25 May

There are people who fail to realize that Africa is a continent of 54 countries with between 1250 and 2100 languages1 – which includes dialects but not English, French, Spanish and Portuguese. All of which are broadly spoken in preference to the indigenous language. 

As we know this continent is not without controversy even down to its name! Through history the preferred spelling has been ‘k’ – Afrika. However to go back further we can find the influence of both Latin and Greek. Latin used ‘Afer’ which means dark, hence the early colonizers were inclined to all it ‘The Dark Continent’. 

Other translations have been Aprica which means sunny – perhaps more suitable. I find the Greek’s name to be interesting – using their ph giving an ‘f’ sound we get Phrike to which they added A – Aphrike and that is a land free of cold and horror. Early days indeed! 

The Arabic speaking world must not be excluded from ‘Africa’. Today hieroglyphs tell us of news carried news across a vast Egyptian world as far back as 3200BCE (Before Common Era). Yet the progress of their writing to what we see today has made the name ‘Africa’ a combination of the Greek Phrike with an upward ‘ia’ sound thus we have ‘Aphrikia. As Colonization progressed we began to see the letter ‘k’ replaced by ‘c’, despite other influences across the continent. 

The one language to have maintained its own spelling structure has been French which uses ‘q’ and thus Afrique. 

So today being Africa day we at English Online say Karibu/welcome to Africa, Afrika, Afraka (Malian), Alkebu-lan (Carthaginians), Afrique and Aphrikia. 


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