A Look at the Ju|’hoan Language

Method and Conclusion. See here.

Results. A ratings system was designed in terms of how difficult it would be for an English-language speaker to learn the language. In the case of English, English was judged according to how hard it would be for a non-English speaker to learn the language. Speaking, reading and writing were all considered.

Ratings: Languages are rated 1-6, easiest to hardest. 1 = easiest, 2 = moderately easy to average, 3 = average to moderately difficult, 4 = very difficult, 5 = extremely difficult, 6 = most difficult of all. Ratings are impressionistic.

Time needed. Time needed for an English language speaker to learn the language “reasonably well”: Level 1 languages = 3 months-1 year. Level 2 languages = 6 months-1 year. Level 3 languages = 1-2 years. Level 4 languages = 2 years. Level 5 languages = 3-4 years, but some may take longer. Level 6 languages = more than 4 years.

This post will look at the Ju|’hoan language in terms of how difficult it would be for an English speaker to learn it.

Khoisan
Southern Africa
Southern
Northern

Ju|’hoan, a Khoisan language spoken by 5,000 people in Botswana, has one of the wildest phonological inventories on Earth. Some question whether these segments actually exist and say that they are instead spoken with a “breathy-voice.” However, voiced aspirated consonants do appear to be real.

In addition, Ju|’hoan has a closed class of only 17 adjectives since descriptive functions are done by verbs. They are the following:

female
male
other (those remaining)
other (strange)
true
old
new
a certain
each
all
some
the numbers one through four

Ju|’hoan scored very high on a study of the weirdest languages on Earth.
Ju|’hoan gets a 6 rating, hardest of all.

Leave a comment

Filed under Africa, Applied, Khoisan, Language Families, Language Learning, Linguistics, Regional, Southwest Africa

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s