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Die 2002-AWS en grammatikale subkategorieë

Anna Coetzee


The 2002 Afrikaans Vocabulary List and Spelling Rules and grammatical sub-categories. Since 1909 the South African Academy for Science and Arts (Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns) commissioned its Spelling Committee (Spelling-Komitee), later the Language Commission (Taalkommissie), to standardise Afrikaans spelling. Within this vernacular language form, without any governmental officiality at the beginning of the 20th century, there was naturally a considerable amount of orthographical and lexical variability. The perception exists that the acknowledgement of too many variants signifies that a standard form has not yet come into being. Although the Language Commission was supposed to standardise Afrikaans spelling, it often determined what had to be spelled and not only how it had to be spelled. With each new issue of the Afrikaanse Woordelys en Spelreëls (AWS) (= Afrikaans Vocabulary List and Spelling Rules) it was attempted to lessen the variants by recording the use of certain forms by sources that play significant roles in standardising issues. Because actual language usage was recorded, the consecutive issues of the AWS display the natural tendency of lessening variation and decreasing remaining variants. In addition certain former variable grammatical groups of words were standardised to a definable morphological category without exceptions in the standard form of the language. In this paper this is illustrated specifically with reference to Chapter 17 of the 2002 AWS. Contrary to the aim of the rest of the book, this chapter does not offer spelling rules. It mainly exhibits a grammar of word categories. The “rules” in this chapter can therefore not be seen as ordinary spelling rules, but as descriptions of the choices language users have in some instances and of the morphological categories where choices only exist in a few cases with e.g. varying stress patterns. While the AWS is not essentially a book of grammatical descriptions, this paper offers an overview of the historical development behind the inclusion of such a chapter, and it offers an exploratory and contemplative view of these "rules".

(Journal for Language Teaching: 2002 36(3-4): 377-385)