Afrikaans(redirected from Afrikaans Language)
Also found in: Dictionary, Thesaurus.
Afrikaans(ăf'rəkäns`), member of the West Germanic group of the Germanic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages (see Germanic languagesGermanic languages,
subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages, spoken by about 470 million people in many parts of the world, but chiefly in Europe and the Western Hemisphere.
..... Click the link for more information. ). Although its classification is still disputed, it is generally considered an independent language rather than a dialect or variant of Dutch (see Dutch languageDutch language,
member of the West Germanic group of the Germanic subfamily of the Indo-European family of languages (see Germanic languages). Also called Netherlandish, it is spoken by about 15 million inhabitants of the Netherlands, where it is the national language, and by
..... Click the link for more information. ). Afrikaans is spoken by close to 8 million people in the Republic of South Africa, where it is an official language, and by about 1.5 million people in Namibia, where it is the common language of most of the population. At least half of its native speakers in South Africa are not white. It arose from the Dutch spoken by the Boers, who emigrated from the Netherlands to South Africa in the 17th cent., but in its written form it dates only from 1861. The grammar has been considerably simplified. Its vocabulary is essentially similar to that of Dutch; Afrikaans has absorbed quite a few words from the Khoisan languages, Bantu (such as words designating local flora and fauna), and English.
Boer language; along with English, one of the state languages of the Republic of South Africa. It belongs to the West Germanic language group and is spoken by more than 3.5 million people (1967). Afrikaans is prevalent throughout much of the Republic of South Africa but primarily in Transvaal and the Orange Free State. The language arose in the 17th century through a process of integration and intermixing of various dialects of the Netherlands (mainly Dutch) with closely related languages (German and English), languages of the local native population (Bushmen, Hottentot, Bantu), and the Creole Malayo-Portuguese language of sailors, traders, and slaves. The specific characteristics of Afrikaans took shape toward the end of the 17th century in the Cape Province. A characteristic feature is the absence of territorial dialects. During the 18th and the first half of the 19th centuries, Afrikaans functioned solely as a spoken language. In 1875 the first attempt to fix written norms was undertaken by the Association of True Afrikaners. Writings in Afrikaans did not appear before the 1870’s. Afrikaans did not become the country’s official language with the formation of the Union of South Africa (1910); only in 1925 was it confirmed as a state language.
The phonetic system of Afrikaans is close to the Nether-landic. Its characteristic features are the nasalization of vowels in certain positions and the muting of voiced fricative consonants at the beginning of words. Orthography is based primarily on the phonetic principle. The vocabulary retains a South Dutch base; borrowings from local African languages are insignificant. Afrikaans has an analytic structure and is characterized by weak morphological formation. An intensive process of disintegration of inflection has led to the complete destruction of the system of declension of names and the system of conjugation of verbs (the loss of personal endings). In order to express syntactical relations, the language employs link-words (prepositions and auxiliary verbs, which appear in petrified form) and a method of adjoining, in connection with which word order in a sentence and phrase acquires grammatical meaning.
REFERENCESMironov, S. A. lazyk afrikaans. Moscow, 1969.
Botha, M. C, and J. F. Burger. Maskew Miller se Afrikaanse grammatika, 5th ed. Cape Town, 1923.
Bouman, A. C, and E. C. Pienaar. Afrikaanse spraakkuns. Stellenbosch, 1924.
Kloeke, G.G. Herkomst en groei van het Africaans. Leiden, 1950.
Villiers, M. de. Afrikaanse Klankleer. Cape Town-Amsterdam, 1958.
Bosman, D. B. and J. W. van den Merwe [and others]. Tweetalige woordeboek, Afrikaans-Engels, Engels-Afrikaans. Cape Town, 1962.
S. A. MIRONOV