Do I Need to Speak French to Travel in Africa?


Gadget

Do I Need to Speak French to Travel in Africa?


judeeelliot

Language is plays a big role in communication , and people must have a second language to connect with other societes. i learn 4 diffrent languages to write assignment for diffrent peoples and diffrent websites like http://www.assignmentland.co.uk/ and now adays i try to learn 5 language which is portugese


Gadget

Judee --- Members, please be warned. This link is for the UK, she shows as from the USA. Then he sexy photo tempts us to communicate. So, this post seems fishy. Judee we need clarity, before you sell something. Yet, for I do like your photo of on the beach. We have a policy of no weaving spider, this is weaving a comment, to push a link. But, first comment, so let us se where this leads.


Bob the Squid

The observation that many Ewe speak French poorly or not at all is a very useful one. Because the United States is so broadly monocultural Americans tend to think of language at a national level: German people speak German, Italian people speak Italian, and so on. But the reality, particularly in Asia and Africa, is much more complicated.

Look at Togo, for example. Togo is a tiny country that is smaller in area than 41 US states. But there are almost 40 languages spoken in Togo. Some of them are mutually comprehensible, some are not. The official language of the country is French, but many people don't speak it. The take away point here is that it is entirely possible for two Togolese to meet and not be able to talk to each other. That seems completely bizarre to Americans because with the exception of a very occasional immigrant everyone an American will meet in the USA will speak English.

When you move to Asia, things get really complicated. India has 300 million people who speak Hindi and 100s of millions of people who speak Dravidian languages like Tamil, Kannada, and Telegu. Speakers of different Dravidian languages frequently can't understand each other let alone Hindi, which is completely linguistically unrelated to Dravidian languages. Of course, many Indians are multilingual and many speak English or Indian "English". But there are still 100s of millions of people in India who can't understand each other.


Gadget

Bob it is extremely useful for a traveler to Togo to know they do NOT SPEAK FRENCH. Togo is NOT a French Speaking country, to say that they speak French, means the person does not speak French, and does not know Togo. To say French is the second language, that the highly educated use is OK to say, with a caveat, that less than 1 in 5 locals even speak functional French. A person learning French is not capable of know who, or who is not speaking French. My French great now, and I speak better French than 98 percent of the locals here in Togo. Right now, the highly educated are speaking English better than their French, they know that French is not the dominant language of the planet for business.


Bob the Squid

Exactly right. If you visit a website, it will tell you that the "official language" of Togo is French, so you might just assume that people speak French there. But no! "Official language" just means that it's the language of government.

This is very common in previously colonized countries. Not only does the country inherit a bureaucracy built on the colonial power's language, the colonial language can also be a non-threatening standard that all of the ethnic or linguistic subgroups can agree on.

But none of that has anything to do with the language that an average citizen speaks.


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