Saturday, March 5, 2011

To Click or Not To Click

We have always known (or believed) that when training to serve in the Peace Corps, we would be learning a new language.  This both excites me and makes me nervous.  This is a far cry from learning French 101 back when I was 16!  This will involve immersion in language and will need to happen quickly ... and yes, there will be a test!!!  So, clever that we are (ha!), John and I figured that we could get one step ahead of the game and learn a little of the language before we leave.  Not so fast... South Africa has eleven major languages, including English.  Presumably, our pre-service training will be in English (or not), but we will learn one or more of the country languages to use in the rural areas.  John has determined that Zulu is used quite a bit in the two provinces where we might go, so we are going to gamble that it will be one of the languages that we will learn. There are a number of you-tubes and other resources online for learning Zulu and we will be spending some time seeing what we can understand and pick up before departure from the US.

I never thought I'd be learning a language that uses embedded clicks in some words for some letters (e.g., q's and x's).  So far, we have discovered that there are at least three different clicking-sounds, but something tells me that there's probably more!  Not sure how well clicks and my ever present Southern drawl are going to mix!

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