Love and the Languages of Africa
Africa: Continent of 2000 languages.
The figure of 2000 languages is often cited for Africa, representing about a third of the living languages of the world. A lot depends on how one defines language. Many languages have dialectal variants, and in many cases tongues with different names are so closely related that native speakers can communicate.
Some consider it a hindrance, but one of the things I love about Africa is that it is a continent of 2000 languages—this makes it nothing short of a linguistic world heritage site. There is beauty in diversity if it can be shared, enjoyed and celebrated by all.
The language with the largest number of native speakers in Africa is Arabic – it is the home language of 150 million Africans. Oromo, Yoruba, Hausa, Swahili, Igbo and Amharic are all first languages of more than twenty million people. It disturbs me that at school (in the prime of Apartheid) there was no mention of, let alone an opportunity to study any of these languages. Has it changed, now? I don’t know how well the languages of Africa are represented in the present SA school system. In my opinion all languages (of all continents) are treasures—in their quirks and gems of grammar, vocabulary, sayings and writing systems they reflect so much about the people who speak them.
Carefully read, language could be the best history book of any group or nation. And the collected literature of each language in every age and place is qualitatively more telling than any quantitative official story of facts about a time and people.
In the Orphan’s Lullaby book, there is space for only 50 languages of Africa. It seemed to make sense to choose the official languages of the countries of the African Union and to include a representative selection of ‘un-official’ languages with the greatest number of speakers. When speakers of other languages not on the list have volunteered translations, then those languages have been included too…
Orphan’s Lullaby is hosting an online Facebook event, which has evolved into a community publishing initiative at Book SA.
ON ANY OF THE FOLLOWING THEMES:
Past, present or future of Love in Africa
Place, person, building, book, detail, language, object, insect, animal, or thing, I love in Africa
The day I love most in in my life so far in Africa/ in the history of Africa
Spirits, myths and legends of love in Africa
Sight, sound, touch, taste, or smell I love in Africa
Love –a story for children of Africa
Africa–a Grimm-like fairtale of Love
MONTHLY BOOK PRIZE FOR MOST POPULAR ENTRY
Very hearty thanks the following authors for supporting the Love Africa Carnival with book prize donations:
Lauren Buekes, Richard De Nooy, Louis Greenberg,
Liesl Jobson, Sarah Lotz, Jo-anne Richards,
Henrietta Rose Innes, Ben Trovato
Please send submissions to Alex at email@example.com , that are:
1.Original and unpublished
2.With author’s full name, place of birth, country of residence and a couple of lines of ‘about the author’ bio.
SPECIAL REQUEST TO AUTHORS OF AFRICA
If there are any authors out there who would be willing to donate a signed copy of their book as part of the prize for the Love Africa Carnival at Book SA, your book pledge would be most greatly appreciated.