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Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe

On-line version ISSN 2224-7912
Print version ISSN 0041-4751


VAN OORT, Ronel  and  CARSTENS, Wannie. Teaching Afrikaans vocabulary and varieties from an inclusive language-historical perspective. Tydskr. geesteswet. [online]. 2014, vol.54, n.4, pp.693-707. ISSN 2224-7912.

This article focuses on the teaching ofthe (borrowed) vocabulary of Afrikaans (in the Intermediate Phase) and the regional varieties of Afrikaans (in the Senior Phase) on the basis of an inclusive historical language perspective The seventeenth-century VOC ("Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie") sea route between the Netherlands and Batavia led to the establishment of the Cape maritime supply station in 1652. This refreshment station became the meeting point for the languages, cultures and religions of three continents (Titus 2007:2). This unique coming together of divergent (mainly Western and Arabic) language groups required a common means of communication and this led to the evolution of Afrikaans. It is a modern language born and developed on the African continent but with clear European (Western), Arabic (Eastern) and African origins. The VOC 's objectives in establishing a supply station did not include the establishment of a colony or by extension, a new language. However, most of the Europeans wanted to settle at the Cape permanently and linguistic contact between them, the indigenous Khoi and the slaves imported from the East formed the basis for the origin of Afrikaans. Ongoing contact and interaction led to the development of specific socio-cultural and -linguistic circumstances that nourished the further evolution of Afrikaans: The European colonisers (the rulers in this situation) had great difficulty in mastering the indigenous Khoi languages. The colonised Khoi (the subordinates in this situation) therefore had no choice but to learn to communicate in Dutch. The settlers initially consisted mainly of men, which led to the forming of relationships between the men and slave and Khoi women. This implies that there was a need to communicate, which resulted in acculturation. The assimilation and integration of the Khoi and the imported slaves into (Western) Cape society played a role with regard to the socio-cultural and -linguistic aspects of the Cape 's multilingual and -cultural society. Afrikaans is therefore the communal creation of Europeans and non-Europeans, of white and black, of rulers and slaves (Giliomee 2004:42). It is in essence Dutch; however, the role played by slaves and the Khoi in its beginnings (the start of colonisation in 1652), must be taken into account and acknowledged (Du Plessis H. 1994:122). The vocabulary and the modern variety of Afrikaans are proof of its evolution through language contact since the initial contact between the various language groups at the Cape during the seventeenth century. The meeting of and interaction between three groups (Western Europeans, imported slaves from the East and indigenous Khoi) allowed a unique language-contact situation to develop. This situation has been underestimated in the past because of the socio-political (apartheid) circumstances in South Africa. It suited the socio-political philosophy of the previous apartheid government to focus on the European origins of Afrikaans, although Afrikaans is a language in which the sounds of Dutch, Malay, Creole-Portuguese, as well as Indian, Arabic, European and African languages can be heard. It became a new language for a new nation formed out of the melting pot of racial groupings in South Africa.

Keywords : Afrikaans; lexicon; variety; exclusive; inclusive; seventeenth-century Cape; ongoing contact and interaction; evolution of Afrikaans; socio-cultural and -linguistic circumstances; recognition; teaching.

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