carried on their form of Dutch in their homes and in the back streets and alleys. This new form of Dutch was adopted by most of the younger people, when the ban was lifted. I may be wrong.

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  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    No, Afrikaans is not as essential as it used to be in either Joburg or Cape Town. You can get by with English well enough although knowing as many SA languages as you can will help you appreciate the culture of South Africa, from Afrikaans placenames, flower names, African (Nguni &Sotho) names likewise and dare I say a smattering of Portuguese!!!!

    Also, we South Africans notoriously mix languages all together so you might hear a sentence like

    "Eish, I'm like gatvol of these fokken powecuts ek se!"

    Here we have Xhosa, English and Afrikaans all jumbled up!

    It can render the language untintelligible to a pure English speaker!!!! Verstaan my fundela?

  • Anonymous
    1 decade ago

    Afrikaans and English is widely used, it can only do you good to learn some Afrikaans. Today my gardener (Sotho) from Reddersburg in the Free State is working for me..........he cannot speak a word of English only Afrikaans and sotho.

  • cheri
    Lv 7
    1 decade ago

    No it is not critical but it would help you understand a lot more and Afrikaans speaking people will appreciate your effort - if you can learn any of the other official languages you should - people tend have more respect for someone who can communicate with them in their own language

  • 1 decade ago

    Well for the most part english will be fine, but understanding Afrikaans is obviously important, just dont go apply for a job at noot for noot or something

  • 1 decade ago

    i would say English is more of a common used language than Afrikaans .it would be beneficial to learn it though .

    Source(s): yahoo
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