Dutch and Afrikaans as post-pluricentric languages

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Peer-Reviewed Research
  • SDG 11
  • Abstract:

    The relationship between Afrikaans and Dutch cannot be captured adequately by the construct of pluricentrism. However, to deny a connection of a similar kind would leave aspects of the historical and current relationship unaccounted for. In comparison to typical pluricentric relations, such as those between metropolitan and postcolonial Englishes, Afrikaans shows more differences from Dutch. This is because there were more non-native speakers contributing directly to the formation of the language, and contact between the colony and metropolis was less extensive, being eventually completely severed with the imposition of British rule on the Cape colony. It took longer for a colonial dialect to stabilise, by which time the Dutch normative reference point was removed. When Afrikaans gained linguistic independence in the early 20th century, a nationalistic agenda also militated against substantial reliance on Dutch as a reference point. However, after linguistic independence, a postpluricentric relationship emerged, where a new appreciation for Dutch as the source of spelling and vocabulary norms assisted the standardization of Afrikaans. Furthermore, externally reciprocal relations still continue to appear in domains such as literature, and even marketing, signalling an underlying symbolic value. At present, signs of renewed approaches are emerging, although these are unlikely to influence language-internal development