Sociolinguistic Studies, Vol 12, No 3-4 (2018)

‘We don’t need another Afrikaans’: Adequation and distinction in South-African and Flemish language policies

Jürgen Jaspers, Michael Meeuwis
Issued Date: 2 May 2019


It has long been recognised that the similarity or difference between ways of speaking and their possible institutionalisation as ‘languages' is an ideological matter, a matter of social opinions, rather than one of objective systemic relatedness. This paper emphasises that such language ideologies in any society are always to some extent competitive, that such lack of consensus is not a temporary stage in between moments of shared opinion but a fundamental aspect of the social life of language, and that the expansion or decline of particular sociolinguistic opinions is interactive with cultural changes, metacultural discourses, as well as political agendas. We argue this through a discussion of the valorisation and countervalorisation of linguistic practices in Flanders (Belgium) and South Africa. Drawing attention to discrepancies between articulated and embodied ideologies, we suggest it is the complex interaction of language ideologies with other factors, rather than the mechanical outcome of linguistic conditions, that drove the eventual recognition of Afrikaans in South Africa and the continuing absence of such a process with respect to ‘Flemish' in Flanders.

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DOI: 10.1558/sols.32703


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