n Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe - 'n Algemeen geldende basis vir Afrikaans?

Volume 45, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0041-4751


In an essay of 1939, N.P. van Wyk Louw argued that Afrikaners acted irrationally when making three critical choices that would vitally affect the survival of the Afrikaner people and the future of Afrikaans as a public language. He referred to the following decisions: whether to embark on the Great Trek during the second half of the 1830s, declare war against Britain in 1899, and replace Dutch by Afrikaans as a public language in 1925. In 1946 Louw argued that Afrikaners still lacked a "generally valid principle" for their existence as a separate people. As a result their aspirations and survival fears have come across as blind and unfathomable to other people. Louw implicitly maintained that as long as the Afrikaners failed to formulate a generally valid principle, their future, along with that of their language, was in the balance. This article argues that the struggle to maintain Afrikaans as a public language could acquire general validity by demonstrating its worth to the other non-universal languages in South Africa as a medium of instruction and as a tool for the domestication of knowledge.

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