The Afrikaans Language: Background information when reading Philida

Summary |  Excerpt |  Reading Guide |  Reviews |  Beyond the Book |  Readalikes |  Genres & Themes |  Author Bio

Philida

by André Brink

Philida by André Brink X
Philida by André Brink
  • Critics' Opinion:

    Readers' Opinion:

     Not Yet Rated
  • Paperback:
    Feb 2013, 320 pages

    Genres

  • Rate this book


Book Reviewed by:
Jennifer Dawson Oakes
Buy This Book

About this Book

The Afrikaans Language

This article relates to Philida

Print Review

Afrikaans words or expressions are peppered throughout André Brink's novel, Philida. Brink started his career writing in Afrikaans, his native language, but switched to writing in English interspersed with Afrikaans which he uses to help maintain the authenticity of his characters. Many of the words can be puzzled out from the context of their use but some are a bit more of a challenge.

The Afrikaans Language Monument Afrikaans originated in the 17th century as Dutch settlers moved into South Africa. The language is rooted in Dutch but has been blended and influenced by the languages of the Khoikhoi people as well as those from slaves brought to the Cape region from Malaya, Indonesia, Madagascar and West Africa. German and French also influenced the language's development. Afrikaans, as spoken today, is the product of over 300 years of mingled dialects. The Afrikaans Language Monument in Paarl, South Africa, commemorates it being declared an official language of South Africa separate from Dutch.

Though spoken by people of different racial ethnicities in South Africa, Afrikaans is still strongly associated with the country's National Party, which was elected to power in 1948. Though racial segregation had been taking place in the country for hundreds of years, the National Party officially instituted apartheid. The inhumane and ruthless practices undertaken during the years the National Party was in power forged a link between the Afrikaans language and a dangerous and offensive political system.

Between 1990 and 1993 the apartheid laws were dismantled, and in 1994 South Africa held its first national election where all citizens of legal voting age had the right to cast a ballot. During the 1994 meeting of the Constitutional Assembly, the Afrikaans language was downgraded in status. Though still an officially recognized language, it became one of eleven official languages in South Africa. Prior to the Assembly, English and Afrikaans had been the only two officially recognized languages for the country.

Presently, Afrikaans is the third most spoken language in the nation. But the use of different languages varies, depending on the region of the country. Some parts of South Africa, the Northern and Western Capes for example, have approximately 50% of their populations speaking Afrikaans.

Picture from Wikipedia.org

Filed under Places, Cultures & Identities

This article relates to Philida. It first ran in the March 6, 2013 issue of BookBrowse Recommends.

This review is available to non-members for a limited time. For full access become a member today.
Membership Advantages
  • Reviews
  • "Beyond the Book" articles
  • Free books to read and review (US only)
  • Find books by time period, setting & theme
  • Read-alike suggestions by book and author
  • Book club discussions
  • and much more!
  • Just $45 for 12 months or $15 for 3 months.
  • More about membership!

Become a Member

Join BookBrowse today to start discovering exceptional books!

Find out more


Top Picks

  • Book Jacket: After Sappho
    After Sappho
    by Selby Wynn Schwartz

    "Someone will remember us, I say, even in another time."
    —Sappho, fragment ...

  • Book Jacket: City Under One Roof
    City Under One Roof
    by Iris Yamashita
    When a disembodied arm and leg wash ashore in Point Mettier, Alaska, most residents assume they ...
  • Book Jacket: We Deserve Monuments
    We Deserve Monuments
    by Jas Hammonds
    Jas Hammonds' debut young adult novel We Deserve Monuments provides a fresh look at the coming-of-...
  • Book Jacket
    Factory Girls
    by Leslie T. Chang
    Considering the articles in recent years regarding toy recalls or melamine-tainted milk ...

Book Club Discussion

Book Jacket
The Mitford Affair
by Marie Benedict
An explosive novel of history's most notorious sisters, one of whom will have to choose: her country or her family?

Members Recommend

  • Book Jacket

    Moonrise Over New Jessup
    by Jamila Minnicks

    "Jamila Minnicks pulled me into pages of history I'd never turned before."—Barbara Kingsolver

  • Book Jacket

    Ghost Season
    by Fatin Abbas

    A beautifully orchestrated debut connecting five people caught in the crosshairs of conflict on the Sudanese border.

  • Book Jacket

    This Other Eden
    by Paul Harding

    A novel inspired by the true story of Malaga Island from the Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Tinkers.

Wordplay

Solve this clue:

C To T Q

and be entered to win..

Who Said...

If every country had to write a book about elephants...

Click Here to find out who said this, as well as discovering other famous literary quotes!

Your guide toexceptional          books

BookBrowse seeks out and recommends the best in contemporary fiction and nonfiction—books that not only engage and entertain but also deepen our understanding of ourselves and the world around us.