Wednesday, 4 July 2012

Afrikaans spelling

I've been quiet for a long, long time now! As I mentioned in my last post (goodness, that sounds like some sort of death knell!) on December 29th, 2011, I was planning to take a break from these articles because I had some other things I wanted to work on. Well, I am pleased to say that one of those projects has come to fruition ... A book in English explaining the most important spelling rules of Afrikaans. It's titled Diacs and quirks in a nutshell – Afrikaans spelling explained, and has the most delightful little creature on the front cover, with most of its facial features made up of the diacritic signs used in Afrikaans writing.

Details about the book (including where and how you can buy copies of it – both printed and e-versions) can be found at

Many people may wonder why I've written this little book. It's very simple: 
the definitive reference work on Afrikaans spelling, Afrikaanse Woordelys en Spelreëls (AWS), is written in fairly academic Afrikaans, and therefore assumes a readership made up of people
who are – at the very least – quite proficient in the language. Yet there are hundreds of thousands of non-mother-tongue speakers of Afrikaans, both in South Africa and abroad, who cannot read and comprehend Afrikaans at that level, but who either need to know, or want to know, how the rules work. My book is aimed at “opening up” the rules – and also the AWS itself – to them. And, of course, being able to spell better contributes greatly to being able to communicate more clearly. So to use the modern (hopelessly overworked) buzzword, one might say it’s all about empowerment! I’m frankly astounded, I must add, that a book like this wasn’t written a long time ago – long before my own first (not very good) attempt in 2000.

My next project is to translate it (with some minor adaptations) into Afrikaans.


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