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Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe

versión On-line ISSN 2224-7912
versión impresa ISSN 0041-4751


BOTHA, Willem J. Disempowerment of Afrikaans. Tydskr. geesteswet. [online]. 2020, vol.60, n.4-2, pp.1258-1279. ISSN 2224-7912.

Afrikaans, like any other language, is not merely a medium of communication. Should one hold such an opinion, one tends to consider only the symbolic nature of the specific language. That is exactly the view taken by those who wish to reduce the formal and official status of Afrikaans. It enables them to use metaphorical mappings to link Afrikaans with the stigmatised concept apartheid. The conceptual metaphor Afrikaans is apartheid is scrutinised in order to exemplify language metaphors such as "Afrikaans is the language of apartheid", "Afrikaans is a language of exclusion" and other pejorative labels. To come to a conclusion with regard to the nature of the different language metaphors that are used to the disadvantage of Afrikaans, different meanings of the word Afrikaans are looked into. The view is taken that the central meaning of the word Afrikaans is disregarded in favour of a symbolic meaning to enable various emotive experiences of apartheid to be linked to the concept Afrikaans. Such a metaphorical strategy contributes to the disempower-ment of Afrikaans. When one considers the morality of such actions to disempower Afrikaans, it is obvious that the question of truth comes to the fore. Different dimensions of truth are outlined in order to establish a background knowledge against which morality should be considered if one wishes to understand the actions targeting the formal and official status of Afrikaans. Morality is a very complex concept. To analyse its role in the disempowerment of Afrikaans, we have to view the phenomenon of morality within a specific theoretical framework. It is done against the background of the three broad discoveries made within cognitive linguistics. Lakoff and Johnson (1999:3) formulate these as follows: "The mind is inherently embodied. Thought is mostly unconscious. Abstract concepts are largely metaphorical." According to this view, morality is to be understood as the manifestation of the moral accounting conceptual metaphor. Considering this metaphor, one has to realise that the general metaphor of moral accounting consists of a small number of basic moral schemes, namely "reciprocation", "retribution", "revenge", "restitution", "altruism", "turning the other cheek", "karma" and "fairness"'. The most relevant moral scheme that applies regarding the disempowerment of Afrikaans, is the fairness scheme. But this scheme as such also has its own complexities, entailing amongst others the following models: equality of distribution, equality of opportunity, procedural distribution, rights-based fairness, need-based fairness, scalar distribution, contractual distribution, equal distribution of responsibility, scalar distribution of responsibility and equal distribution of power. Lakoff and Johnson (1999:296/297) rightly remark: "Many of our moral disagreements arise from conflicts between two or more of these conceptions of fairness" ... and "there is typically no overarching neutral conception of fairness that can resolve the conflict of values". The remainder ot this article investigates the way in which the demise of Afrikaans in the formal and official contexts can be attributed to the fact that fairness is mostly determined by interpretations of the concept transformation.

Palabras clave : Afrikaans; symbol; concept; metaphor; emotion; morality; disempowerment; transformation; truth; fairness.

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