South Africa is a country with 11 official languages, however, one above all others, claims the centre ground as the cross-cultural unifier - English. As is happening in Europe, English is rising in importance as a diplomatic tool and a path to enhanced career opportunities. Having a medium in which people of different cultures and backgrounds can share ideas and understanding, is essential in today's fast moving, globalised society. Around the world, English is now the most widely spoken language, followed by Mandarin and Spanish.
As an emerging global player, South Africa's unofficial business language is English. This has a number of benefits for the country. First, it helps make the country attractive to foreign investors - companies wishing to expand into SA will have no problem with a language barrier. Tourists are also more easily persuaded to visit a country they can read about at length, in a language they understand. There is also little scope for getting lost in a country where almost everyone speaks some English. However, it has been shown that only about 9% of the population use English as their home language (source: census 2001). This can possibly explain why the English spoken in SA is not always accurate, with many grammatical traits from other languages having worked their way into English.
There are of course, a number of institutions one can enroll in to improve ability in the language. Although, these courses are usually expensive and cater predominantly to foreigners. The Knowledge Workshop has launched two programmes aimed at addressing this imbalance.
Our Community Focused English Programme (CFEP) targets South Africans who have difficulty in the language and want to improve their confidence and ability. This 12 week programme has been specially developed to address the needs of South Africans. Classes are held on Saturday mornings to accommodate those in full-time employment, whilst being priced to accommodate lower income groups.
Special Purpose English (SPE) is aimed at professionals and companies wishing to equip themselves with an advanced understanding of the language in a particular field, eg: management, customer service or sales. Course content is tailored to address the needs of the company or individual.
At The Knowledge Workshop, we are passionate about language and hope to do something to improve the quality of the cross-cultural medium of English. After all, it is one of the 11 official languages!
To find out more about these unique courses, contact us.