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Heeringa, De Wet & Van Huyssteen 2015

Heeringa, Wilbert, Febe De Wet, and Gerhard B. Van Huyssteen. 2015. “Afrikaans and Dutch as closely-related languages: A comparison to West Germanic languages and Dutch dialects.” Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics Plus 47:1-18. doi: 10.5842/47-0-649.

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

Afrikaans: Afrikaans, akoestiese afstand, mensetaaltegnologie, Nederlands, spraakhulpbronne

English: 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.

In: English

On: Afrikaans and Dutch