Language, the Digital Revolution and Xhosa

In class, we discussed somewhat how the Digital Revolution has destroyed our understanding of language, and how we are becoming lazy in expressing ourselves at times.   In addition to all those negative consequences, I think that blogs can help to expand our knowledge of certian languages.  Here is an example. Xhosa.  Give your best shot at pronouncing that word.  I have a feeling that most of you pronounced that word as either “hosa” or “zhosa”, both of which are incorrect.  I will try and describe the way you pronounce the word, but it is a bit more complicated than words can describe.  The “X” is actually a click, made with your tongue on the side of your mouth.  Then you continue to say the rest of the word.  So it sounds like *click*hosa.  Understand?  Didn’t think so.  Wouldn’t it be so much easier if you could be here in person and you could just hear what the word sounded like? How about hearing a recording of me saying it? Well, here you go!

Xhosa

Now you can hear what that word sounds like.  Go ahead, try pronouncing it again. Although you may not be perfect at it, at least you get an idea on how the word is supposed to sound.  There are actually three different clicking sounds in Xhosa.  The “X”, the “C”, and the “Q”.  I wont describe how to make all of them, but if you are interested, here are a few words containing each of those clicks. Mxolisi, Cele, Qinisile. Also, the words “Sio Nqoba” are in the popular Lion King song, “The Circle of Life”!  Don’t believe me?  It’s at around 23 seconds in the following video:

In this case, through a blog that was brought to us by the Digital Revolution, you have come to more fully understand how to click in the Xhosa language.  If I was a linguist, and had a mastery of the English language I might be able to describe exactly how to do each of the three clicks; however, it is so much easier just to include a link to an audio file so you can hear how to do them instead.  So in some ways, the Digial Revolution can help us more fully master a language.

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One thought on “Language, the Digital Revolution and Xhosa

  1. Pingback: 42 « Hakuna Matata

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