by Max Barry

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Languages of Jamilkhuze

Jamilkhuze is well-known for having high levels of multilingualism across all sectors of its society. It is estimated that 99% of Jamilkhuzis above the age of 15 are fluent and literate in at least two languages, with the majority fluent and literate in at least three. A partial understanding of an additional one to four languages is by no means uncommon among adults working in the healthcare, legal, finance, tourism, and/or hospitality sectors. The linguistic situation in Jamilkhuze has been shaped by its status as the world's most populous and diverse "refugee state", as well as a historic legacy of racial apartheid, dependence on international tourism, and a thoroughly pluralistic education system. More fundamentally, multilingualism in Jamilkhuze can be attributed to a shared respect for tradition and heritage, a historically unprecedented degree of demographic and social parity among its racial and ethnic groups, and a streak of progressive cosmopolitanism in its national culture.

OFFICIAL LANGUAGES: The Republic of Jamilkhuze has three official languages- Arabic, French, and English. Signs, broadcasts, and public services designated for the population at large are required to be given in all three languages. Despite their official status and standardization as secondary/tertiary languages, there are a number of distinguishable accents of each language, specific to certain ethnic groups and social classes.

Arabic is the lingua franca of the mixed-race creole elite that came to prominence during the apartheid era and played a crucial role in its dismantling. It is also the dominant language of the neighboring Confederation of Wadiyaah to the southwest. While the language is seldom used in everyday domestic or tourism settings, it has contributed an immense number of loanwords to the other languages spoken in Jamilkhuze and is widely understood by the non-Arab, non-creole majority. The phonology, vocabulary, and grammar of Jamilkhuzi Arabic most closely resembles that of Modern Standard Arabic (and to a lesser extent Hejazi Arabic); however Jamilkhuzis often have a distinct non-native intonation when speaking the language.

French is the working language of the government, primary language of instruction, and the lingua franca that unites the various ethnic groups of Jamilkhuze. The majority of news broadcasts are in French, and French-language media comprises a large section of the Jamilkhuzi entertainment industry. This is due to the perceived neutrality of the French language, as well as its status as a former colonial language in many of the countries the ancestors of Jamilkhuzis hail from. While the phonology of Jamilkhuzi French is most similar to Algerian and Congolese French and the lexicon contains a significant number of loanwords from non-European languages, expats and French-speaking tourists are often surprised to discover what is widely perceived to be a lack of nonstandard accent in Jamilkhuzi French.

English is best known as the language of the Jamilkhuzi tourism industry. Its eminent status is a legacy of the economic, military, and cultural hegemony of the Anglosphere, which includes the largely Caucasian Free Republic of Second Australis to the south. Although not used as prevalently in the domestic setting as French, English is generally better understood than Arabic and is often taught as a semi-optional third language in schools. The phonology, lexicon, and grammar of Jamilkhuzi English have been more heavily influenced by native languages due to its widespread usage but comparative lack of standardization. Jamilkhuzi English largely resembles a blend of Australian, South African, Singaporean, and Emirati English, with slight French and Arabic overtones and a subtle South/East Asian flavor.

NOTE: While English, French, and Arabic are almost universally understood (with 95% of the population functionally literate in French and English), these languages are spoken as first tongues by less than 10% of the population. Native speakers of these languages are often stereotyped as being of sub-Saharan African, Caucasian, and/or mixed ancestry, or are assumed to be expatriates.

The following eight languages have subofficial status due to their preeminence as native languages among significant sectors of the Jamilkhuzi population: Urdu/Hindi, Tagalog, Bengali, Vietnamese, Telugu, Mandarin, Tamil, and Marathi. Despite having fewer speakers, the Indonesian, Japanese, Spanish, Malayalam, Punjabi, Gujarati, Farsi, Turkish, Swahili, Amharic, Somali, Yoruba, Hebrew, Portuguese, and Russian languages also exert considerable influence in Jamilkhuzi culture and society. As with the official languages, these languages differ slightly from their 21st-century equivalents due to natural language change as well as cultural assimilation into Jamilkhuzi society.

The Republic of Jamilkhuze

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