Trevor Noah Teams Up With Duolingo To Teach South Africa's Popular Languages
Photo Credit: Getty Images

Photo Credit: Getty Images

Trevor Noah Teams Up With Duolingo To Teach South Africa's Popular Languages

Lesotho , South Africa , Zimbabwe , news
Parker Diakite
Parker Diakite Sep 6, 2021

South African comedian Trevor Noah has teamed up with the free language app giant Duolingo to help teach South Africa’s most popular languages.

Zulu and Xhosa are two of the country’s most spoken languages, as they are two of 11 official languages in the country and among the most widely spoken in homes.

Duolingo says it has teamed up with the Trevor Noah Foundation and its partner Nal’ibali, an organization that promotes multilingual reading, to create the courses.

Adding Zulu and Xhosa to Duolingo means there will be three African-language courses offered on the app. The Swahili course, which was added in 2017, has more than 363,000 active users, as reported in QZ Africa.

Trevor, who speaks five languages fluently including, English, Afrikaans, Zulu, Tswana, and Tsonga, says he’s excited that two South African languages will be offered on the app.

“Xhosa because I want to start learning it and speaking it fluently. And then Zulu, just so I can brush up while I’m not in my country,” he told Duolingo co-founder and CEO Luis von Ahn in a discussion about the new languages being added, but warned, “you’re gonna need a whole section in Xhosa just to teach people about the clicks.”

Xhosa, known as the “click-click language” is said to be one of the most difficult languages in the world for native English speakers.

Spoken in South Africa, Zimbabwe, and Lesotho, Xhosa is one of many African languages that use click consonants. There are 18 clicks that get articulated in three different places: the back of the teeth, the roof of the mouth, and the side of the mouth, according to Translate Day.  

In addition to Zulu and Xhosa, Duolingo announced that the Austrialnesian language Tagalog, Eastern Polynesian language Māori, and Haitian Creole will also be added to the lineup.

The languages will be offered to the world beginning in 2022.  

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