Critics are furious with Charlize Theron for disparaging her native Afrikaans as a dying tongue.

Critics are furious with Charlize Theron for disparaging her native Afrikaans as a dying tongue.

As a result of her comments mocking her native tongue as a dying language spoken by almost no one, Charlize Theron has come under fire from Afrikaans speakers.

When the Oscar-winning actress stated in an interview that the language she spoke growing up in South Africa was not very helpful, she was criticised as being uninformed and advised to stick to Hollywood.

In her home country, where Afrikaans is one of a dozen official languages, one of the most well-known performers' remarks triggered a social media dispute.

The 47-year-old said on the SmartLess podcast that she only learnt English at school as a second language and that it took her until she immigrated to the country in her late teens before she could speak it effectively.

Only "approximately 44 people" still spoke Afrikaans, she jokingly remarked.

It's clear that the language is vanishing, and it's not very useful, "She spoke.
One organisation that jumped to the defence of the language and demanded an apology from her was the Afrikaans Language Council.

The council stated: "Charlize Theron's ill-informed, casual remarks on Afrikaans strike the language at its core as an icon and role model for many young South Africans and Afrikaans speakers."

Tim Theron, an actor and producer from South Africa, said: "We're incredibly proud of Charlize and everything she has accomplished... Afrikaans is one of our fantastic and beautiful national languages, which we are also quite proud of along with our variety.

It's not a 'dying language,' and not just 44 people speak it. Millions of people speak it, and every day, new songs, poems, and movies are produced."

Others were less kind on Twitter and simply said, "Stick to Hollywood."

One person advised another: "Stick to Hollywood, girl; that's all you know these days."

From the 17th century onward, Europeans and their slaves in Dutch Cape Colony spoke Dutch, from which Afrikaans developed.

The descriptive vocabulary is praised by proud Afrikaans speakers and includes words from Malay, Portuguese, and local languages.

The language is thought to be spoken by more than seven million people, making it the third most common in the nation behind Xhosa and Zulu.

But it still conjures up images of the apartheid system for many other South Africans.

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