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  1. #1
    Lenka is offline Senior Member
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    Default South African English

    South African English
    Since 1994 South Africa has had eleven official languages: English, Afrikaans (descended from Dutch), Zulu, Xhosa, and other largely regional African languages. English is the first language of only about 10 per cent of the population, but the second language of many others. (1) The English of native Afrikaners has inevitably influenced the 'standard' English of white South Africans, examples being such informal usages as the affirmative no, as in 'How are you? - No, I'm fine' and the (2) all-purpose response is it?, as in 'She had a baby last week - is it?'
    source: AskOxford: Types of World English

    I cannot understand two things in the paragraph:

    1) what is the difference of the English of Afrikaners and white South Africans? They speak the same language, don't they?

    2) Can we consider it a question tag or is it a response of the other person (echo question)?

  2. #2
    riverkid is offline Banned
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    Default Re: South African English

    Quote Originally Posted by Lenka View Post
    source: AskOxford: Types of World English

    I cannot understand two things in the paragraph:

    1) what is the difference of the English of Afrikaners and white South Africans? They speak the same language, don't they?

    Just as the Dutch, German, French, etc. all speak forms of English influenced by their mother tongue, so too with the English that developed in South Africa.

    Upon moving to a new land, immigrants tend to lose their mother tongue influence in the first generation of children but in SA, English was not the mother tongue.

    "English is the first language of only about 10 per cent of the population, but the second language of many others."

    It was a second language, considerably influenced by other tongues.


    2) Can we consider it a question tag or is it a response of the other person (echo question)?

    It's a real tag, but it seems to be a catch-all tag similar to 'right'.

    You're British, right? Though I can't make claim to understanding it perfectly, it sounds like, "so the situation is ..., right?".


    ###

  3. #3
    Lenka is offline Senior Member
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    Default Re: South African English

    Thank you for the explanation, riverkid! I can understand it now!

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