n Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe - Die ontwikkeling van Afrikaanse vaktaal : Verlede, hede en toekoms

Volume 56 Number 2-1
  • ISSN : 0041-4751



Terminology development is an interdisciplinary activity that takes as its point of departure the concepts related to a certain subject area. Terminography practice depends on language development and lexicographical principles and practice. Unique, polythematic terminology products are needed for target user groups that have a specific interest in specific subject areas in different languages, and the needs of such groups should be taken into consideration when terminology is developed.All occupations and fields of knowledge need terms for exact subject-related communication, which explains the slogan of the international terminology organisation TermNet: There is no Knowledge without Terminology. Terminology development occurs in the framework of the language policy of the government of a country. South Africa has excellent legislation aimed at safeguarding the official languages and developing them into fully functional languages. Although this article focuses on Afrikaans, it is important not to deal with Afrikaans in isolation - all terminology-related activities should (where possible) take place in all the official languages, not only for the sake of individual languages, but especially for the sake of (specialised) communication.The development of the indigenous languages took place in consecutive phases. Afrikaans developed from a subservient so-called "kitchen language" to a high-function language that can be used in any field of knowledge. Currently, Afrikaans should be in a maintenance phase, but the language has (again) been relegated to a struggle for survival. At the same time, the African languages are not being properly developed as full-fledged academic languages, despite their official status. English remains the language of preference for many South Africans, and the other official languages are subjected to the hegemony of English. It is important to realise that a functional language is a language with a future.

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