Grammatikale veranderinge in Afrikaans van 1911 tot 2010
In the past few decades, the investigation of grammatical change using electronic corpora has made headway internationally. Although linguists previously believed that grammatical changes progress too slowly to observe, this method enables linguists to investigate even recent, or ongoing, changes. However, no comprehensive study of recent and ongoing grammatical changes in Afrikaans has appeared yet. Also, when comments about ongoing changes are made, it is usually based on anecdotal evidence, with a focus on English influence. In this study, the method of short-term diachronic comparable corpus linguistics is used to investigate grammatical changes in written Standard Afrikaans from 1911 to 2010. Four corpora were collected to this end, representing language use from 1911-1920, 1941-1950, 1971-1980 and 2001-2010. Additionally, quantitative grammaticography is used to take into account possible effects of prescriptive sources. Two research questions are adressed in this study: the first inquires into the nature and extent of grammatical changes in selected grammatical categories in written Standard Afrikaans from 1911 to 2010; the second wants to clarify the differences and similarities between internal and external language change, and in the light thereof establish to which extent external change, and specifically English influence, is relevant for grammatical changes in Standard Afrikaans during the past century. The theoretical framework within which language use and change is investigated in this study is cognitive linguistics, specifically emergent grammar and the exemplar model. Changes that become apparent from the data are described and explained in terms of processes of change and forces of change, and linked to the principles of cognitive linguistics. Three broad grammatical categories are investigated: temporal reference, pronouns and the genitive. Even though there is an extent of stability in each of the categories, there are also several bigger and smaller changes that give an overview of the nature of grammatical change in written Standard Afrikaans in the past century. These changes can be divided into different categories. The first type of change has to do with formalisation and colloquialisation – in broad strokes, there are signs of formalisation between the first two periods, during which the standard variety was being established, causing some features associated with formality to increase (e.g. passive constructions). However, at the end of the century there are signs of colloquialisation between the last two periods, where some formal features decrease (e.g. the formal second person pronoun u "you"), and some informal features increase (e.g. nou "now" as discourse marker). The second type of change is analogy, causing greater regularity and/or uniformity in a paradigm. For instance, obsolescent preterite forms (had "had", wis "knew") were replaced by regular forms (het/het gehad, het geweet). The last of the Dutch genitive was also replaced by the Afrikaans genitive with se "'s" and van "of". The third type of change is driven by speakers' desire to be expressive. Some of the pronouns specialise increasingly, meaning that they are used less and less for functions other than their main function, and other options are used less and less for that function. Examples of this is the third person pronoun dit "it", the shortened forms jul "you/your" and hul "they/their", and the indefinite pronouns almal "everybody", alles "everything" and elkeen "each one". A next type of change is actually a combination of different processes and forces: grammaticalisation. There are several instances of grammaticalisation: the use of gaan "go" for future reference, the use of dis "it's" rather than dit is "it is", the use of mens "human" rather than 'n mens "a human" as generic pronoun, the use of indefinite pronouns with enig- "any" like enigiets "anything", enigiemand "anybody", enigeen "anyone", and the use of the genitive particle se "'s". The last type of change is externally motivated change. Contrary to the view the Afrikaans literature in general promotes, there is only one instance of confirmed English influence in the data of this study: the increasing use of -self with reflexive pronouns, rather than the bare object form. However, there are instances of extra-linguistic influence, like standardisation that caused large scale variation reduction between the first and the second period, and the influence of feminism that can be seen in decreasing linguistic sexism, particularly with regard to generic pronouns. The conclusion in the end is that the process of internally motivated change and contact-induced change is not different – an innovation can originate from another language (overt transfer), or an internal innovation can be promoted through bi- or multilingualism (covert transfer); however, the same principles, processes and forces of change are at play, irrespective of how many languages are involved.
- Humanities