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We have eleven official languages in South Africa, but the lingua franca is clearly English. Not surprising, then, that those of us for whom English is our home language, tend to be critical of the pronunciation, or choice of words, of those whose home language is one of the other ten. But stop for a moment and think it through. Can you speak that person’s language? Fluently? Correctly? I doubt it. So what right do you have to scoff at them?

Rather learn to listen to what is being said. The person is endeavouring to communicate with you, and communication is not precision of speech, it is the passage of a concept from one brain to another. If you only listen to the words, you may well miss the communication.


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