Afrikaans and Dutch as closely-related languages: A comparison to West Germanic languages and Dutch dialects

Wilbert Heeringa, Febe de Wet, Gerhard B. van Huyssteen

Abstract


Following Den Besten’s (2009) desiderata for historical linguistics of Afrikaans, this article aims to contribute some modern evidence to the debate regarding the founding dialects of Afrikaans. From an applied perspective (i.e. human language technology), we aim to determine which West Germanic language(s) and/or dialect(s) would be best suited for the purposes of recycling speech resources for the benefit of developing speech technologies for Afrikaans. Being recognised as a West Germanic language, Afrikaans is first compared to Standard Dutch, Standard Frisian and Standard German. Pronunciation distances are measured by means of Levenshtein distances. Afrikaans is found to be closest to Standard Dutch. Secondly, Afrikaans is compared to 361 Dutch dialectal varieties in the Netherlands and North-Belgium, using material from the Reeks Nederlandse Dialectatlassen, a series of dialect atlases compiled by Blancquaert and Pée in the period 1925-1982 which cover the Dutch dialect area. Afrikaans is found to be closest to the South-Holland dialectal variety of Zoetermeer; this largely agrees with the findings of Kloeke (1950). No speech resources are available for Zoetermeer, but such resources are available for Standard Dutch. Although the dialect of Zoetermeer is significantly closer to Afrikaans than Standard Dutch is, Standard Dutch speech resources might be a good substitute.


Keywords


human language technologies, speech resources, Afrikaans, Dutch, acoustic distance

Full Text:

PDF


DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.5842/47-0-649

Refbacks

  • There are currently no refbacks.





ISSN 2224-3380 (online); 1726-541X (print)

Creative Commons License

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License


Powered by OJS and hosted by Stellenbosch University Library and Information Service since 2011.


Disclaimer:

This journal is hosted by the SU LIS on request of the journal owner/editor. The SU LIS takes no responsibility for the content published within this journal, and disclaim all liability arising out of the use of or inability to use the information contained herein. We assume no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any breaches of agreement with other publishers/hosts.

SUNJournals Help