Teacher Tuesday: Meet Johan!

Johan Afrikaans-01Newly transplanted to DC this past Fall, John Ferreira immediately contacted GLN about teaching his native language, Afrikaans. Since then, he has immersed himself in the GLN community — taking workshops about communicative learning, leading Afrikaans mini-lessons at G-FEST 2014, and teaching Afrikaans Foreigner this summer.

Coming from a country that has 11 official languages, Johan thinks you can best understand someone’s perspective by speaking their language. For Johan, teaching his mother tongue also means investigating its key role in the formation of South Africa.

Did you know Afrikaans itself is a relatively new language? It evolved from several different tongues spoken in the Cape of Good Hope during the mid-17th century. Listen to an Afrikaner speak and you will hear a heavy Dutch influence, with words from Malay, Portuguese, Bantu, and Khoisan languages as well.

While traveling abroad, Johan has found Afrikaans to be extremely useful. He can understand Dutch and German quite well, especially in written form. Working in Flanders, Belgium, Johan often chatted with his colleagues in Afrikaans and they responded in Flemish. The next language on his list to master is Portuguese. Sign up for a Portuguese Foreigner class this Fall and you  might make a new South African friend.

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