n Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe - Afrikaans as wetenskapstaal in Suid-Afrika

Volume 45, Issue 3
  • ISSN : 0041-4751


Current and recurring debates on Afrikaans as scientific language are usually conducted without adequate empirical evidence. In this paper I report on research into the language of peer-reviewed journal articles published by South African authors over the period 1990-2002. The analysis shows that for this period Afrikaans titles constituted 8, 2% of all articles written. However, this average masks a significant decline in Afrikaans articles over the period. The proportion of Afrikaans titles has declined from nearly 14% in 1990 to only 5% in 2002. Further investigation of the database (SA Knowledgebase) revealed that Afrikaans articles are confined mostly to the humanities (and to a lesser degree the social sciences) and are published in a small number of journals. Three of these journals have an explicit policy to accept only Afrikaans titles. In the final section of the article the publications of authors from the five historically Afrikaans-medium universities are compared. The results show that Potchefstroom University published the largest percentage (35, 7%) of Afrikaans articles over this period, followed by the University of the Free State (24, 8%), Rand Afrikaans University (18, 1%), University of Pretoria (16, 6%) and Stellenbosch University (10, 9%) (see endnote 10).

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