Saturday, July 16, 2011

People often ask us, "What language do people speak in Botswana?"  The easy answer is -- English.  It is the language of government and business, and the common language, since there are (according to one website) some 29 different languages.  Schools begin English in the fifth grade.

The Peace Corps will be teaching us Setswana, which is spoken by about 3 million people.  More people speak it as a first language in South Africa than in Botswana.  In Botswana, about half the people speak it as their first language.  In fact, Setswana means the language of the Tswana, Botswana means the country of the Tswana, and Batswana means the people of Tswana.

Peace Corps language training is very good (my experience from the sixties) but it is going to be a huge challenge for us, nevertheless.  The Peace Corps already sent us some MP3's with language lessons, and we've learned a few things.  There is almost nothing in common between English and Setswana.  We will give it our most valiant effort.  It may come in very handy...

1 comment:

Rachel said...

Is there anything in common between Setswana and Swahili? I know they're at the opposite ends of the continent, but I was wondering since Swahili is a trade language???