Hello South Africa – the phrasebook


    8 April 2010

    A new phrasebook containing hundreds of useful translations, along with pronunciation tips, promises both to enrich visitors’ experiences of South Africa and to help South Africans themselves to communicate more effectively.

    Hello South Africa, the phrasebook, contains translations of more than 600 phrases in 30 topics in each of the country’s official languages, making it a useful tool to help people converse on a basic level.

    The phrasebook concisely sums up South Africa’s diversity, while making communication in its 11 official languages easier.

    It was developed over 18 months by graphic designer Mark Macdonald and his wife Michelle, a voice and English pronunciation coach, with contributions from leaders in the fields of linguistics and social anthropology in South Africa.

    “While the product was originally developed to help people communicate with each other during the World Cup, it has since evolved into something which we believe could have far greater nation-building implications,” says Jenny Gautschi, who was involved with the development and marketing of the phrasebook.

    “Without a doubt, speaking to someone in his or her mother tongue and understanding something about that culture and its traditions, fosters a mutual respect,” says Gautschi. “This phrasebook offers a simple and effective way for people to achieve this.”

    The translations have been done by top academics from the African languages departments of a number of South African universities.

    “The introduction on the history of language in South Africa [was] written by Professor Rajend Mesthrie, a leader in the field of linguistics; and cultural introductions [were] written by Professor David Coplan, the chair of social anthropology at the University of the Witwatersrand.”

    For example, in Zulu one can confidently ask anything from “What is your name?” – “Ngubani igama lakho, pronounced ngoo-bah-nee ee-gah-mah lah-kaw?”, to telling somebody you have been bitten by a snake or letting a waiter know the service was excellent.

    Languages and topics are also colour-coded to ensure that any phrase is readily available.

    The phrasebook contains photographs, quick-reference language distribution maps which show where a specific language is spoken, and practical travel tips to help visitors have a better experience of the country.

    The tips section includes information on: banking; transport – taxis, buses and trains; internet cafes; and shops and markets.

    “It also serves as a souvenir of South Africa’s rich diversity of languages, cultures and magnificent natural beauty.”

    Hello South Africa is available at Exclusive Books outlets nationwide and selected Van Schaik stores. For more information, visit Hello South Africa Publishing.

    Source: City of Johannesburg