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Ministry of Education from Republic of Moldova Cahul State University Bogdan Petriceicu Hasdeu Faculty of Philology and History

English Philology Department

Essay: Afrikaans language

Written by: Balan Alina, FEF-0901 Scientific adviser: Fuciji Mariana

Cahul, 2011

Introduction Chapter 1. General overview of the Afrikaans language 1.1. 1.2. Origins and historical background People speaking Afrikaans language today

Chapter 2. Language peculiarities of Afrikaans 2.1. Phonetical features 2.2. Morphological/grammatical features 2.3. Lexical/vocabulary features Conclusions Bibliography


The Germanic languages is a sub-branch of the Indo-European (IE) language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is Proto-Germanic (also known as Common Germanic). The most widely spoken Germanic languages are English and German, with approximately 309400 million and over 100 millionnative speakers respectively. The group includes other major languages, such as Dutch with 23 million and Afrikaans with over 6 million native speakers; and the North Germanic languages including Norwegian, Danish, Swedish, Icelandic, and Faroese with a combined total of about 20 million speakers. Germanic languages are enough actual today, known from the oldest ages and remaining till nowadays an important branch of Indo-European family, from which descended many different related languages. These are known and spoken all over the world, connecting people from different cultures, religions, nations and languages. Afrikaans language is one of the Germanic language group, being spread in many countries today and spoken by a great number of people, especially by colored ones. That is why, it was decided to be made some researches in order to find out some more information about this language. The main goal of my essay, concerning Afrikaans language, was to reveal the historical context in which it developed as a separate language and the origins of language pecularities of Afrikaans. So, doing many investigations in different linguistical sources, it was found the answers step by step to many of the initial questions, enlarging the general knowledge in Linguistics, Philology and Germanistics. The found information was delivered into two main chapters accordind to general ideas. The first chapter refers to the general overview of the Afrikaans language, pointing out its origins, historical background, the total number of Afrikaans speakers and the countries. The second chapter consists of three other subchapter, which reflect the language pecularities of Afrikaans according to the phonetical, morphological and lexical linguistic levels. In order to achieve this purpose, the methods of investigating that were used to reach this study were: 1. collecting data; 2. description; 3. comparison; 4. exemplification; 5. analysis; 6. synthesis.

CHAPTER 1. General Overview of the Afrikaans Language 1.1. Origins and Historical Background
Languages can tell the story of a country, especially when its history is as varied as in South Africa. One of the countrys dominant but most controversial languages is Afrikaans, a variant of the Dutch language. It has grown from being a foreign tongue imposed on the local people to becoming an integral part of the speech and culture of the country, spreading far beyond its original culture and boundaries [1]. The Afrikaans language originated mainly from Dutch and developed in South Africa. The Afrikaans language was also known as the Kitchen Language (Kombuistaal) nearly sixty years ago. It is commonly said that Dutch and Afrikaans are mutually intelligible; however, this is often not true as Afrikaans tends to have inherited a lot of its vocabulary and language characteristics from other languages such as Portuguese, Malay, Bantu languages and Khoisan languages. A large number of unique slang words are present in Afrikaans as well. Despite this, it is still possible for a Dutch person to reasonably understand an Afrikaans person. It was considered a Dutch dialect in South Africa up until the late 19th century when it became recognised as a distinct language. A relative majority of the first settlers whose descendants today are the Afrikaners were from the United Provinces (now Netherlands), though there were also many from Germany, a considerable number from France, and some from Norway, Portugal, Scotland, and various other countries [2]. The Dutch, who arrived in South Africa in 1652, established a colony in Cape Town. The Dutch dialect incorporated terms and phrases handed down from sailors who lived in the Cape coast. These phrases, of both english and portuguese origin, soon found their way into the dutch dialect. In addition, the language took on a more oriental flavour with the arrival of a slaves in the Cape, primarily of Malay extraction, but also from other eastern regions and nearby African islands including Madagascar. Later, it became evident that Afrikaans was completely different to its Dutch parent. The Hottentots, original Koi inhabitants as well as the Xhosa and the Zulu people all contributed in their fashion to the language as it spoken today. From this, three main dialects emerged, Cape Afrikaans (Northern Cape), Orange River Afrikaans (Western Cape) and Eastern Border Afrikaans (Eastern Cape). The Cape dialect is mostly enfused with the language spoken by the Malay slaves who worked in the Cape and spoke a form of broken Portuguese, the Orange River dialect developed with the influence of Koi languages and dialects developed in the Namakwaland and Griqualand West regions and the Eastern Border Afrikaans evolved from the settlers who moved East towards Natal from the Cape. As the language evolved, the white Afrikaans speakers distanced themselves from the predominantly english-speaking community. Believing themselves to be the true white owners of the land and rejecting any claims of the indigenous people, the Afrikaaners pitted themselves against the English, culminating in the Anglo-Boer War of 1899-1902. The Afrikaaners lost this war but embarked upon a 'Kultuur' campaign to promote the language [3]. African creole people in the early 18th century documented on the cases of Hendrik Bibault and patriarch Oude Ram were the first to call themselves Afrikaner (Africans). This is where Afrikaans got its name from. Only much later in the second half of the 19th century did the Boers adopt this attribution, too. The Khoi and mixed-race groups became collectively referred to as Coloureds [2].

Genealogically, Afrikaans can be represented in this way:

Indo-European > Germanic > Western > Low German > Low Franconian > Dutch > Afrikaans .

According to Reinhard F. Hahn, Afrikaans began in the 17th century as a language variety then referred to as Cape Dutch. It developed essentially from Dutch, Zealandic and other Low Franconian varieties with influences from Low Saxon, Malay, Khoi-San and Bantu languages, French, English and many others, creating a language that is uniquely suited for life in Southern Africa [4]. The linguist Paul Roberge suggests that the earliest 'truly Afrikaans' texts are doggerel verse from 1795 and a dialogue transcribed by a Dutch traveller in 1825. Printed material among the Afrikaners at first used only standard European Dutch. By the mid-19th century, more and more were appearing in Afrikaans, which was very much still regarded as a set of regional dialects. In 1861, L.H. Meurant published his Zamenspraak tusschen Klaas Waarzegger en Jan Twyfelaar ("Conversation between Claus Truthsayer and John Doubter"), which is considered by some to be the first authoritative Afrikaans text. Abu Bakr Effendi also compiled his Arabic Afrikaans Islamic instruction book between 1862 and 1869, although this was only published and printed in 1877. The first Afrikaans grammars and dictionaries were published in 1875 by the Genootskap vir Regte Afrikaners ('Society for Real Afrikaners') in Cape Town. The main Afrikaans dictionary is the Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal (WAT) (Dictionary of the Afrikaans Language), which is as yet incomplete owing to the scale of the project, but the one-volume dictionary in household use is the Verklarende Handwoordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal (HAT). The official orthography of Afrikaans is the Afrikaanse Woordelys en Spelrels, compiled by Die Taalkommissie. A major landmark in the development of Afrikaans was the full translation of the Bible into the language. Prior to this most Cape Dutch-Afrikaans speakers had to rely on the Dutch Statenbijbel. The aforementioned Statenvertaling had its origins with the Synod of Dordrecht of 1618 and was thus in an archaic form of Dutch. This rendered understanding difficult at best to Dutch and Cape Dutch speakers, moreover increasingly unintelligible to Afrikaans speakers. C. P. Hoogehout, Arnoldus Pannevis, and Stephanus Jacobus du Toit were the first Afrikaans Bible translators. Important landmarks in the translation of the Scriptures were in 1878 with C. P. Hoogehout's translation of the Evangelie volgens Markus (Gospel of Mark, lit. Gospel according to Mark), however this translation was never published. The manuscript is to be found in the South African National Library, Cape Town. The first official Bible translation of the entire Bible into Afrikaans was in 1933 by J. D. du Toit, E. E. van Rooyen, J. D. Kestell, H. C. M. Fourie, and BB Keet. This monumental work established Afrikaans as 'n suiwer en oordentlike taal, that is "a pure and proper language" for religious purposes, especially amongst the deeply Calvinist Afrikaans religious community that had hitherto been somewhat sceptical of a Bible translation out of the original Dutch language to which they were accustomed [2]. During the early years of the 20th century there was a blossoming of academic interest in Afrikaans. In 1925 Afrikaans was recognised by the government as a real language, instead of a slang version of Dutch. Afrikaans has changed little since then [5].

1.2. People Speaking Afrikaans Language Today

Although mainly spoken in South Africa and Namibia, smaller Afrikaans-speaking populations live in Australia, Botswana, Canada, Lesotho, Malawi, New Zealand, Swaziland, the United States, Zambia and Zimbabwe. Most, if not all, Afrikaans speaking people living outside of Africa are emigrants who have left South Africa. Because of emigration and migrant labour, there are possibly over 100,000 Afrikaans speakers in the United Kingdom. With about 7 million native speakers in South Africa, or 13.3 percent of the population, it is the third most spoken mother tongue in the country. It has the widest geographical and racial distribution of all the official languages of South Africa, and is widely spoken and understood as a second or third language. It is the majority language of the western half of South Africathe provinces of the Northern Cape and Western Capeand the primary language of the coloured and white communities. In neighbouring Namibia, Afrikaans is spoken in 11 percent of households, mainly concentrated in the capital Windhoek and the southern regions of Hardap and Karas. Widely spoken as a second language, it is a lingua franca of Namibia. Afrikaans is the first language of over 80% of Coloured South Africans (3.5 million people) and approximately 60% of White South Africans (2.7 million). Around 200,000 black South Africans speak it as their first language.[20] Large numbers of Bantu-speaking and Englishspeaking South Africans also speak it as their second language [2].

CHAPTER 2. Language Peculiarities of Afrikaans 2.1. Phonetical Features

There are many parallels to the Dutch orthography conventions and those used for Afrikaans. There are 26 letters.
Afrikaans alphabet



























Afrikaans pronunciation [5]

In Afrikaans, many consonants are dropped from the earlier Dutch spelling. For example, slechts ('only') in Dutch becomes slegs in Afrikaans. Part of this is because the spelling of Afrikaans words is considerably more phonemic than that of Dutch. For example, Afrikaans and some Dutch dialects make no distinction between /s/ and /z/, having merged the latter into the former; while the word for "south" is written zuid in Dutch, it is spelled suid in Afrikaans to represent this merger. Similarly, the Dutch digraph is written as y, except where it replaces the Dutch suffix lijk, as in waarschijnlijk > waarskynlik. Another difference is the indefinite article, 'n in Afrikaans and een in Dutch. 'A book' is 'n boek in Afrikaans, whereas it is either een boek or 'n boek in Dutch. This 'n is usually pronounced as just a weak vowel, [ ]. The diminutive suffix in Afrikaans is -tjie, whereas in Dutch it is -tje, hence a "bit" is bietjie in Afrikaans and beetje in Dutch. The letters c, q, x, and z occur almost exclusively in borrowings from French, English, Greek and Latin. This is usually because words that had c and ch in the original Dutch are

spelled with k and g, respectively, in Afrikaans. Similarly original qu and x are spelt kw and ks respectively. For example ekwatoriaal instead of equatoriaal, and ekskuus instead of excuus. The vowels with diacritics in non-loanword Afrikaans are: , , , , , , , , , , , , . Diacritics are ignored when alphabetising, though they are still important, even when typing the diacritic forms may be difficult [2]. Grapheme
a aa aai ai b c ch d dj e ee eeu ei eu f g gh h i ie j k l m n ng o oe oei oi oo ooi ou p q

/ / / / / i/ /aj/ /b/ /s/, /k/

Afrikaans letters and pronunciation Examples

appel ('apple') aap ('ape') draai ('turn') baie ('many', 'much' or 'very') boom ('tree') (found mainly in borrowed words; the former pronunciation occurs before 'e', 'i', or 'y'; featured in the plural form -ici, as in the plural of medikus (medic), medici)

/ /, /x/, chirurg ('surgeon'; / /, typically 'sj' is used instead), chemie ('chemistry'; /x/), chitien /k/ ('chitin'; /k/). Found only in loanwords and proper names /d/ dae ('days') , dag ('day') /d / djati ('teak') (used to transcribe foreign words) / /, se (indicates possessive, for example 'Jan se boom', meaning 'John's tree') /i e/, / / / / s ('say' or 'says') /i/ o ('eyes') /e / weet ('know' or 'knows') , eet ('eat') , een ('one') /iu/ sneeu ('snow') , eeu , ('century') / i/ Mei ('May") /e/ seun ('son' or 'lad') /f/ fiets ('bicycle') /x/ goed ('good') , geel ('yellow') / / gholf ('golf'). Used for / / when it is not an allophone of /x/; found only in borrowed words / / hael ('hail'), hond ('dog') /i/ kind ('child') ink ('ink') /i/ iets ('something') /j/ jonk ('young') /k/ kat ('cat') , kan ('kan') /l/ lag ('laugh') /m/ man ('man') /n/ nael ('nail') / / sing ('sing') / / op ('on' or 'up') / / mre ('tomorrow') /u/ boek ('book') , koel ('cool') /ui/ koei ('cow') /oj/ mooi ('pretty' or 'beautiful') - Sometimes spelled 'oy' in loanwords and surnames /o / oor ('ear' or 'over') / i/ nooi (saying for little girl) / u/ oupa ('grand(pa/father) , koud ('cold') /p/ pot ('pot') , pers ('purple') (found only in foreign words with original spelling maintained; typically k is used /k/ instead)

r s sj t tj u ui uu v w x y z

/r/ /s/ / / /t/ /t /, /k/ / / / / / j/ /y/ /f/ /v/ /ks/ / i/ /z/

rooi ('red') ses ('six') , stem ('voice' or 'vote') sjaal ('shawl') tafel ('table') tjank ('whine like a dog' or 'to cry incessantly'). (The former pronunciation occurs at the beginning of a word and the latter in -tjie) kus ('coast') bre ('bridges') uit ('out') uur ('hour') vis ('fish'), vir ('for') water ('water') xifoed ('xiphoid') byt ('bite') Zoeloe ('Zulu'). Found only in onomatopoeia and loanwords [2].

2.2. Morphological/Grammatical Features

In Afrikaans, agreement in terms of number is not phonologically 9ealized on verbs. The verb has the same form whether the subject and object are singular or plural. Here we can also see that nouns change their form when it becomes a plural E.g.: Die kind vra vrae the child ask questions Die kinders vra vrae the children ask questions. In Afrikaans, neither verbs nor nouns are inflected for person. The verb remains in the same form, regardless of the person of the pronoun. E.g.: Ek /Jy /Hy lees die tydskrif I /you /he read the magazine. Agreement in terms of gender is not indicated in Afrikaans. In other words, no distinction is made between semantic gender and grammatical gender. There are nouns having gender: man (man) vrou (woman), leeu (lion) leeuwyfie (lioness), kelner (waiter) kelnerin (waitress), etc. [6]. In Afrikaans grammar, there is no distinction between the infinitive and present forms of verbs, with the exception of the verbs to be and to have: infinitive form present indicative form Dutch English German wees is zijn (imperative: wees) be sein h het hebben have haben

In addition, verbs do not conjugate differently depending on the subject. For example, Afrikaans Dutch English German ek is ik ben I am ich bin jy/u is jij/u bent you are (sing.) du bist (informal sing.) hy/sy/dit is hij/zij/het is he/she/it is er/sie/es ist ons is wij zijn we are wir sind

julle is hulle is

jullie zijn zij zijn

you are (plur.) ihr seid (informal pl.) they are Sie (formal sing. & pl.)/sie sind

The preterite looks exactly like the present but is indicated by adverbs like toe, the exception being to be. Afrikaans Dutch English German ek was ik was I was ich war The perfect is sometimes preferred over the preterite in literature where the preterite would be used in Dutch or English, for example, in the case of the verb to drink: Afrikaans Dutch English German ek het gedrink. ik dronk. I drank. ich trank.

In other respects, the perfect in Afrikaans follows Dutch and English. Afrikaans Dutch English German ek het gedrink ik heb gedronken. I have drunk. ich habe getrunken. [2].

2.3. Lexical Features

Speaking about Afrikaans vocabulary, there are many parallels to the Dutch orthography conventions. Because Afrikaans is a descendent of Dutch, it consists of words having many similar lexical features. Besides vocabulary, the most striking difference from Dutch is its much more regular grammar, which is likely the result of mutual interference with a Creole language based on the Dutch language spoken by the relatively large number of nonDutch speakers (Khoisan, German, French, Malay, and speakers of different African languages) during the formation period of the language in the second half of the 17th century. In 1710, slaves outnumbered free settlers. Although much of the vocabulary of Afrikaans reflects its origins in 17th century Dutch, it also contains words loaned from Indonesian languages, Malay, Portuguese, French, Khoi and San dialects, English, Xhosa and many other languages. Consequently, many words in Afrikaans are very different from Dutch, as demonstrated by the names of different fruits: [7]
orange lemon banana


sinaasappel lemoen citroen banaan suurlemoen piesang

Afrikaans has drawn on the lexical resources of a wide variety of languages with which it has been in contact during the course of its history. Here are some examples of the range and nature of this borrowings: y From Khoekhoe: animal names suh as geitije (lizard), kwagga (zebra), gogga (insect); plant names like dagga (cannabis); place names such as Karoo and Knysna; other words like kierie (walking-stick), abba (carry), kamma (believe). y From Malay: baie (very much), baadjie (jacket), backlei (fight), piesang (banana), rottang (cane); y From languages spoken on the Indian subcontinent: katel (bed); y From Creole Portuguese: mielie (corn), kraal (pen), trunk (jail); y From Bantu languages spoken in South Africa: malie (money), aikona (no), hokaai (stop), babelas (hangover). [8]

Afrikaans is a West Germanic language, spoken natively in South Africa and Namibia. It is a daughter language of Dutch, originating in its 17th century dialects, collectively referred to as Cape Dutch. Although Afrikaans borrowed from languages such as Malay, Portuguese, French, the Bantu languages or the Khoisan languages, an estimated 90 to 95 percent of Afrikaans vocabulary is ultimately of Dutch origin. Therefore, differences with Dutch often lie in a more regular morphology, grammar, and spelling of Afrikaans. There is a large degree of mutual intelligibility between the two languagesespecially in written formalthough it is easier for Dutch-speakers to understand Afrikaans than the other way around. There are many simmilar features between Afrikaans and its related dialects and languages, concerning phonetical, morphological and lexical levels. But, certainly, from the linguistical point of view, Afrikaans has its own peculiarities, like every other separated languages. It is an enough actual language, being spoken in many countries and regions by about 7 million native speakers and by 15 23 million people as a total number of speakers. For years, the language was the official tongue of South Africa, dominating local African tongues as the language of power. The end of white minority rule in the country greatly diminished the status of Afrikaans, but the language is still widely spoken in South Africa and around the world, used

even by leaders like Nelson Mandela. Throughout the world, approximately six million people, mainly in South Africa, use Afrikaans as their native language.

1. -afrikaans-language-of-south-africaa145498 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. Southwood, Frenette, Specific language impairment in Afrikaans, Netherlands, 2007, p.37-40 7. tml

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