Language struggle

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The notion of a language struggle

Language has long been a very contentious issue, and still is, in South Africa, part of the search for identity and recognition by the various communities and cultural groups.

Afrikaanse Taalstryd (Afrikaans language struggle)

The "language struggle" referred to here, is the Afrikaanse Taalstryd (="Language Struggle for Afrikaans"") of the late 19th century and early 20th century, in which the descendents of the Dutch population in the country fought to have the local version of Dutch (originally termed "kitchen Dutch", as it was spoken by slaves and "backward" farmers, but gradually named Afrikaansch [*?] or Afrikaans) accepted as an official language, instead of or alongside English (in this case rather than official or "High" Dutch). The battle was finally won in 1925.

The arts - including a vibrant theatre - were employed actively and consciously to attain these ends.

In history books it has become traditional to divide this into two periods or taalbewegings ("language movements"), Die Eerste Taalbeweging and die Tweede Taalbeweging, which began in 18** and ended with the acceptance of Afrikaans as an official language in 1925. There are those who see this as a somewhat artificial periodisation. There are stong signs of a new struggle emerging, even a new language movement, since 1990.

The Eerste Taalbeweging

The Tweede Taalbeweging

A Derde Taalbeweging? (1990-)

Other language struggles


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