Magdi Jacobs Profile picture
Mar 2, 2018 15 tweets 5 min read Twitter logo Read on Twitter
1/ Okay, full disclosure, I haven't seen #BlackPanther yet, but I just found out that the Wakandan language in the film is Xhosa and I am super excited. . . .…
The Xhosa language is a Bantu language, spoken in southern regions of Africa. It is an official language in South Africa & in Zimbabwe.

Xhosa is part of the "Niger-Congo" family of languages, which is a BIG & diverse family of languages.
This map gives a pretty good representation of where Xhosa is located regionally.

Keep in mind, there are between 1500-2000 languages in Africa. Most people speak MULTIPLE languages.
Now, all languages are cool. But Xhosa is, well, super cool (that's the technical description). Why? Well, for lots of reasons, but one of them is that the sound system is SO FREAKING COMPLEX.
Xhosa has BOTH tones (like Mandarin) and clicks. Both of these features make it almost impossible for non-native speakers to master in either speech production OR speech comprehension.

If you want an idea of what I'm talking about here is the consonant inventory of Xhosa:
Compare that to the consonant inventory of English:
Or French:
Now, like I said, Xhosa has clicks, which is one of the features that makes it so interesting AND so difficult (clicks only exist in a handful of African languages--mostly in S. Africa w/ a few in E. Africa. No other world languages have clicks.).
Clicks involve a completely different manipulation of the airstream than other consonants. I would love to go into more detail, but I am afraid I will bore you all to tears.
So, to be brief: in English, we're basically just pushing air OUT of our lungs and manipulate it in various ways w/in our throat/mouths to make our rather limited consonant inventory.
In Xhosa, speakers are doing the same thing. But they are also doing a *different* manipulation of the airstream in order to produce clicks; specifically, to speak Xhosa, you must push air OUT like in English, but also trap air to produce different kinds of pressure: clicks.
If you've stayed w/ me, I'll show you why this is so neat and important. Clicks aren't just random sounds. They make all of the difference in the meanings of words.

Here is a visual example:
I encourage you to go to the site and click on ALL the words to hear all the clicks. Try to imagine what kind of time you would have learning to distinguish ALL of these different meanings based on these click variations:

(note also the use of tone!)…
The contrast between "to pick up" and "perfume" is one of my favorites. It would take you soooooooooo long as a non-native speaker to effectively encode these differences in spoken language:
Anyway, Xhosa is cool for a lot of reasons--not just clicks! The grammar is neat too. But I love the sound system of this language.

I'm glad the rare complexity of Xhosa is being highlighted in #BlackPanther.

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More from @magi_jay

Oct 8, 2018
1/ (TW: sexual assault):

One reason many survivors do not report is b/c society has taught us to measure sexual assault w/ a ruler.

I'm going to talk about a couple of factors that have been empirically demonstrated to correlate w/ non-reporting.
2/ After I was raped, I remember thinking that, despite all the evidence that I had been raped, it might not really be rape b/c I was not simultaneously threatened w/ murder.

I also thought it could not really be rape b/c, tho I was strangled, I was not beaten.
3/ These same doubts were echoed by some around me. For example, my boyfriend at the time told me that he had talked to another friend who had been raped. He said, "They broke two of her ribs, so what happened to her was *really* bad."
Read 22 tweets
Oct 7, 2018
1/ Writing a thread in response to this Q b/c I have SO many thoughts. I’m going to offer my own responses to the question in the hope that people will be inspired to vote even if they are dissatisfied w/ their immediate choices. Please be respectful to the original tweeter.
2/ I’m going to talk a lot about being a progressive/left-leaner. This means something diff to diff people. When I use this language, I mean that I am socially far-left. I want aggressive action on racial inequality/injustice, LGBTQ rights, women's rights, etc.
3/ Economically, &, w/in the intersection of economic & social justice, I want aggressive taxation & regulation. I want a stronger social safety net. I am not a socialist (there are many ways to be “left” w/o being a socialist). I want radical action to rectify racial inequality
Read 41 tweets
Oct 3, 2018
1/ I want people who have not been victimized to watch this video and to sit w/ some truths. Specifically, I want you to really absorb what it means that victims blame themselves.
2/ Every person is different. Every survivor is different. But there are also patterns that emerge post-sexual assault. . . . .
3/ We have each and every one of us spent our lives absorbing the messages in the environment around us.

After an assault, these messages form the framework for how blame unfolds in the mind of a survivor.
Read 19 tweets
Sep 30, 2018
There's something happening right now that I am not sure I fully know how to talk about, but I want to honor in any case:

Black women are showing a level of unqualified solidarity w/ Dr. Ford that stands in stark contrast to the varied responses of white women.
And this is occurring despite the fact that white women--including white liberal women--so often utterly fail at supporting, amplifying, & defending black women.
It is also occurring in spite of the fact that part of the reason people believe Dr. Ford is particularly credible is b/c she is white.

When the black women I know point this out, they have blamed the system, not Dr. Ford herself.
Read 6 tweets
Sep 26, 2018
There's been a lot of empirical research on the fact that even when women *have* been assaulted, they hesitate 2 label the action as "sexual assault" or "rape," for a variety of reasons, incl. blaming themselves for what happened, their assault not fitting a "stereotype," etc.
This is one reason that public health orgs & researchers started measuring sexual assault by asking behaviorally specific Q's, such as, "Has a man held penetrated you w/out your consent. . ." rather than labelling Q's such as "Have you been raped?"
Labelling Q's have been found to *underrepresent* the prevalence of sexual assault & have been rejected by public health orgs & researchers (including the CDC).
Read 6 tweets
Sep 24, 2018
1/ People who are framing this moment in history as a “test” of #Metoo are missing a number of fundamental points about the nature of the movement itself, its broader societal impact, &, indeed, how the modern GOP reacts to sexual assault.
2/ #MeToo isn’t being tested. It is showing its strength.

So many of us are not only unified in our outrage, we are talking about sexual assault more openly, & w/ more nuance, than ever before.

We are empowering one another.
3/ This isn’t a test of the #MeToo movement. It is the next stage.

If *anything* is being tested here, it is the GOP & its reaction to both the allegations & our outrage, as well as the party’s nefarious relationship w/ the issue of sexual assault.
Read 18 tweets

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