Now English gets cold shoulder

After years of complaints that the Afrikaans language doesn’t get its fair share of the advertising cake, the Pendoring Awards (for Afrikaans advertising) have turned the tables on the nation’s biggest second-language, English. Entries for this year’s Pendorings can be in any of our 11 official languages – except English, says an official announcement.

Two panels of judges have been appointed, one for Afrikaans ads, one for the other nine vernacular languages. Still a touch unbalanced, wouldn’t you think?

The problem now is that the other vernacular languages are still not getting their share. Will this lead to complaints from the other? In numerical terms, the problem is easy to see.  The biggest mother tongue in South Africa, spoken by 23% of the population, is isiZulu, followed by iXhosa (16%). Afrikaans is only third, with 14%, and English fourth with 10%.

But English is the global lingua franca, the language of culture and with the biggest and richest vocabulary, the language everyone loves. And as the international language of communication and the internet, and the language of business, English is not going to get supplanted any time soon. Though I don’t know about those Chinese…Tony Koenderman

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