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Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe

versão On-line ISSN 2224-7912
versão impressa ISSN 0041-4751


ODENDAAL, Gerda. The role of Stellenbosch University's Department of Afrikaans and Dutch in the development of Afrikaans lexicography: The Dutch-Afrikaans battle during the formative years. Tydskr. geesteswet. [online]. 2016, vol.56, n.1, pp.257-276. ISSN 2224-7912.

In many respects Stellenbosch University can be regarded as the cradle of Afrikaans lexicography. It is home to one of the most comprehensive and lengthy lexicographic projects in Afrikaans, the Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal ("Dictionary of the Afrikaans Language"). Being one of the first university departments in South Africa to appoint a Chair for Afrikaans in 1920, the Department of Afrikaans and Dutch especially played an important role in developing the Afrikaans lexicography. However, not everyone in die Department of Afrikaans and Dutch was convinced from the outset that Afrikaans could or even should make its mark in the field of lexicography. It was, in fact, a lecturer of Dutch who first alluded to the fact that Afrikaans is distinctfrom Dutch through his lexicographic work on Afrikaans. This uncertainty about Afrikaans ' ability to gain lexicographic independence gave rise to great contention between Afrikaans and Dutch during the early years of Afrikaans lexicography, especially in Stellenbosch University's Department of Afrikaans and Dutch. It resulted, amongst other things, in lexicographers often relying heavily on Dutch in the lexicographical embodiment of Afrikaans. This article investigates the role of Stellenbosch University's Department of Afrikaans and Dutch in the development of Afrikaans lexicography amidst an intense Dutch-Afrikaans battle during the formative years of Afrikaans lexicography. Firstly, the paper shows why the dictionary Proeve van een Kaapsch-Hollandsch Idioticon met Toelichtingen en Opmerkingen betreffende Land, Volk en Taal by the Dutch lecturer at Stellenbosch, Nicolaas Mansvelt, could be regarded as the genesis of Afrikaans lexicography. It is shown that, by studying Afrikaans as a language independent from Dutch, Mansvelt broke away from the tradition of his time which often viewed Afrikaans as a depraved form of Dutch, thereby making an important contribution to the development of Afrikaans lexicography. This is followed by an overview ofthe initial battle in the Afrikaans speech community between proponents of Dutch and Afrikaans that took place in the period during which Stellenbosch University distinguished itself as an Afrikaans university. On the one hand there was a pro-Dutch movement, led by Stellenbosch lecturer W.J. Viljoen, which sought to make Dutch the future language of South Africa by introducing a simplified form of Dutch, the Vereenvoudigde Nederlandse Spelling ("Simplified Dutch Spelling"), through the publication of various dictionaries. On the other hand the pro-Afrikaans movement, consisting mostly of students under the leadership of the first lecturer of Afrikaans at Stellenbosch, J.J. Smith, campaigned for Afrikaans to be adopted as medium of instruction at Stellenbosch University. The two opposing parties were eventually united in the formation ofthe Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns ("South African Academy for Science and Arts") which endeavoured to develop both Dutch and Afrikaans in South Africa. Although the initial idea with the formation of the Academy was to create a truce between the proponents of Dutch and Afrikaans, this battle continued with the compilation of the special-purpose dictionary, the Afrikaanse woordelys en spelreëls ("Afrikaans word list and spelling rules") by the Academy's Taalkommissie ("Language Commission"), on which several lecturers from Stellenbosch University's Department of Afrikaans and Dutch served over the years. As a special-purpose dictionary the Afrikaanse woordelys en spelreëls promoted the standard spelling of Afrikaans which would have an influence on several bilingual and descriptive dictionaries in later years. The focus in the next part of the article thus falls on the continued Dutch-Afrikaans battle as it played itself out in the earlier editions of the Afrikaanse woordelys en spelreëls, this time with Smith campaigning for more Dutch forms, and the resulting influence of Dutch on the development of Afrikaans orthography, especially as it relates to the spelling of loanwords. Finally it is shown how A frikaans orthography gained independence as it was gradually freed from Dutch influence in subsequent editions of the Afrikaanse woordelys en spelreëls. In closing it is, however, suggested that, although great strides have been made in the development of an independent Afrikaans orthography, the Dutch-Afrikaans battle has had a lasting influence on Afrikaans lexicography through this special-purpose dictionary.

Palavras-chave : Department of Afrikaans and Dutch; Stellenbosch University; Afrikaans; Dutch; lexicography; language battle; Mansvelt; Idioticon; W.J. Viljoen; Simplified Dutch Spelling"; J.J. Smith; Afrikaans Language Association"; Afrikaans word list and spelling rules"; Language Commission"; Dictionary of the Afrikaans Language".

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