Written by Dyami Millarson
Today is a beautiful Saturday; the sun is shining, there is white snow outside which is reflecting beams of sunlight into our living room making it brighter than usual and this joyful weather at the beginning of the year seems an excellent opportunity for announcing the beginning of something new.
After careful deliberation at the beginning of this year about learning Afrikaans, I have decided to go for it. This article marks the official beginning of my Afrikaans language challenge. In my article celebrating the fact that our blog had reached 3,500 WordPress followers, I alluded to the potential of comparing Afrikaans and the Frisian languages. I needed some time to prepare for my Afrikaans language challenge because I wanted to carefully consider the planning of my language challenge as well as collect all the materials that I will be using for my language challenge. There is the following saying in Frisian: In goed begjin is in daalder wurdich. It means literally: A good start is worth a dollar. Another variant of this saying in Frisian goes as follows: In goed begjin is de helte fan it wurk. This may be translated as: A good start is 50% of all the work. Both variants of this saying exist in Dutch as well. In any case, this saying is a good reflection of the traditional Frisian/Dutch work ethic and it offers an explanation for why I put so much thought and effort into the preparation for my Afrikaans language challenge.
My three main questions for myself about the Afrikaans language challenge were as follows: (1) why do I want to learn Afrikaans, (2) what do I need or at least what materials can I find for learning Afrikaans and (3) for how long will I be studying Afrikaans intensively? While others have focused on studying the connection between Dutch and Frisian and the connection between Afrikaans and Dutch, the connection between Afrikaans and Frisian has not been focused on that much. Comparing Frisian and Afrikaans has been done en passant, but it has not been made the main focus of research efforts. Pairing the Frisian languages and Afrikaans should be at least as interesting as pairing Dutch and Frisian or Dutch and Afrikaans. I deem it unfortunate that this pair has been overlooked for so long and I aim to make my contributions to correcting that. The linguistic comparison between Afrikaans and the Frisian languages, particularly those of the Netherlands, will be one of the research interests of Foundation Operation X going forward. The first step in the right direction for correcting the linguistic error of overlooking the Afrikaans-Frisian pairing will definitely be the intensive study of the Afrikaans language over the course of a few months. Extensive knowledge of Afrikaans is, in my estimation, a prerequisite for the comparative study of Afrikaans and the Frisian languages.
These are the materials that I will be using for studying Afrikaans:
- A Grammar of Afrikaans (1993) by Bruce C. Donaldson
- Colloquial Afrikaans (2000) by Bruce Donaldson
- Teach Yourself Afrikaans (2010) by Lydia McDermott
My Afrikaans language challenge will last 2-3 months. The intended outcome of my Afrikaans language challenge is that I will be able to easily write articles in Afrikaans and speak the language fluently, and therefore the success of my language challenge can be measured or assessed by the degree of my ability to speak and write the language. I have always aimed to become like a native speaker as fast as possible; whenever I undertake a language challenge, I want to integrate as fast as possible with the community of speakers that uses the target language in their daily lives. My wish is to make writing and speaking Afrikaans just as natural to me as Dutch and any of the Frisian languages.