It's a popular lament - the interest to pick up a few useful phrases in an African language is there, just not the time. Then www.fundani.uct.ac.za, a collaboration between the Systems and Support team of the Department of Communication and Development (DCD) and the African Languages and Literatures section in the School of Languages and Literatures, could be the answer to your polyglot prayers. Users can dip into the colourful site's store of commonplace and university-specific phrases, as well as a dictionary of handy words and slang, in English (the hub language), Afrikaans, Xhosa, Zulu and Sesotho. Registered users can add words and phrases, with each new entry vetted before it goes online. According to Rethea Deetlefs, head of online communications at DCD, the site is a tool to encourage the crossing of language barriers at UCT. Apart from the phrasebook, with content provided by the African languages section, the dictionary depends entirely on users, says Deetlefs. "The whole emphasis is on getting people to add to it."
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