Innovations and Reproductions in Cultures and Societies
(IRICS) Vienna, 9 - 11 december 2005

<< Reproduktionen und Innovationen in Sprache und Kommunikation verschiedener Sprachkulturen
<< Reproduction and Innovation in Language and Communication in different Language Cultures

Changes in Africaans after the end of Apartheid

Gerhard Stell (Free University, Germaanse Talen, Brussels, Belgium)



Formerly intimately connected to white ‘Afrikanerdom’ and anti-English purism, the identity of Afrikaans has been going through a process of redefinition. Its recognized lexicon and grammatical rules have been virtually relaxed such as to accommodate a more inclusive language reality. This meant a growing acknowledgement of English influence, as well as theoretical tolerance for characteristics of non-white Afrikaans speech varieties. The aim of making Afrikaans more local, or more ‘African’, is in itself not new, as from the earliest stage numerous attempts have been made at severing the traditional Dutch/ European link of the language through the valorization of local specificity. Typical of the history of Afrikaans as a standard language, the cultivation of local ‘specificity’ has nonetheless been having a hard time trying to exclude forms or phenomenons deemed ‘impure’ by virtue of being either too ‘English’ or too ‘Black’. In this contribution, special emphasis will be placed on the most recent attempts at enlarging the representativity of Afrikaans. Our perspective on the matter will mainly be that provided by the contents of prescriptive literature (dictionaries, grammar books, schoolbooks). Developments in that realm will be set against the background of the theoretical debate around linguistic desegregation and liberalization in South Africa.

Innovationen und Reproduktionen in Kulturen und Gesellschaften (IRICS) Wien, 9. bis 11. Dezember 2005

WEBDESIGN: Peter R. Horn 2005-10-12