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Afrikaans writing?

Posted: 2014-07-08, 15:12
by Woods
Are there any chances of the South Africans bringing back the official Dutch spelling, or people wishing so?

My own humble opinion: I don't speak Dutch but I'm used to seeing it around, and it's nice to read and to look at. When I look at Afrikaans I'm like "what the fuck!" Is this alternative writing form of use to anyone, in a world where so many people are looking to understand each other and learn their languages? Isn't it only unnecessary work and confusion? Even if it's made to "suit" the "separate language" better, look at French or Danish - both languages' writing has nothing to do with the pronunciation and they're both still doing fine!

Re: Afrikaans writing?

Posted: 2014-07-09, 0:12
by Weerwolf
No need to bring it back as it was never taken away:

De spelling van het Afrikaans berust op de zgn. vereenvoudigde Nederlandse spelling (Kollewijn-spelling). Ze is fonetischer dan de Nederlandse, meer gericht op de uitspraak.

Source: http://neon.niederlandistik.fu-berlin.d ... afrikaans/

= The orthography of Afrikaans is based on the Simplified Dutch Spelling (also know as the Kollewijn-spelling). It is more phonetic than the Dutch one and more focused on the pronunciation.

Neither Afrikaans nor Dutch is my mother tongue, but I've been studying Dutch at the university for 3 years now, and I've never had difficulties reading Afrikaans. It reads itself like Dutch to me, the grammar is way different, though.

Re: Afrikaans writing?

Posted: 2014-07-10, 21:57
by Woods
It's just so weird to have many spellings of the same thing! I don't like it, I think languages that are almost the same should be written, as far as possible, the same.

Like Danish and Norwegian - really I think the Norwegian spelling is annoying (even though the language has some major advantages over its counterpart).

Maybe it becomes less terrible and even nice to have two alternative spellings when one gets more advanced... But what if one never does - the language that is basically the same remains a foreign language to them?

Re: Afrikaans writing?

Posted: 2014-07-11, 14:28
by Bittereinder
Truth be told, how ever people may want to write Afrikaans and Dutch off as the same language, they aren't. As a native Afrikaans speaker I can assure you that Afrikaans is not just a dialect, it is culturally bonded with its speakers through much hardship. Afrikaans is a "volkstaal"(language of the people). It consists of idiomatic expressions and grammar evolved out of a way of life and thinking.

Afrikaans speakers find it offensive to be called "Dutch" as a lot of us don't even remotely have Dutch heritage. I for instance, am of German descent and French descent.

Languages aren't dead as some people portray them. They're very dynamic. It only took 30 years for Afrikaans to form after the original settlement of Dutch and German people from 1652 onward. Through diaspora dialects also evolved out of Afrikaans after the onset of the Great Trek in 1836. The other issue is that Afrikaans evolved out of Medieval Dutch, not Standard Dutch. This means that Afrikaans and Modern Dutch are rather sister languages. The one is not an offspring of the other.

It's therefore near impossible that Afrikaans would ever accept or embrace Dutch spelling or grammar as we are different peoples having different cultures - socially evolving in different manners.

EDIT: Perhaps just to supply the contrast between Dutch and Afrikaans in linguistic terms is to bring up the matter of inflection. Afrikaans is much like English in the sense that it has replaced a lot of its morphological inflection from the proto-Germanic language with pragmatism. This has evolved Afrikaans into an analytic language(just like English) whereas German and Dutch are thwarted towards a synthetic language model. In more pertinent terms, both Afrikaans and English are considered fusional languages. One of the biggest traits of a fusional language is it loses inflection over time...and if you look at English and Afrikaans you can clearly see that both lost inflection whilst simultaneously developing into analytic languages.

Re: Afrikaans writing?

Posted: 2014-07-11, 23:51
by Weerwolf
Van Houwelingen en Carstens (1998:2)
Nieteenstaande bepaalde fokusverskille met betrekking tot die “wording en ontwikkeling van Afrikaans” (Scholtz, 1980), is daar weinig dispuut oor die feit dat Afrikaans ‘n Nederlandse basis(1) het. Afrikaans (in sy wydste omvang) en Nederlands is egter nie vandag meer variëteite van dieselfde taal nie; hulle het inderdaad twee afsonderlike tale geword(2).

1) Dutch basis is not Standard Dutch of today, but dialects stam mainly from Holland en Zeeland; and nearly from all dialects of the 17th century. Afrikaans shares a great deal of similarity in vocabulary with today’s Standard Dutch (but be aware of false friends which cause confusion or smile), but the grammar is way different. Bittereinder summed it up pefectly.

2) Indeed, Afrikaans and Dutch are two different languages. It is useless to debate whether it’s a ’sustertaal’ or a ’dogtertaal’. It is clearly a ’sustertaal’. Within the family of Germanic languages you have for example Afrikaans, Dutch, German - all these languages are on a even footing. None of these is an offspring of an other.

Re: Afrikaans writing?

Posted: 2014-07-12, 4:24
by linguoboy
Woods wrote:It's just so weird to have many spellings of the same thing! I don't like it, I think languages that are almost the same should be written, as far as possible, the same.

Hear, hear! So tell me: when are you going to start writing Bulgarian according to Macedonian orthographic norms?

Re: Afrikaans writing?

Posted: 2014-07-14, 21:22
by Shiba
Hahaha! Woods, you've touched on a very sore spot there. ;)
Anyway, Weerwolf and Bittereinder have basically covered everything I would have said, but I will add that the direction of Afrikaans spelling is going rather in the opposite direction. The trend these days is to simplify spelling even more (e.g. "di" instead of "die"), at least in SMS-language. Whether these changes will spill over into "real-life" Afrikaans is more than I can say, however. Honestly, I'm not in favour of a more simplified spelling - I like Afrikaans the way it is - but I have heard the opinion that, back in the day when we started spelling Afrikaans in its own way, the changes were not extreme enough; Afrikaans is not phonetic enough; the ideal of "ons skryf soos ons praat" (we write as we speak) is not yet reached. I agree with this, actually, because they reached a compromise between phonetic and etymological spelling, instead of going phonetic all the way. But despite that I don't think we should change our spelling.
So, more on that as the story develops, I guess.