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The Afrikaans section on Taalportaal is the result of a project of Virtual Institute for Afrikaans (VivA). The first phase of the project ran from October 2014 to April 2020; the first topics were released publicly on 6 May 2020, and the final topics on 21 May 2020 (UNESCO's World Day for Diversity for Dialogue and Development).

The Nederlandse Organisatie voor Wetenschappelijk Onderzoek (NWO) awarded €1.7 million for the period 2011-2015 to the Taalportaal Consortium (consisting of the Meertens Institute, Fryske Academy, University of Leiden and Instituut voor Nederlandse Lexicologie (Institute for Dutch Lexicology)), with the object of compiling a comprehensive, comparative grammar for Dutch and Frisian. In discussions with the Taalportaal Consortium it became clear that their project afforded a huge opportunity for creating a comparative, comprehensive description of Afrikaans that would position Afrikaans internationally as a language of scientific interest.

Subsequently, an association agreement between the Meertens Institute (Amsterdam, The Netherlands) and the Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns (South African Academy for Science and Arts) was signed, while funding was obtained from the Dagbreek Trust (Daybreak Trust). This meant that planning of the Afrikaans Taalportaal subproject could commence in all earnest at the beginning of 2014, while also leading directly to the establishment of VivA.

VivA is a non-profit company, aimed at the development of digital resources for and knowledge of Afrikaans in the digital era. It is an initiative of the Afrikaanse Taal- en Kultuurvereniging (Afrikaans Language and Culture Association), North-West University, the Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns (South African Academy for Science and Arts) and Trust vir Afrikaanse Onderwys (Trust for Afrikaans Education), in partnership with various local and international universities, institutions and funders.

Digital resources for linguists
Many of the resources that are available via VivA's website, and other initiatives of which VivA is part, are the indirect results of the leading role that VivA played in the Afrikaans Taalportaal project. These resources are invaluable for scholars interested in the linguistics of Afrikaans.
  • VivA's digital resources
    VivA's corpus portal is an online corpus query platform where most of the publicly available Afrikaans corpora (supplied by various corpus providers/developers) are available. This portal was developed and is maintained by the North-West University's Centre for Text Technology (CTexT).
  • In 2017, VivA commenced with an online project to develop an Afrikaans speech atlas. The atlas consists of numerous recordings of Afrikaans people – from all over the world – reading an Afrikaans translation of Aesop's fable, The North Wind and the Sun. These recordings are plotted on a map, and are available here; they are also available for research purposes.
  • A large collection of both commercial and free dictionaries and terminology lists are available on VivA's dictionary portal and via their dictionary apps for Android, iOS, and Windows.
  • Although VivA's language advice portal is aimed more at language practitioners, linguists might also find value in using the service, especially with regards to questions about translations, or questions about the acceptability of a particular construction in general Afrikaans, as well as in Standard Afrikaans.
  • A direct corollary of the Afrikaans Taalportaal project is a project to develop a comprehensive grammar of Afrikaans, called the Algemene Afrikaanse Grammatika ( General Afrikaans Grammar). This grammar is being written (since 2019) in Afrikaans, using the same technology platforms as Taalportaal, and using the Afrikaans Taalportaal topics as point of departure. This grammar is aimed at graduate and postgraduate students of Afrikaans, and will probably be completed during 2021.
  • Emanating from the Algemene Afrikaanse Grammatika, is the Afrikaanse Skoolgrammatika ( Afrikaans School Grammar) – a concise grammar written in Afrikaans and aimed at Afrikaans teachers. This project also commenced in 2019, and will also probably be completed during 2021.
  • Initiatives
    The International Afrikaans Grammar Workshop is organised bi-annually as a collaboration between VivA, the Meertens Institute (Amsterdam, The Netherlands), the University of Ghent (Belgium), and the University of Michigan (USA). Information on previous and future instalments of the workshop is available here.
  • Other resources
    Another important component of the grammar project is the integration and maintenance of the Digitale Bibliografie van die Afrikaanse Taalkunde ( Digital Bibliography of Afrikaans Linguistics). DBAT contains bibliographic records of Afrikaans linguistics publications, and is compiled by personnel members of the Afrikaans and Dutch subject group in the School of Languages at the North-West University, with the technical and logistic support of the university's library, as well as CTexT. This bibliography, which also contains links to full-text versions of many publications, is available via VivA's website, and it serves as the basis for all bibliographic references on Taalportaal.

Afrikaans linguistics in the 21st century
The aim of the project was to develop a comprehensive, comparative, scientific online grammar (phonology, morphology and syntax, as well as bibliography) of Afrikaans – building on a long and rich tradition of linguistics in and on Afrikaans. Of course, this is a task and project that could never be completed for a living language. In that sense, Taalportaal is merely a foundation for – hopefully – plentiful more future research on Afrikaans linguistics.

VivA, its collaborators, and all the authors and moderators hope that Taalportaal will be a valuable resource for South African and international scholars with an interest in Afrikaans, and that it will stimulate further research in the wonderful world of linguistics, language change, and language contact, in order to better our understanding of human language processing, and the role of language in the interaction between humans and their world.

Outstanding matters as on 21 May 2020

At the time of the official release of the Afrikaans Taalportaal (21 May 2020), a number of matters are still outstanding, as listed below.

  • The Afrikaans Morphology section is scheduled for completion during the first quarter of 2021. The list of affixes (and descriptions of these affixes) is far from complete, and will also be continuously extended (also beyond 2021).
  • Quality and consistency control by the editor-in chief across all subjects and topics will be ongoing until the end of 2021, when the projects regarding the Algemene Afrikaanse Grammatika ( General Afrikaans Grammar) and the Afrikaanse Skoolgrammatika ( Afrikaans School Grammar) are scheduled for completion. Since these three projects are closely intertwined, it is unavoidable that changes will need to be made continuously to refine and align the three grammars.
  • Editing and proofreading by a professional text editor also remain future work, depending on the availability of funding.
  • The glossary needs to be updated and aligned across the three languages, while it is also VivA's vision to make the glossary available in other languages.
  • Integration with corpora and dictionaries – similar to the way it works for Dutch and Frisian – still needs to be implemented.
  • Integration with the Digital Bibliography of Afrikaans Linguistics also needs to be refined, to ensure that there is complete alignment between this invaluable resource and Taalportaal.

The aim of this section is to provide:

In another section of the front matter, we described various conventions used in theAfrikaans part on Taalportaal.


  • Originators of the Afrikaans project:
    • Prof Wannie Carstens (North-West University)
    • Dr Theuns Eloff (Dagbreek Trust)
    • Prof Rufus Gouws (Stellenbosch University)
    • Prof Ernst Kotzé (Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University)
    • Prof Gerhard van Huyssteen (North-West University)
  • Project leader and editor-in-chief of the Afrikaans project:
    • Prof Gerhard van Huyssteen (North-West University)
  • Technical and technology advisors of the Afrikaans project:
    • Dr Roald Eiselen (North-West University)
    • Dr Martin Puttkammer (North-West University)


  • Afrikaans phonology
    • Prof Daan Wissing (North-West University)
  • Afrikaans morphology
    • Prof Gerhard van Huyssteen (North-West University)
  • Afrikaans syntax
    • Prof Adri Breed (North-West University)
    • Prof Jac Conradie (University of Johannesburg)
    • Prof Johanita Kirsten (North-West University)
    • Prof Ernst Kotzé (Nelson Mandela Metropolitan University)
    • Prof Bertus van Rooy (North-West University)


  • Afrikaans phonology
    • Prof Ian Bekker (North-West University)
  • Afrikaans morphology
    • Ms Suléne Pilon (University of Pretoria)
  • Afrikaans syntax
    • Prof Adri Breed (North-West University)
    • Dr Cecilia Erasmus (North-West University)
    • Prof Johanita Kirsten (North-West University)
    • Prof Bertus van Rooy (North-West University)

[+]Other collaborators on the Afrikaans project

  • Centre for Text Technology (CTexT®), North-West University
    • Ms Marli Coetzee (later VivA)
    • Mr Wildrich Fourie
    • Mr Rico Koen
    • Mr Albertus Kruger
    • Mr Wikus Pienaar
    • Dr Martin Puttkammer
  • From 2014-2016, the following collaborators were part of this project:
    • Prof Lande Botha (North-West University): Syntax author
    • Prof Ilse Feinauer (Stellenbosch University): Syntax moderator
    • Prof Haidee Kotze (then North-West University; now Utrecht University): Syntax author and moderator
    • Prof Piet Swanepoel (University of South Africa): Morphology author and Syntax author

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