Laaste spore van Nederlands in Afrikaanse werkwoorde
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In the diachronic studies of Afrikaans in the past, the focus used to be on the origin and early development of Afrikaans from Dutch. During the twentieth century, the philological school, with a tradition of researching all Cape-Dutch coloured texts in detail, was established through the work of J. du P. Scholtz and his students. Through their analyses, they estimated the stabilisation of Afrikaans as early as the end of the eighteenth century (for example Raidt, 1991:145; Ponelis, 1994:229). In the past few decades, however, this estimation has begun to receive criticism from other scholars, including Roberge (1994:159) and Deumert (2004:20). With the help of a corpus, Deumert (2004) has shown that there is substantial variation in Afrikaans letters as late as the early twentieth century, and this study expands on her work by researching the variation in published writing. This is done by focusing on verbs, as there is significant change from the Dutch verbal system to the Afrikaans verbal system. This study uses corpus linguistic research methods, and researches Dutch-Afrikaans variation in verbs in published Afrikaans texts, compiled in three corpora. The main corpus was compiled from all the Afrikaans writings of Totius (J.D. du Toit) in the publication Het Kerkblad from 1916 to 1922. Two control corpora are also used: the first was compiled from excerpts from published Afrikaans books for the same period, and the second was compiled from excerpts from Afrikaans periodicals for the same period. In order to compensate for the shortcomings of corpus data alone, normative works on Afrikaans from the relevant period are also taken into account, and there is shown which recommendations these works made about the relevant constructions, and how the corpus data correlates with these recommendations. Variation in six verbal constructions are analysed in this study: 1. End consonant t/n (for example gaat/gaan): the old (more Dutch) word forms are scarcely used in the corpora, while the modern Afrikaans word forms are almost fully established. 2. End consonant g (for example seg/sê): the old word forms are also scarcely used in the corpora, while the modern word forms take the lead. 3. Stem vowel (for example breng/bring): the old word forms are more frequent at the beginning of the period, followed by some uncertainty, with the modern word forms taking over by the end of the period. 4. Preterite (specifically had/gehad and werd/geword): there is great instability throughout, worsened by a distinction in use between main verbs and auxiliary verbs made by some authors. 5. Past participle (for example gedaan/gedoen): there is significant instability at the beginning of the period, but the modern word forms are used more frequently by the end of the period. 6. Perfect tense auxiliary verb (is/het): the old form is still used in the corpora, but the modern form is more frequent from the beginning, and becomes even more frequent towards the end. This data shows that there was still significant variation in Afrikaans under Dutch influence as late as the early twentieth century, and the correlation between the different corpora implies that the written language might have been much closer to the spoken language than had been previously assumed. It is further confirmed by the amount of attention this variation gets in the normative works from that period.
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