How Do You Spell ‘Africa’?

How Do You Spell Africa

You might find the question: how do you spell ‘Africa’? odd, but did you know that Africa isn’t always spelled that way? Africa is the second largest continent, with a surface area that covers roughly one-fifth of the earth. The continent has natural borders; on the west lies the Atlantic Ocean, the Mediterranean Sea to the north, both the Red sea and the Indian Ocean to the east, and finally, the mixed waters of both the Atlantic and Indian oceans to the south.

The origin of the word “Africa” has been the subject of debate for many years as historians fail to agree on how or who named the continent. Consequently, roughly seven theories have been propounded to explain the name’s origin:

Roman theory

According to some, the name originates from the Greeks, who used the name to refer to Libya. Apparently, the word “Libya” was a Latinization of the name of the Berber tribe Aourigha (thought it be pronounced “Aafrika”).

Africa people jumping dance

Phoenician theory

There is a belief that the name stems from two Phoenician terms that refer to corn or fruit (pharika), which translates to “land of corn or fruit.”

Others believe the name “Africa” comes from a Phoenician root, faraqa, which means separation or diaspora. Apparently, some African languages, such as Bambara, have a similar root.

Latin theory

This theory is that the name is from the Latin adjective aprica to mean sunny, or the Greek aprikē, which loosely translates to ‘free from cold.’

sanduene in africa

Sanskrit theory

The name might also originate from Sanskrit and Hindi, where the root Apara or Africa signifies what comes after– to the west- in geographical terms. This points to Africa being a continent to the west of Asia.

Yemen theory

This theory asserts that the name Africa is from the Yemenite chief, Africus, who invaded Northern Africa in the second millennium B.C.E and was the founder of a town called Afrikyah.

elephant herd in africa

Biblical theory

The biblical theory asserts that Africa comes from Afer, the grandson of Abraham and a companion of Hercules. It is believed that his descendants invaded Libya in the 1st century ACE.

As seen from the different theories above, there is a lot of contention surrounding the name Africa. This is to the extent that the famed African author Wole Soyinka once suggested that the name be dropped. According to Soyinka, this would give Africa a chance for self-definition- he suggested that a name rooted in an indigenous African language would be better suited for the continent.

Regardless of which theory you subscribe to, the name Africa is upheld all the world over. However, despite this fact, people around the world say the continent’s name differently.

a resident of africa waves the flag

How do you spell ‘Africa’?

Since we’ve briefly explored the history of the name, the question still remains: how do you spell Africa? As expected, the spelling differs from one language to another. Let’s explore the answer below:

Afrika; Africa in Albanian, Bosnian, Croatian, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Frisian, German, Hungarian, Lithuanian, Luxembourgish, Maltese, Norwegian, Slovak, Slovenian, and Swedish.

Àfrica: Africa in Catalan.

Afrikka: Africa in Finnish.

Afrique: Africa in French.

África: Africa in Galician, Portuguese, and Spanish.

Āfrika: Africa in Latvian.

Африка: Africa in Macedonian, Russian, Serbian, Tatar, and Ukrainian.

Afyka: Africa in Polish.

Affrica: Africa in Welsh.

Αφρική: Africa in Greek.

In conclusion, there remains much contention about the early history and name of the continent commonly known as Africa. Whether you refer to her as Arikka, África, Африка, or Afryka, she remains one of the most beautiful and diverse lands on the continent and is definitely worth a visit.

And a little fun to it.


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