The Afrikaans Language: Background information when reading Philida

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by André Brink

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  • Paperback:
    Feb 2013, 320 pages

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Book Reviewed by:
Jennifer Dawson Oakes

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About this Book

Beyond the Book:
The Afrikaans Language

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.


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