|AFRIKAANS may be perceived to be a “white language”, but a study has revealed that 60 percent of people who list Afrikaans as their home language are coloured, African or Indian.
The research, by the South African Institute of Race Relations, was based on data obtained from the 2011 Census which showed that of the 6.9 million people who listed Afrikaans as their home language, 4.1 million (60 percent) were coloured, African and Indian, while only 2.7 million |(40 percent) were white.
Coloured people accounted for the largest group who spoke Afrikaans in the country at 3.4 million, followed by white people at 2.7 million, African people at 602 166 and Indian people at 58 700.
Researcher Thuthukani Ndebele said population growth and people’s personal circumstances contributed to the rise in the number of people speaking Afrikaans.
Ndebele said it was becoming more about choice and convenience than race.
Zulu remained the most commonly spoken language in the country with 11.6 million (22.7 percent) people listing it as a home language. Of the 11.6 million people who spoke Zulu, 11.5 million were African.
Xhosa was the next most widely spoken, used by 8.2 million people (16 percent of the population), then Afrikaans with 6.9 million (13.5 percent) and followed by English, at 4.9 million (9.6 percent).
“Although English is only the fourth most spoken home language, it is the preferred language of learning in South Africa,” said Ndebele.
“About 64 percent of the 11.5 million pupils in public schools in 2010 chose to be taught in English.”
Some of the least spoken languages were Venda, Swati and Ndebele, with 1.2 million (2.4 percent), 1.3 million (2.5 percent) and nearly 1.1 million (2.1 percent) speakers respectively.
Sign language is the home language of 234 655 (0.5 percent) people in the country.published in CapeArgus on 23 April 2013