Date of completion 12 May 2000

Respondent's details
Name:  Sarah Johanna Catharine


Male []
Female X


Institution belonged to: National Language Service Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology
Address: Private Bag X195, Pretoria, 0001, South Africa
Telephone: 27 12 337 8366
Fax: 27 12 324 2119

Details of language

Glotonym or name of language on which you are providing data:
Autoglotonym (name given to the language by native speakers): Afrikaans
Heteroglotonym (name given by the non-native community to the language):    Afrikaans

What language group does the language belong to?

Family:  Indo-European
Group:  Germanic
Subgroup:  West Germanic

What type of language is it?

Creole X
Pidgin unmarked area image

"From 1652 up to 1795 and then from 1803 till 1806 the dominant language in the Cape was Dutch -–the former period under the rule of the Verenigde Nederlandse Oos-Indiese Kompanjie (United Dutch East Indian Company) and the latter under the Batavian Republic. In these periods the language of the administration, courts of law, church and education was Dutch. The non-standard variety of Dutch has to a large extent been continued in South Africa, with other varieties developing because members of the Khoisan group and the slaves, who did not know the Dutch language, wanted to master Dutch and Afrikaans. Cape Afrikaans thus exhibits influences of the languages of the slave community, whilst Khoi influence is strongly noticeable in Orange River Afrikaans, a variety used by people who settled in the vicinity of the Orange River at the end of the 18th century. The rural community which settled on the eastern border of the Cape at the turn of the 18th century, used Eastern Cape Afrikaans, a non-standard Dutch most probably influenced by the Khoi-Khoi. (Van Rensburg 1989)"

Van Rensburg, C & A Jordaan. The growth of Afrikaans in South Africa. In Webb, V.N. 1995. The LiCCA (S.A.) Report. Pretoria: JL van Schaik.

The slave community and many of the Khoi replaced their respective home languages with a non-standard variety of Dutch (Afrikaans). With regard to these speakers, Afrikaans would be a Creole.

  1. Does this language have other varieties? If so, what are these?

Three main varieties are generally recognised: Eastern Cape Afrikaans (which became Standard Afrikaans), Cape Afrikaans and Orange River Afrikaans.

Van Rensburg, MCJ 1989. Soorte Afrikaans. In Botha, TJR (ed.) Inleiding tot die Afrikaanse taalkunde. Pretoria: Academica, pp436-467

  1. Does this language exist in a written form?

Yes, extensively, in all types of publications.

Its history as a written language is relatively recent. The earliest examples of written Afrikaans appeared in the middle of the 18th century. In 1844 a Dutch newspaper of the Eastern Cape published letters by Afrikaners propagating the political separation of the Eastern Cape. The owner of the newspaper and author of some of the letters was Louis Henri Meurant. He later became well known for his Afrikaans dialogues, Zamensprake that were used to further the separatist movement (Steyn 1995:109). In these early writings, Cape Afrikaans (generally known as the language of non-whites) was used for comic effect (Davids 1987:46).

Parallel to the above, the Muslim-Afrikaans language movement also produced some of the first examples of written Afrikaans. According to Davids (1987) the first Afrikaans publication in Arabic letters was printed in 1856. The Cape Muslim leader, Abu Bakr, translated several Islamic works into Afrikaans for the Cape Muslim community. The Afrikaans translation of the Bayaan-ud-diyn (Revelations of the faith) in Arabic script was first published in 1877 and is the most well known. Abu Bakr also started a Muslim school in Cape Town with Cape Afrikaans as medium of instruction.

Davids, Achmad 1987. The role of Afrikaans in the history of the Cape Muslim community. In Hans & Theo du Plessis (eds.) Afrikaans en Taalpolitiek: 15 Opstelle. Pretoria: HAUM, pp 37-59.

Van Rensburg, C & A Jordaan. The growth of Afrikaans in South Africa. In Webb, V.N. 1995. The LiCCA (S.A.) Report. Pretoria: JL van Schaik.

  1. Is there standardisation of the language?


Probably one of the first attempts at standardising Afrikaans was the seven spelling rules compiled by SJ du Toit of the Genootskap of Regte Afrikaners (Society of Real Afrikaners) in 1874. These rules were followed in GRA publications as well as in the early contributions to the translation of the Bible into Afrikaans.

The standardisation process of Afrikaans got seriously off the ground after the unification of the former Boer Republics and the British colonial provinces of the Cape and Natal in 1910. According to that Constitution, Union Dutch and English were the official languages.

"In 1914 Afrikaans was recognised as a medium of instruction by the Provincial Education Departments. This led to its standardisation from 1925 onwards" (Van Rensburg & Jordaan 1995: 118). In 1925 Afrikaans received equal official status with Dutch and English - in practice Afrikaans replaced Dutch.

According to Van Rensburg and Jordaan (1995:120) the South African Academy "became involved in spelling rules for Afrikaans as a result of a proposal by Prof. TH le Roux in 1914." The first Afrikaanse Woordelys en Spelreëls (Afrikaans Word List and Spelling Rules) was published in 1917.

The work on the Woordeboek vir die Afrikaanse Taal or WAT (Dictionary of the Afrikaans Language) started officially in 1926.

The creation of technical terminology in Afrikaans was one of the challenges of standardisation. According to Van Rensburg and Jordaan (1995) "no less than 127 Afrikaans technical language publications have already been published, with many forthcoming".

Van Rensburg, C & A Jordaan. The growth of Afrikaans in South Africa. In Webb, V.N. 1995. The LiCCA (S.A.) Report. Pretoria: JL van Schaik.

  1. Do you consider yourself a member of this linguistic community? If so, why?

Yes, the researcher grew up in an Afrikaans-speaking home, and her family uses only Afrikaans as home language.

  1. Where is this language spoken? What are its geographical boundaries?

Afrikaans is spoken throughout South Africa, with the largest concentrations in the provinces of the Western Cape, the Eastern Cape, the Northern Cape and Gauteng. The percentages of Afrikaans speakers across the 9 provinces are as follows:

Western Cape 39,8%
Gauteng 20,9%
Eastern Cape 10,3%
Northern Cape 9,9%
Free State 6,5%
North West  4,3%
Mpumalanga 4%
KwaZulu Natal 2,3%
Northern Province 1,9%

69,3% of the population of the Northern Cape, the least densely populated of the 9 provinces, has Afrikaans as home language. 59,2% of the Western Cape population has Afrikaans as home language.

Apart from South Africa, Afrikaans is also spoken widely in Namibia, and by the small Afrikaans communities in Botswana and Zimbabwe.

(Census in brief; Report no: 03-01-11[1996])

  1. Have these geographical boundaries changed over the years? If so, how have they altered?

Yes, they have altered. Afrikaans originated in the Cape Province; the language spread as its speakers moved further into the interior of the country. The most important movement was probably the Great Trek in the 1830s and 1840s. The discovery of gold on the Witwatersrand in 1886 and the subsequent industrial development of the Pretoria, Witwatersrand and Vereeniging areas (currently the province of Gauteng), resulted in urbanisation, which explains the large concentration of speakers in this province.

  1. What is the physical terrain of this area alike?

The physical terrain of South Africa is very diverse. The Western Province has a mediteranian climate and is well known for its mountains. Gauteng is 2000 meters above sea level and comprises mostly industrial and residential areas. The countryside is grassveld with hills. The Northern Cape is arid, semi-desert.

  1. Are any other languages spoken within the same territory? If so, what are these?

The other main languages in the Western Cape are English (20,3%) and Xhosa (19,1%).

The Gauteng Province is a true "rainbow" province, with substantial concentrations of speakers of all 11 of the official languages. Zulu (21,5%), Sesotho (13,1%) and English (13%) have relatively the highest concentrations of speakers. English is widely used as business language and for interracial communication.

The Northern Cape is, as mentioned above, predominantly Afrikaans speaking. The only other significant language group is Tswana (19,9%).

Census in brief; Report no: 03-01-11[1996]

  1. Could you enclose a sketch or indicate the area in which the language is spoken? (if you wish, you can draw a sketch in the space on the next page)

 See Appendix.

  1. What State(s) / country (ies) do/es the territory/ies where the language is spoken belong to?

This questionnaire only refers to Afrikaans within the borders of South Africa. Afrikaans is however also spoken in the neighbouring countries as indicated in question 5.

  1. What is the total number of inhabitants (whether or not they speak this language) of this territory?

The total number of inhabitants of South Africa is 40 583 573. The total number of inhabitants of those provinces, with the highest concentrations of Afrikaans speakers, is as follows:

Western Cape 3 956 875
Gauteng 7 348 423
Eastern Cape 6 302 525
Northern Cape 840 321

Census in brief; Report no: 03-01-11[1996]

  1. How many of the inhabitants understand, speak or write this language?

5 811 547 (14,4%) South Africans have Afrikaans as their home language and would therefore be able to understand and speak it. The breakdown across provinces is as follows:

Afrikaans home language No. %
Eastern Cape 600 253 9,6
Free State  379 994  14,5
Gauteng  1 213 352  16,7
KwaZulu-Natal  136 223  1,6
Mpumalanga  230 348  8,3
Northern Cape  577 585  69,3
Northern Province  109 224  2,2
North West Province  249 502  7,5
Western Cape  2 315 067  59,2
South Africa  5 811547  14,4

1 101 420 South Africans (310 153 Africans/Blacks, 336 691 Coloureds, 44 871 Indians/Asians, 375 947 Whites and 33 758 Unspecified) have indicated in the Census of 1996 that they have Afrikaans as their second home language.

According to the SABC Study, Reaching Critical Mass, 59% of the total adult population (16+) has some understanding of Afrikaans. This is plus-minus 15 822 106 persons (59% of persons 15 years and older). 40% of the adult Black population has some understanding of Afrikaans, according to the same study.

Knowledge and use of Afrikaans and English do not necessarily overlap in the case of the African population. Although the exact extent has not been researched, it is common knowledge that Afrikaans is fluently spoken by a large percentage of the rural African population in the Northern Province, Northern Cape, Free State or Western Cape. These populations might have very little knowledge of English and very seldomly speak it.

Literacy figures are based on a variety of methodologies and refer to a variety of levels of competencies. Some are calculated on the basis of education levels, others such as AMPS (All Media and Product Study) have tested literacy by means of what is called a 'literacy card'.

90% of Coloured people and 99% of Whites have received at least some primary education and can therefore be regarded as not totally illiterate. The average would be plus-minus 94,5%. The Afrikaans speaking community is predominantly Coloured and White. One could therefore assume that between 90% and 94% of Afrikaans home language speakers can read and write their home language.

64% of the adult population (20 +) has had at least 7 years of primary education. This would imply that they should be literate and that they should have received at least five years of training in Afrikaans as a subject (between 1910 and 1994 Afrikaans was one of the two official languages of South Africa and therefore taught as a compulsory school subject). One would therefore expect at least 64% of the adult population to be able to read and write Afrikaans. However, this figure is contradicted by the figure for understanding (Reaching Critical Mass) that has been quoted above.

Census in brief; Report no: 03-01-11[1996]
Van Vuuren, DP & A.Maree 1994. Language and Broadcasting in South Africa: A Research perspective. Johannesburg: SABC.

Use this space to draw a map or sketch of the territory where this language is spoken.

See Appendix.

  1. How many of the speakers are monolingual (only use this language)?

No figures are available as to how many Afrikaans home language speakers are monolingual and how many use only Afrikaans in their daily business. It is estimated that this figure is below 5%, firstly, because knowledge of English is extremely high amongst the White and Coloured population groups (according to Van Vuuren & Maree [1994] only 1% and 2% of the White and Coloured populations respectively have no understanding of English) and, secondly, because of the widespread use of English in business and government.

There are, however, very few English home language speakers in the sparsely populated Northern Cape (2,4%) and one can assume that, particularly in the more remote rural areas, Afrikaans speakers, although they might have a basic passive knowledge of English, use only Afrikaans in their day to day business.

Mr Nigel Crawhall, a researcher on the Khoe and San languages, has commented in this regard that he has worked with hundreds of people in the Northern Cape who cannot speak a word of English. "The local Spar tried to sell English language newspapers in Upington and gave up because no one bought them."

Census in brief; Report no: 03-01-11[1996]

  1. How many of the speakers are bilingual (use this and another language)?

It is estimated that plus-minus 95% of Afrikaans home language speakers can also speak English. Very low percentages of Whites and Coloureds have a competency in any of the African languages though. According to Van Vuuren & Maree (1994) 98% on average of Whites and Coloureds have no understanding of an African language.

Mr Crawhall (See above) gave the example of a large area in the Northern Cape, particularly around Olifantshoek and toward Kuruman, where people (of Khoe or San descent) have Afrikaans as a home language but speak Setswana fluently. These people would probably have no or very little knowledge of English.

Van Vuuren, DP & A.Maree 1994. Language and Broadcasting in South Africa: A Research perspective. Johannesburg: SABC.

  1. How many of the speakers are multilingual (speak this and more than one other language)? What other languages do they speak?

The above figures indicate that the number of Afrikaans home language speakers who can speak both English and an African language would be approximately 2%. It is not known how many Afrikaans home language speakers know another European language.

  1. Are speakers of this language dispersed throughout the territory, or are they concentrated in specific population centres?

Home language speakers of Afrikaans are concentrated in the provinces of the Western Cape, Eastern Cape, Northern Cape and Gauteng. Figures have been provided in the answer to Question 5 above.

  1. How has the number of speakers of this language evolved over time (increased, decreased or remained stable)?

The number has gradually increased as the White and Coloured populations increased. The Census figures of the past 10 years indicate however a decline in the percentage of Afrikaans home language speakers. During 1991 (Census 1991) Afrikaans was used as home language by 5.703 million people in South Africa, constituting 15,22% of the total population. Although the total number is higher for Census 1996, the percentage has dropped to 14,4%.

  1. Is the language passed down from generation to generation? If not, why not? What language is replacing it?

It is a well known fact that many Coloured people in the higher socio-economic groups have shifted home language in favour of English as a reaction to the high economic status of English, as well as the stigmatisation of Afrikaans as the language of apartheid. Many Afrikaans medium Coloured schools in Gauteng, in particular, have changed to dual or English medium as a result of the influx of Black/African children. It is also becoming an increasing trend in urban areas for White Afrikaans parents, particularly from the higher socio-economic group, to send their children to English medium schools. The reasons for this are complex. As more and more government functions become English only (see the information in the English questionnaire), parents experience increased pressure to equip their children for a predominantly English educational environment and workplace. As a result of affirmative action, more and more Afrikaans parents in the higher socio-economic group are considering the possibility that their children will have to study and work in an English speaking country.

Own research

  1. Could you indicate how often the members of each generation use the language with other generations (old people with old people, young people with old people, etc) in their informal contacts (in the street, at home, in leisure time,…)?

No research exists that would enable one to complete the table below with accuracy. It is estimated that the frequency would vary between 5 and 4 for the White community and between 4 and 2 for the Coloured community. It should also be noted that the language of younger generations is marked by extensive codeswitching to English.

… Speak the language with

The people …..

The Elderly


Young people











The Elderly







Young people








Specify the frequency: 5 = always in this language; 4 = more in this language than others; 3 = equally often in either language; 2 = more in other languages than in this one; 1 = always in other languages.

  1. Do the speakers of other languages speak this language? In what circumstances?

Afrikaans (Dutch between 1910 and 1925) was for 84 years one of the official languages of South Africa. All government business was bilingual. Afrikaans and English were compulsory subjects in all schools. During the rule of the National Party the public service became predominantly Afrikaans. In government business, speakers of the African languages were therefore often obliged to speak Afrikaans. Afrikaans also played an important role in the economic life of South Africa. It was common for employees to use Afrikaans with their Afrikaans employers.

A non-standard slang variety of Afrikaans, Tsotsitaal, has been commonly used by African males, especially in the Gauteng province.

The Soweto uprising of 1976 which was a reaction against the introduction of Afrikaans as co-medium of instruction in African/Black schools, resulted in a decline in the use of Afrikaans by speakers of other languages. The Soweto uprising has also lead to a decline in Tsotsitaal speakers' ability to use Afrikaans as matrix language (Slabbert & Myers-Scotton 1997).

Since 1994 Afrikaans is one of 11 official languages. During the past six years it has lost ground against English dramatically. The use of Afrikaans by speakers of other languages has declined and it has shifted from the domain of the public sector to the private sector.

Slabbert, Sarah & Carol Myers-Scotton 1997. The structure of Tsotsitaal and Iscamtho: codeswitching and ingroup identity in South African townships. Linguistics, Volume 35, No. 2, pp.317-342.

  1. Is there any historical or economic factor which has affected the situation of this linguistic community?

Apartheid has affected the situation of this linguistic community. Because the apartheid government was predominantly Afrikaans speaking, and Afrikaans was therefore the language in which apartheid was implemented and practised, the language became known as "the language of the oppressor", a stigma that it has not yet been able to shed. The current loss of functions to English can directly be attributed to this historical factor.

Examples of recent loss of functions are the new language policy of the Defence Force, according to which English only would be the language of command, and the statement by of the Minister of Justice (17 October 1999) that English might become the only language of record in courts.

  1. Has any other factor directly influenced the growth or threatened the future of the language (migration, temporary labour, deportations, wars…)?

South Africa has 11 official languages. Apart from symbolic gestures such as multilingual letterheads, and occasional translations of documents, this is in practice impossible to implement on the national level. The result is that Afrikaans and the African languages are more and more sidelined while English gains status and domains as the national "working language".

  1. Is the language currently threatened? If so, what is the cause?

It is evident from current debates in the Afrikaans media that there is no agreement amongst speakers that the language is indeed threatened. Some prominent Afrikaans linguists and opinion formers would refer to emigration figures and loss of function to argue that the language is threatened; others would point to new 'markets', such as the Internet, new language movements such as PRAAG, and the current boom in literary publications and Afrikaans cultural events to prove that Afrikaans is alive and well.

  1. Is the community which speaks this language in danger? If so, what is the cause?

No, except for the very high violent crime rate that affects all South Africans.

  1. Is there any internal migration (movement of the population within the territory)? Is there any external migration (movement out of the territory to others)? If so, what is the cause?

There has been a steady move to the urban areas over the years, but we would not call this an internal migration.

Mention has been made of current external migration as a result of a variety of factors, such as the high crime rate, affirmative action, the drop in the value of the rand, and the unstable situation in Zimbabwe. Although the exact number of Afrikaans emigrants is not known, the quote below gives an indication of the numbers of South Africans, including Afrikaans speaking South Africans, who have emigrated or that are living abroad.

"An article in Rapport in October 1998 stated that in 1996 there were more than 170 000 South African emigrants in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, and the United Kingdom. According to British statistics, in 1997 there were about 91 000 people residing in England, Wales, and Scotland who had been born in South Africa. In a 1996 census Australia counted 55 755 South African immigrants, while in the same year 14 075 South African immigrants were counted in Canada. According to a study by Massey University, Palmerston North, New Zealand, there were more than 20 000 South Africans in New Zealand in 1997."

1999/2000 South African Survey. Johannesburg: South African Institute of Race Relations

  1. What is the main economic activity of this community?

Afrikaans speakers are found in all the occupational categories (Census 1996). According to AMPS figures of 1998 46% of Coloureds, Whites and Indians, i.e. those categories within which Afrikaans speakers fall, are in the two highest income brackets (more than R6000 per month per household).

In a recent article in Insig (May 2000), a quarterly journal, the following information on the economic activities of the Afrikaans community was given:

"According to the Bureau for Market Research Afrikaans speakers have the highest spendable income of all language groups in South Africa, i.e. 32,3% of the total. This makes them also the largest block of income tax payers."

  1. What is the influence of religion on this community?

The Afrikaans speaking community, both White and Coloured, is largely Protestant and well known for its Calvinistic approach to life. According to the 1980 Census, 37% of Whites, i.e. plus-minus 65% of White Afrikaans speaking persons belong to the Dutch Reformed Church.  The other two Afrikaans sister churches are the Nederduitsch Hervormde Kerk and the Gereformeerde Kerk. According to the 1980 Census 6,7% of Coloureds are Muslims.

1996. Socio-economic Atlas for South Africa Pretoria: Human Sciences Research Council.

  1. Does the language have any official status (official, joint-official language, acceptance…)?

Yes, Afrikaans is one of the 11 official languages of South Africa.

  1. Is the language used in contact with the administration? Indicate whether its use in the administration is in spoken and/or written form.

The language is used in both its spoken and its written form in the administration. This use, however, is declining and making way for English.

  1. Is this language used in education (whether as the teaching medium or as a subject of study)? Indicate whether there is spoken and/or written use of the language in elementary and higher education?

Yes, both as a teaching medium and as a subject of study. There are also both spoken and written use of Afrikaans in elementary and higher education. South Africa has six traditionally Afrikaans universities: The University of Stellenbosch, The University of the Free State, The Potchefstroom University for Christian Higher Education, The Rand Afrikaans University and The University of Pretoria. With the exception of The University of Stellenbosch, all these universities have become, since 1994, dual medium universities as a result of increasing percentages Black and English speaking students. The Universities of the Western Cape, South Africa and Port Elizabeth have always been bilingual.

  1. Is this language used in the media (radio, newspapers and television…)?

Yes, there is one national radio station (Radio sonder Grense) and several Afrikaans (e.g. Punt, Radio Pretoria) and dual medium regional and community radio stations. The major Afrikaans newspapers are Beeld, Die Volksblad, Die Burger and Rapport. The Afrikaans family magazine Huisgenoot has one of the highest circulations in the country.

The South African Broadcasting Corporation broadcasts Afrikaans news and other television programmes on its Channel 2. Afrikaans shares this channel with English and the Sotho languages.

In 1999, the pay channel M Net started an Afrikaans channel, Kyknet.

  1. Is this language used in religious services and ceremonies? Indicate whether there is spoken or written use of the language in religious services and ceremonies.

Yes, both written and spoken Afrikaans is used in religious services. According to Van Rensburg & Jordaan (1995) "the Bible translation was a direct product of the official language status gained for Afrikaans in 1925". The complete Bible translation was presented in Bloemfontein in August 1933. A new Bible translation commission was appointed in 1968. In 1975 the Blye Boodskap (Good news) appeared, and in 1979 Die Nuwe Testament en die Psalms (The New Testament and the Psalms). In 1982 Die Lewende Bybel (The Living Bible) appeared. This version is "further removed from Dutch than all its predecessors."(Van Rensburg & Jordaan 1995)

Van Rensburg, C & A Jordaan. The growth of Afrikaans in South Africa. In Webb, V.N. 1995. The LiCCA (S.A.) Report. Pretoria: JL van Schaik.

  1. Is the language used in business and labour relations? Indicate whether the use is spoken and/or written.

No research figures are available on the use of Afrikaans in business and in labour relations. English is the dominant business language in the large urban centres; Afrikaans would be used more in metropolitan areas.  Some labour unions such as the Mine Workers Union (MWU) are predominantly White and Coloured, and one would expect that Afrikaans is used by them. (See question 35 for details on the complaint that the MWU brought against the language policy of Eskom)

  1. Are there any other areas in which this language is used in its written form?

Afrikaans, in its written form, is used to a larger or a lesser extent in all areas.

  1. Is there any organisation or body responsible for linguistic policy and planning with respect to this language? What kind of activities does this perform?

The Taalkommissie (A permanent commission of the South African Academy for Science and Art) attends to spelling rules and other matters of standardisation.

The Pan South African Language Board (PANSALB) is responsible for the promotion and development of all the South African languages, including Afrikaans. The Board recently (Beeld 2/5/2000) officially requested Eskom, the largest supplier of electricity, to change its new unconstitutional language policy. According to this, Eskom would in future only use English in external communication.

The Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, also has a Language Planning section in the National Language Service directorate that attends to linguistic policy and planning for all the South African languages, including Afrikaans. The Department is currently in the process of drawing up legislation for a language policy for government.

  1. Is there any kind of cultural or linguistic organisation or body responsible which promotes the knowledge and/or use of the language? What kind of activities does this perform?

Die Stigting vir Afrikaans (The Foundation for Afrikaans): The Stigting was founded by the large Afrikaans press group, Nasionale Pers. The organisation, which is based in Pretoria and Cape Town, is involved in a variety of projects to promote the use of Afrikaans by all South Africans. It publishes a quarterly; Afrikaans Vandag (Afrikaans Today).

The ATKV (Afrikaanse Taal- en Kultuurvereniging – The Afrikaans Language and Cultural Organisation) focuses on cultural aspects and cultural events, e.g. annual Afrikaans music, choir, literary competitions. They run courses for television and radio script writing and play writing. They also donate prizes for achievements in Afrikaans, as well as bursaries for students.

The FAK (Federasie vir Afrikaanse Kultuurvereniginge – Federation of Afrikaans Culture Organisations) is another cultural organisation whose mission and activities are similar to those of the ATKV.

Afrikaans does not have its own linguistic society. Most Afrikaans linguists belong however to The Linguistic Society of South Africa. The Society publishes an academic journal; The SA Journal of Linguistics and every year it holds a national linguistics conference.

Two recent additions to Afrikaans cultural organisations that promote Afrikaans are PRAAG (initiated by Dan Roodt) and the Group of 63 (See newspaper clipping in the appended document).

The National Literary Archives (based in Bloemfontein) is a museum that preserves all documentation on Afrikaans literary works and is an important resource for scholars.

  1. Does the language have a literary tradition? If so, please give some information about this literary tradition.

In a questionnaire such as this one, it is almost impossible to give justice to the rich and varied literature of Afrikaans. The Afrikaans literature experienced two particularly flourishing periods. The one was in the thirties when poetry of a very high quality by poets like NP van Wyk Louw, Elisabeth Eybers, WEG Louw and DJ Opperman was published. In the sixties the Afrikaans literature experienced another flourishing period through the prose of writers such as Hennie Aucamp, Anna M Louw, Karel Schoeman, Elsa Joubert, Etienne Leroux, and André P Brink, and the poetry of new poets like Breyten Breytenbach, Sheila Coussons, Adam Small and Wilma Stockenstrom. In the same period older poets such as Elisabeth Eybers (who even today continues to publish from The Netherlands, where she lives) and NP van Wyk Louw (before his death in 1970) continued to produce poetry of the highest standard. Many works were translated into English and other languages (Steyn 1995: 104).

The past decade has also been a particularly flourishing period for Afrikaans literature. This has been marked by, amongst other things, the remarkable successes of the Oudtshoorn Klein Karoo National Arts Festival and the Potchefstroom Aardklop Arts Festival. Last year approximately 60 million Rand was spent during the Klein Karoo Festival (Insig, May 2000).

Steyn, JC 1995 A historical sketch of Afrikaans. In Webb, V.N. 1995. The LiCCA (S.A.) Report. Pretoria: JL van Schaik.

  1. What is the attitude of the majority of the members of this community towards the knowledge and use of this language?

One view is that of Steyn (1995: 105): "Census figures show that the percentage of Afrikaans speakers is decreasing, while the percentage of English speakers is staying the same – which means growth for the latter. A process of language shifting to English, especially in the Cape Afrikaans speaking community, could not be checked, and the attitude of many Coloured Afrikaans speakers (according to the Census category) towards standard Afrikaans is negative. In 1990 it was reported that some Afrikaners are, to an increasing degree, again, as in the 19th and early 20th centuries, sending their children to English schools. A decrease in language loyalty is also evident from the adoption of more and more untranslated words out of English."

Steyn, JC 1995 A historical sketch of Afrikaans. In Webb, V.N. 1995. The LiCCA (S.A.) Report. Pretoria: JL van Schaik.

The facts provided in question 37 sketch a more positive picture.

  1. What is the attitude of the majority of the members of the neighbouring communities towards the knowledge and use of the language?

To my knowledge no recent studies of language attitudes towards Afrikaans exist. The studies of Vorster & Proctor (1975), Kotze (1987) and De Klerk and Bosch (1994) found that Blacks have a more positive attitude towards English than towards Afrikaans. Reasons would vary from political to pragmatic.

In predominantly Afrikaans communities more positive attitudes towards the knowledge and use of Afrikaans can be expected.

De Klerk, V. & Bosch, B. 1994. Language attitudes in the Eastern Cape: tri-lingual survey. South African journal of linguistics, 12(2):50-59.
Kotze, E. F. 1987a. A Black perspective on Afrikaans. In: Young, D. (ed.). Language: planning and medium in education. Rondebosch:Language Education Unit, University of Cape Town and SAALA.
Vorster, J. & L. Proctor. 1975. Black attitudes to white languages in South Africa: a pilot study. Alice: Eastern Cape Language Teaching Study.
  1. PLEASE ADD ANY OTHER DETAILS REGARDING THE SITUATION OF THE LANGUAGE WHICH YOU CONSIDER OF INTEREST. At the same time, we would be grateful if you could send us any statistics, reports, assignment or research that might help us to understand the situation of this language. It would also be very helpful if you could provide references of the sources consulted and the addresses of any individuals or bodies that may be able to offer further data about this language.

The Standard Encyclopaedia of Southern Africa gives a comprehensive overview of the history of the Afrikaans language and its literary tradition.

Important websites on Afrikaans: