Lexical borrowing by Khoekhoegowab from Cape Dutch and Afrikaans

  • Wilfrid Haacke Department of General Linguistics & Department of African Languages, Stellenbosch University


The present article instantiates types of lexical borrowing from Afrikaans and Dutch in Namibian Khoekhoegowab (also known as “Nama”/“Damara”), but occasionally also refers to borrowings in the opposite direction. Where evidence allows, loans are traced back beyond Afrikaans to the era of Cape Dutch and contemporary interethnic contacts. Various categories ranging from adoptions to phonologically integrated loans, hybrids and calques are presented and, where possible, historical inferences are offered. The high degree of translational equivalence between Khoekhoe serial verbs and Afrikaans compound verbs leads to the consideration of some grammatical aspects including replication and relexification. Finally, reference is made to a parallel between Afrikaans and “Khoekhoe Afrikaans” syntax pointed out by den Besten (2013): Afrikaans circumlocutions like ek / sy wat Anna is (Khoekhoe: Anna.ta / Anna.s) are literal equivalents of the underlying phrasal structures of Khoekhoe surface nouns #stem.pgn# in first, second or third person, as accounted for by the “desentential hypothesis” (Haacke 2006).