n Literator : Journal of Literary Criticism, Comparative Linguistics and Literary Studies - Oor Austro-Nederlands en die oorsprong van Afrikaans

Volume 23, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0258-2279
  • E-ISSN: 2219-8237



A widely accepted view of the origin of Afrikaans holds that the new language developed autochthonously, after 1652 when the language of the early Cape settlers was influenced by imported slaves speaking Malay and Portuguese, and by the pidgin talk of the Cape Khoikhoi. This "autochthonous hypothesis", however, does not take cognizance of the fact that shortened (deflected) Dutch verb forms found in Afrikaans, for instance, are also found in loan words in the Ceylon-Portuguese creole, as well as in Indonesian, and Malay-influenced languages of Indonesia. Moreover, large numbers of Dutch East India Company sojourners, who had acquired an "adapted" form of Dutch during their stay in the East, spent a significant time at the Cape on their return voyage. The argument is put forward that they brought with them a number of language features clearly comparable with "distinctive features" in incipient (and developed) Afrikaans, such as the shortened verb and the use of the perfect instead of imperfect verb forms to indicate a simple past tense. The variety of Dutch spoken by them is called , which, it is argued, forms the basis of an "oceanic hypothesis" to add a new dimension to theories about the formation of Afrikaans.

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