I recently watched a TV drama series from Zambia; Love Games recommended by a friend from Germany. And though the language of communication here is English, there are parts when the actors and actresses resort to their mother tongues like Bemba. In such cases, there are subtitles ready to redeem us the lost souls, in the sense of not understanding the language. There are words and pronunciations just like in the Ganda language used in Uganda and other languages under Bantu languages include; Kinyarwanda, Shona, Kirundi, Kiswahili as reported by www.britannica.com.


Many languages from different parts of the world have mutual intelligibility.

However, folks from around the world that originate from Africa and speak or understand a Bantu originated language can back me on this one when I say I almost understood the language in Love Games. It should be noted that though both Zambia and Uganda are in Africa, the former is in the Southern part while the latter is in the Eastern part of the continent.

Other Languages around the world with mutual intelligibility

This is just an example of hundreds of languages from all over the world that are to say mutual intelligible; where people of different languages can understand each other to a certain extent without having studied the language in common.

Then there is also the unexpected twist as Robert Lindsay puts it. There are languages where the speakers can understand when in written form yet when both languages are spoken, nothing might be understood. Then, still there are languages that can be understood by other language speakers when spoken yet cannot make sense out of the written form!

For example, it is alleged that Spanish speakers can understand a bit of spoken Italian yet it is not the same story when it comes to the written form as reported by Robert Lindsay.

On the other hand, French and Italian speakers may easily understand both their written forms, which also goes for the Spanish and Portuguese languages.

Examples of mutually intelligible Languages in either spoken or written form

It is a very interesting thing when one finds out they can make sense of what a different language speaker is or is trying to say. However for more effective communication, especially on sensitive issues like Politics, Medical issues and Academics, Translations, interpretation, Subtitling and Transcription have to be involved for the benefit of all parties involved.

By Angela Kyolaba

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