Although Afrikaans is not widely spoken in Natal – we should be aware that after isiZulu and Xhosa, it is the mother tongue of the next largest group of people and could most possibly be one of your child’s choices as a matric subject.
Afrikaans is a particularly easy language to learn, as it has only three tenses – other than the nine or more tenses in many other South African languages. As in all languages, there are specific rules to be followed in sentence construction, and once children catch on to the fact that you cannot translate directly from English to Afrikaans, half the battle is won! Remember, a child needs reinforcement at home to learn a new language. Time at school in not enough! They need to learn and expand their vocabulary and practice pronunciation!
Here are some ideas to help your child with Afrikaans
Vocabulary! It is vital to keep building and expanding vocabulary! The capacity young children have to remember new words is amazing! Assist your child in reinforcing new words. Make it fun. Stick flashcards of words around the house so they can practice them. (On their bedroom ceiling, mirrors, on the toilet wall)
- Watch Afrikaans Television: Practice Pronunciation by watching and recording Afrikaans programmes. It is important children hear the language spoken by a mother tongue speaker. Find an age appropriate series they can watch on TV everyday.
Programme schedules: Suitable Programmes for younger children are on TV daily between 17:00 and 17.30 on Kyknet channel 144. (Koowee)
‘Sewende Laan’ is very popular and age-appropriate for older senior primary / high school children. Many life issues are addressed. Watch with your children and use them as topics for discussion. It reinforces everyday basic vocabulary like greetings and answering questions. Look out for ‘Oubaas’ who uses many idioms and comparisons. This programme is on SABC 2 every evening from 18:30 to 19:00. Catch up missed Sewende Laan programmes on channel 192 on Sundays at 3.30pm
- Listen to Afrikaans Music.
Channel 146 offers popular Afrikaans Music Videos / songs all day.
Play Afrikaans music CD’s in your car. In no time your children will sing along with them!
Afrikaans radio channel RSG – channel 102.5 FM: Keep this music station on in the car.
- Afrikaans videos (age-appropriate) can be purchased at com, or hire from a video shop. Popular videos for older children are ‘Hoofmeisie’ and ‘Agent 2000 – Die Laksman.’
- The Internet – Older children can go to hoezit.co.za. This website is compiled by the ATKV (Association for Afrikaans Language and Culture). One can find games, factual information, questionnaires and news – to interest early teens.
www.annaem.co.za offers Afrikaans books with audio CD’s – to help children with pronunciation.
www.Kalahari.com has an Afrikaans children’s section for CD’s, DVD’s and books – fiction and non-fiction.
- Public Libraries normally have a substantial Afrikaans section with lovely children’s books.
- FUN Activities at home: Have an Afrikaans day once a week. Speak only Afrikaans.
- Use easy Afrikaans Recipes –and prepare food or do baking with your child.
Afrikaans is a beautiful, descriptive and delightful language to understand and to speak. Make learning it fun for your child – and yourself!
Special Thanks to Thea Mulder and Ilse Erwee for their input.