learning Nama (Hottentot)

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kman1
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learning Nama (Hottentot)

Postby kman1 » 2008-01-26, 6:14

Hi everyone, I have some questions for those of you living in South Africa. I intend to spend a month in S. Africa in two years for the 2010 World Cup that will take place there. I been told that I should learn Xhosa or Zulu since they are the languages that are spoken the most there besides English. Is that true? Which African language should I focus on the most to be able to speak with the most people during my stay there?

Now, besides learning the most widely used African language like I asked about in the above paragraph there is one language that I want to learn really bad since it sounds sooo cool and interesting. Nama a.k.a. Hottentot. I really want to learn Nama but I haven't been able to find ANY resources to aid in learning that language. Can anyone help me out here? Or at least introduce me to someone who speaks Nama. I think it would interesting to learn a click language via the internet. We could practice speaking via Skype. :) Thanks!!

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Postby Siegel » 2008-01-26, 9:19

this is the Afrikaans forum
^^lol^^

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Postby kman1 » 2008-01-26, 22:41

yeah, I know. but there are a lot of people who speak Afrikaans in Namibia and South Africa. So maybe they can help out a bit. :)

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Re: learning Nama (Hottentot)

Postby andre » 2008-03-26, 21:12

kman1 wrote:Hi everyone, I have some questions for those of you living in South Africa. I intend to spend a month in S. Africa in two years for the 2010 World Cup that will take place there. I been told that I should learn Xhosa or Zulu since they are the languages that are spoken the most there besides English. Is that true?

No. Zulu and Xhosa are the two biggest natively spoken languages in SA, but they are both region bound, with very few second language speakers.
Which African language should I focus on the most to be able to speak with the most people during my stay there?


Afrikaans. Zulu is only spoken in the province of KwaZulu-Natal. Xhosa is only spoken in the Eastern Cape, and to a lesser extent in the Western Cape. Both are spoken to some extent in Gauteng (Johannesburg). Only Afrikaans and English are used throughout the country, with Afrikaans having substantialy more native speakers than English. If you do want to learn a "black" language, I would advise Xhosa.

Now, besides learning the most widely used African language like I asked about in the above paragraph there is one language that I want to learn really bad since it sounds sooo cool and interesting. Nama a.k.a. Hottentot. I really want to learn Nama but I haven't been able to find ANY resources to aid in learning that language. Can anyone help me out here? Or at least introduce me to someone who speaks Nama. I think it would interesting to learn a click language via the internet. We could practice speaking via Skype. :) Thanks!!


Nama is spoken only in the Northern Cape, and sadly it's dying language. :cry: I expect it would be difficult to find any instructions on the language on the internet, but I'll see want I can find for you. If you want to talk to any Nama speakers while you're here, you will have to go to the Northern Cape, and more spefically the area called Namaqualand.

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Postby kman1 » 2008-03-27, 3:17

thanks andre, this has been causing me A LOT of headache over the last couple of months. First because I can't find anyone who knows anything about Nama/Damarra. Second because everytime I ask someone what is the most useful language to learn when going to SA I always get a different answer. They always say either Afrikaans or Swahili. Besides Nama, when I ask them what's a good "black" language to learn, they say Hausa, Zulu, etc. So this is a very confusing subject. Language in Africa.

So, in your opinion, the most useful "black" language to know in SA is Xhosa.

1. What 'black' languages would you tell someone to learn if they said they wanted to go ANYWHERE on the African continent and be understood? (I think there are more than one since Africa is so diverse...)

2. That would be great if you could find out some more information about Nama or maybe even a native speaker who speaks English. I am absolutely positive that a lot of people would very much enjoying learning a click language. About ten of my friends already want to learn a click language together with me. :)

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Postby andre » 2008-03-27, 21:30

kman1 wrote:thanks andre, this has been causing me A LOT of headache over the last couple of months. First because I can't find anyone who knows anything about Nama/Damarra. Second because everytime I ask someone what is the most useful language to learn when going to SA I always get a different answer. They always say either Afrikaans or Swahili. Besides Nama, when I ask them what's a good "black" language to learn, they say Hausa, Zulu, etc. So this is a very confusing subject. Language in Africa.

So, in your opinion, the most useful "black" language to know in SA is Xhosa.

1. What 'black' languages would you tell someone to learn if they said they wanted to go ANYWHERE on the African continent and be understood? (I think there are more than one since Africa is so diverse...)

A very difficult question, because as you said, Africa is very diverse. There really is no universal language. South Africa has eleven official languages... and that excludes languages such as Nama. Swahili would be useful up north.

2. That would be great if you could find out some more information about Nama or maybe even a native speaker who speaks English. I am absolutely positive that a lot of people would very much enjoying learning a click language. About ten of my friends already want to learn a click language together with me. :)


The click languages are really fascinating, and beautiful to hear! While I try to find more info for you, you might want to read this excellent article on it on wikipedia.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Nama_language

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Postby Tong Duurai » 2008-07-03, 0:14

They're no longer called "Hottentots", except by racist Boers, they're known currently as khoi-khoi. I have never heard of the Nama language but in 2 different threads I mentioned the !Kung language which is the most well-known language of the (so-called)Bushmen. :wink:

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Postby kman1 » 2008-07-05, 9:44

You should look up the Nama language then. Being it is the largest (# of speakers) of the surviving click languages and all.

Andre, were you able to find any more information on Nama? I still really want to learn and practice it.

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Postby andre » 2008-07-08, 20:47

kman1 wrote:You should look up the Nama language then. Being it is the largest (# of speakers) of the surviving click languages and all.

Andre, were you able to find any more information on Nama? I still really want to learn and practice it.


Sorry, I've neglected you. :( :oops: Will find and and report back asap!

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Postby kman1 » 2008-07-10, 7:54

ok, thanks. I can't wait to start practicing it.

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Postby andre » 2008-07-11, 13:07

I can't find any learning resources for Nama on the net. Apparently the University of Namibia offers a course in Nama. You could contact them at ethomas@unam.na They should be able to tell you of any other resources.

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Postby kman1 » 2008-07-12, 2:51

thanks andre, I'll check it out.

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Re: learning Nama (Hottentot)

Postby jaman » 2011-09-10, 11:23

Hi kman1
I know this response is a couple of years late but...
Could you get material on the Nama language ? If not, maybe I can assist. Kind regards

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Re: learning Nama (Hottentot)

Postby kman1 » 2011-09-10, 14:02

Nope, I never found any useful material for learning Nama. I lost interest in Nama years ago because as far as I know, it just isn't a language worth learning. Not many people speak it to begin with and there are other African languages that I have studied since I originally started this thread that have quite a number of click sounds. (i.e. Xhosa) Unless you're a 100% fluent speaker of Nama and can justify why someone would/should study it then I really don't care about Nama any more.

But... If you're a native speaker, know it's grammar well, and plan to make unilang your new home then it would, in fact, be cool to "properly" learn it... :P

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Re: learning Nama (Hottentot)

Postby Shiba » 2011-09-14, 11:53

Wow, old thread.

In re Zulu: Zulu is actually used far more widely than KZN. You won't find many Zulu speakers in Gauteng and further north - not as far as I know at any rate, although there are ethnic Zulus here - but it's widely used further south. According to one of my school books, which I assume has done/consulted proper research (but who knows? =P ) Zulu is the language most spoken in South Africa. I thought it would be English, but it's possible they only looked at first-language speakers, in which case I can readily see Zulu winning. According to Wolfram Alpha, Zulu boasts 9.6 million speakers to Afrikaan's 6 million.

After all, the whole Mbeki/Zuma thing was at least partially a result of the age-old Xhosa/Zulu feud.
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Re: learning Nama (Hottentot)

Postby Socrates » 2012-04-05, 17:03

If you're not too concerned as to which of the "Khoisan" languages to look at, there are a few others which have a far greater use of clicks than isiZulu and isiXhosa put together.

If you search for khoekhoegowab on Youtube, there are four lessons. I also posted recently to the effect that there are free resources (pdf of 23 lessons with mp3 files) for Ju /'hoan...

viewtopic.php?f=0&t=24406&p=796887#p796887

In the next few days I should be receiving the Concise Grammar of Ju /'hoan by Patrick Dickens, which I ordered from http://www.koeppe.de/ and there are various other Khoisan grammar and dictionary publications available from the site.

Rich

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Re: learning Nama (Hottentot)

Postby kman1 » 2012-04-05, 21:31

Well, I started learning isiZulu and isiXhosa quite a while ago. From what I see so far, they are much more useful than Ju /'hoan but please correct me if I am wrong. Ju /'hoan does seem interesting though.

I see that you have ordered the text but how are you going to use the language when you start learning seriously? A library that I do inter-library loans with has a copy of that text you just ordered so I could get a copy probably but who would I practice with? I may look into this if I can justify actually studying it.

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Re: learning Nama (Hottentot)

Postby Socrates » 2012-04-05, 21:54

I sort of went off learning languages for any reason other than the sheer joy of having bits of my brain normally dormant fired into life. The non-IE languages started me off, but when I encountered languages like Khoisan (for the beautifully alive phonology) and Native American (for the utter immersion in life itself), well...

Having studied so many, from a philological viewpoint, I am usually quite quick to get going with a new language. I just love getting to know a new one, even in the knowledge I shall probably never master anything other than English. And you're absolutely correct. I shan't get around to using Ju /'hoan. My disability precludes me from travelling. But for me the act of learning is reason enough.

Rich

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Re: learning Nama (Hottentot)

Postby kman1 » 2012-04-05, 22:02

Well, for now, I'll hold off on pursuing that language. But do please keep us posted on your progress with learning and perhaps mastering it. Zulu and Xhosa keep me plenty busy enough but I will find my way to Africa eventually so who knows if this small language might come in handy...

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Re: learning Nama (Hottentot)

Postby Socrates » 2012-04-17, 7:44

I've had the Dickens book for a few days and have skimmed through it.

It's fairly small. The actual grammar consists of pp21-95, and the glossary pp99-110. There is no pronunciation guide; the reader is assumed to be familiar with the orthography already.

However, pronunciation is best gleaned from native speakers, and failing that, from the fairly rich recordings online I posted above. In other words, time spent on the online materials will definitely make this book very accessible to the student.

The grammar itself is fairly simple. I'd argue less complicated than the Bantu languages. In fact, I consider the only real difficulty with learning this language is the sound system. Not only are there the famous clicks, but there are also tones to master.

I shall immerse myself in the online recordings and study the book, and I am very confident I shall be able to gain a reasonable grasp of basic Ju /'hoan.


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