Afrikaans - Orthography

Orthography

There are many parallels to the Dutch orthography conventions and those used for Afrikaans. There are 26 letters.

In Afrikaans, many consonants are dropped from the earlier Dutch spelling. For example, slechts ('only') in Dutch becomes slegs in Afrikaans. Part of this is because the spelling of Afrikaans words is considerably more phonemic than that of Dutch. For example, Afrikaans and some Dutch dialects make no distinction between /s/ and /z/, having merged the latter into the former; while the word for "south" is written "zuid" in Dutch, it is spelled "suid" in Afrikaans to represent this merger. Similarly, the Dutch digraph "ij", normally pronounced as /ɛi/, is written as "y", except where it replaces the Dutch suffix –lijk which is pronounced as /lœk/ or /lik/, as in waarschijnlijk > waarskynlik.

Another difference is the indefinite article, 'n in Afrikaans and een in Dutch. 'A book' is 'n boek in Afrikaans, whereas it is either een boek or 'n boek in Dutch. This 'n is usually pronounced as just a weak vowel, .

The diminutive suffix in Afrikaans is "-tjie", whereas in Dutch it is "-tje", hence a "bit" is bietjie in Afrikaans and beetje in Dutch.

The letters "c", "q", "x", and "z" occur almost exclusively in borrowings from French, English, Greek and Latin. This is usually because words that had "c" and "ch" in the original Dutch are spelled with "k" and "g", respectively, in Afrikaans. Similarly original "qu" and "x" are spelt "kw" and "ks" respectively. For example "ekwatoriaal" instead of "equatoriaal", and "ekskuus" instead of "excuus".

The vowels with diacritics in non-loanword Afrikaans are: "á, é, è, ê, ë, í, î, ï, ó, ô, ú, û, ý". Diacritics are ignored when alphabetising, though they are still important, even when typing the diacritic forms may be difficult.

Read more about this topic:  Afrikaans

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