Tswana, one of South Africa’s eleven official languages, is a language written in a Latin alphabet. Native speakers of English find it easier to learn Tswana than other African tongues because they already understand the letters and sounds. “Cognates,” easily recognizable words imported into Tswana from English, French, German, and Dutch, also make it easier for English speakers to learn Tswana. American, European, and local slang quickly become part of Tswana so that as English speakers learn Tswana, they will recognize “sharp” and “cool” while technical terms also become easier to recognize —“computere” means the same with or without the “e.” Because more than four million South Africans claim Tswana as their primary language, many business people believe it serves their best interest to learn Tswana. Especially as a tool for driving sales, the ability to communicate clearly and effectively with customers inspires many English speakers to learn Tswana.
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