|Development of the
|Afrikaans is widely spoken in
South Africa, it is the first language of Afrikaners and many Coloured people
but it is also widely spoken as a second or third language among other
It is regarded as an 'African' language in many Universities, although its
roots are clearly in Dutch. It evolved as the common language between Europeans
and their slaves during the period of the Dutch East Indian Company. It
resembles a simple form of Dutch, with elements from other languages including
French, English, German, Khoe and Arabic.
Towards the end of the nineteenth century a group in the town
of Paarl, near Cape Town, set about formalising the language. It became a
bastion of Afrikaner identity against British imperial power.
Between the World Wars, a renewed Afrikaner identity emerged,
largely around language. In Cape Town, English was used for writing and for
business, but Dutch was still the language of the Church. Afrikaans was kept
within the home as it had connotations of a 'kitchen language' or the language
of the poor.
There was a need to recreate the language through more formal
grammar and vocabulary if it was to become a 'respected' language. During the
1920s students met on Saturday mornings in the Koffeehuis, near the Groote
Kerk, to discuss Afrikaans as a literary language over pancakes and
This circle became the 'Oranje Klub', from which the literary
group the Dertigers sprang. Members of this group included the Transvaal writer
of short stories Herman Charles Bosman and the English writer Pauline Smith. As
the Dutch Reformed Church wanted to keep Dutch, the young middle classes of
Tamboerskloof, members of the Oranje Klub, struggled for the presence of
Afrikaans in local newspapers.
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