Things to do in lockdown: Write Your name in many languages

“If you are an African, African languages are your mother tongue. Language is one thing. Feel free to use all the vocabulary you have and test it out. It is not about how many languages you know it is about how much language you know.” Pule Welch

This multilingual actor, comedian, clown, rapper, poet, story-teller and to be doctor in linguistics was a great inspiration. He spoke directly to the psycho-linguistic blockages of mono-lingualism amongst the diverse people of Africa and directly to me. I want to communicate with all of humanity.

He reminded me of the Flaaitaal spoken in Sophiatown of the 50s, where a combination of Zulu, Venda, Sotho, Xhosa and Afrikaans could find itself in one sentence. “Identity is intersectional,” he said.

At the intersection of Southern Africa’s diverse people a group of cunning linguists develop a Southern African Azanian writing system. They called it Isibheqe, named after the beaded love letter of the Zulu tradition. It is useful to all the Sintu languages and it is centralised in an Azanian phonology. “That is a shift,” he said.

Let’s take this shift ::: >< ::: I come from a diverse land in itself – KwaZulu, Natal, little India where my Latin name Struan Douglas is used and Stru for short :

The Patronymic form of my name is traced to the Highlands. In Scot Gaelic my name might be written Sruthan Stiùbhard Dùghlas Roibeartson

In Arabic I am قوي دوغلاس
In Ge’ez I am ስትሩኣን ዾኡግላስ

The Greeks pronounce my name Strouan Ntagklas. Greeks write itΣΤΡΟΥΑΝ ΝΤΑΓΚΛΑΣ

The Chinese pronounce my name Sī tè lā·dàogélāsī and write 斯特拉·道格拉斯

The Japanese pronounce it Sutoruandagurasu and write it ストルアンダグラス

And in the S’into languages it is pronounced same as Japanese Sutoruandagurasu

In Isibheqe it is written thus:

Suturuna Dugalasu

To learn more about writing in Isibheqe go ahead and visit the website

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