Category Archives: Language & Reference

5 Good Reasons to Learn to Speak a Second Language

Image Tobias Mikkelsen
Whether for employment or enjoyment, a second language can be useful and enlightening – Image: Tobias Mikkelsen

From the moment we’re born, we are taught in the primary language of our parents.

During our formative years, we develop a certain mastery of the spoken word in order to communicate our needs and wants with others.

This fluent mastery can suit our purposes well in the world we were raised in, but what if we needed to communicate with someone outside of this world of ours?

There are a variety of reasons why one would want to learn a secondary language:

1. Bi-lingual Employment – Many organizations hire translators in order to communicate with individuals of a specific ethnic background. Continue reading

Hebrew of the Torah and the Christian Bible

Torah
The Torah (Hebrew: instruction, teaching) is a central concept in the Jewish tradition – click to enlarge.

The decision to learn Hebrew began with a yearning to become acquainted with the origins of the Christian Bible.

It is immediately apparent that the contemporary Bible is a product of many translations and modifications.

The Christian Bible is founded on the Torah, the body of scripture known to non-Jews as the Old Testament, the Pentateuch or the Five Books of Moses.

Over a period of thousands of years, the original ancient Hebrew texts have been meticulously preserved to the present day.

These texts were first translated from the original Hebrew to Aramaic, then from Aramaic to Greek, Greek to Latin and finally Latin to English. The full Bible has been translated into over 450 languages, parts of it into more than 2,000 languages. Continue reading

Search Select Five Or More Search Engines For Better Results

Search Engines
Search Engine selection can help you generate more relevant Search Results

In the Information Age the word Google has entered the common lexicon. Need an answer? Google it. A mobile instant mine. Information now. It’s taken for granted; everything, everywhere all the time.

We effortlessly pull up literally millions of records on any topic. The data is searchable and filtered in real time using Google’s sophisticated state-of-the-art algorithms. Depending on the search term used, most of the time we get relevant results. Many, many results.

There is simply so much information coming at us so quickly that the tools we have to process the data flow can seem inadequate at times. One way to leverage the built-in power of available tools Continue reading

Gold In South Africa And The Ancient Indian Connection

Relief depicting Ancient Dravidian Seafarers
Relief depicting Ancient Dravidian Seafarers -- click to enlarge

Like most South Africans of my generation, as a schoolboy I learnt that the recorded history of Southern Africa started in the mid 17th century with the arrival of the European explorers.

Did ancient Dravidian Seafarers establish the first gold mines in Southern Africa?

We studied detailed accounts of these early settlers and their exploits as well as the references to the Portuguese explorers, such as Bartolameu Dias, who preceded them by about 100 years.

According to this history the Khoisan or San people inhabited the Southern African region and preceded the Bantu people who gradually displaced them as they migrated south into the coastal regions of what is now known as the Cape. In a previous post, which you can find here, we covered the many languages spoken by the Khoisan.

The truth may be very different (6 photographs).
Continue reading

Quotation Mark And Space After Period: Rules You Should Know About

Punctuation
Punctuation Rules You Need to Know

Have you ever wondered, like me, if one or two spaces should come after a period in a sentence? Well, we are not alone. Apparently there is a dichotomy of opinion on this issue. Strongly held views are asserted by each camp. For the one-spacers, Farhad Manjoo puts it best:

“Typing two spaces after a period is totally, completely, utterly, and inarguably wrong.”

Well, alright then. Not long ago, mere hundreds of years back, inconsistency reigned regarding spelling, punctuation and print design. In the early 20th century typesetting eventually became more widespread. Typesetters began to settle on a single space after the “full stop.” Europe was first to adopt this and America followed soon after. Then came a now virtually extinct technology — the manual typewriter. The first typewriters had mono-space type. The introduction of the two-space rule was to accomodate the aesthetic shortcomings of the mono-space typewriter. Continue reading

Language of Afrikaans and Khoisan Two of 24 Spoken in South Africa

Khoisan engraving in a riverbed on a farm in the Kalahari
Not many people know that 24 living languages are spoken in South Africa today. Of these, according to some estimates, Afrikaans is spoken by around 23 million people, or 46% of the population of nearly 50 million people.

At the other end of the scale, an almost extinct Khoisan language known by various names, including Ng’uki, is spoken by just 12 known individuals. These rare Ng’uki speakers are scattered about South Africa in isolated ‘ones’ and ‘two’s’.

The next smallest group numbers just 87 persons. They speak a marginal Khoisan language called Xiri. Also known as Grikwa or Griqua, it will soon join the other now extinct Khoisan languages of Seroa, Korana and Xam. The Khoisan were the original inhabitants of Southern Africa. The Bantu migrations from Central and East Africa towards the south eventually reached the southern African region, replacing the Khoisan as the predominant population. Today the largest Khoisan language group numbers 50 900 (2006) Continue reading