Afrikaans Wikipedia very impressive

Sunday, April 13, 2008

1 tot en met 8: Door het Duitse Rijk afgestane gebieden na de Eerste Wereldoorlog.
1 tot en met 8: Door het Duitse Rijk afgestane gebieden na de Eerste Wereldoorlog.


Wikipedia has always had a bit of a problem with languages using bots to inflate their article counts, the most notable of which is Volapük which has over 100,000 bot-created city articles and only a few articles that are actually readable. At the opposite end of the spectrum is the Afrikaans Wikipedia, which has at present 9,500 articles but its featured articles are just as impressive as those in the English and other major Wikipedias.

For example, this week's featured article is the Second World War, and a print preview shows it to be a total of 53 pages in length. The references section shows 53 references as well, so it's quite well-sourced. Here's an example from the article:

Oorlog breek uit in Europa [wysig]

Op 1 September 1939 het Duitsland Pole ingeval, onder die valse voorwendsel van 'n "Poolse aanval" op 'n Duitse grenspos. Die Verenigde Koninkryk en Frankryk het Duitsland twee dae gegee om van Pole te onttrek. Op die derde dag, 3 September 1939, het die Verenigde Koninkryk, Australië en Nieu-Seeland oorlog teen Duitsland verklaar en het die Tweede Wêreldoorlog begin. Hul voorbeeld is gou gevolg deur Frankryk, Suid-Afrika, Kanada en Nepal. Brittanje het onmiddelik begin om Duitse skepe gevange te neem en 'n blokkade op te rig.

Ondanks die Franse en Britse verdragsverpligtings teen Pole, was beide Frankryk en Groot Brittanje polities onwillig om 'n landinval in Duitsland te loods. Die Franse se bewapeningsproses het traag verloop en het slegs 'n klein offensiewe aanval in die Saarland geloods. Nóg die Franse, nóg die Britte het betyds landmagte gestuur om Pole te ondersteun. Intussen het die Duitsers Warskou bereik, ná hulle deur die Poolse verdedigingsmagte gesny het.

Op 17 September het die Sowjetunie, in ooreenkoms met hulle geheime ooreenkoms met Duitsland, Pole uit die ooste ingeval. Die Poolse verdediging het in chaos verval, siende dat hulle skielik van twee kante af aangeval is. 'n Dag later het die Poolse president en opperbevelvoerder na Roemenië gevlug. Op 1 Oktober 1939 het die vyandige magte, na 'n maand-lange aanval op Warskou, die stad ingevaar. Die laaste Poolse eenhede het op 6 Oktober, tydens die Slag van Kock, oorgegee. Pole het self egter nooit amptelik teen die Duitsers oorgegee nie en sommige troepe het dit reggekry om na van buurlande te onttrek. In die nasleep van die inval het 'n besette Pole dit reggekry om 'n magtige Poolse Geheime Staat te skep as versettingsbeweging en het dit steeds ondersteuning aan die Geallieerdes gelewer vir die duur van die Tweede Wêreldoorlog.[6]

'n Finse troep met 'n masjiengeweer tydens die Winteroorlog.
'n Finse troep met 'n masjiengeweer tydens die Winteroorlog.

Na die val van Pole het Duitsland verdere aanvalle gestop om te hergroepeer tydens die winter van 1939-1940 tot April 1940, terwyl die Britse en Franse troepe op die verdediging gebly het. Daar is ook deur joernaliste na hierdie periode verwys as die "Skemeroorlog" of "Sitzkrieg", omdat so min werklike gevegsaksie plaasgevind het. Tydens hierdie periode het die Sowjetunie Finland op 30 November 1939 aangeval, wat die begin van die Winteroorlog aangedui het. Ten spyte van die feit dat die Sowjetse troepe vier teen een in die meerderheid was, het die Rooi Leër die aanval beskaamd moeilik gevind en die Finse verdediging 'n volskaalse inval verhoed. Die Sowjetse troepe het egter volgehou en in die einde het die Vredesverdrag van Moskou tussen die Sowjetunie en Finland veroorsaak dat Finland strategies belangrike grensgebiede naby Leningrad aan die Sowjetunie moes oordra.

Duitsland het Denemarke en Noorweë op 9 April 1940 ingeval (sien Operasie Weserübung). Denemarke het die inval nie teëgesit nie, maar Noorweë het wel teenaanvalle geloods. Die Noorweegse verdediging is egter ondermyn deur President Vidkun Quisling, wat sy land bedrieg het deur met die Sowjetunie saam te werk. Die Verenigde Koninkryk het troepe gehad wat gereed was om Noorweë te ondersteun en dié het in die noorde van die land geland.[7] Teen laat Junie is die Geallieerdes verslaan en het hulle onttrek, Duitsland het die grootste deel van Noorweë beheer en die Noorweegse leër het oorgegee, terwyl die Noorweegse Koninklike Familie na Londen ontsnap het. Duitsland het Noorweë gebruik as 'n basis vir lug- en see-aanvalle op Arktiese konvooie wat op pad na die Sowjetunie was. Noorweegse guerillastryders sou egter regdeur die oorlog teen die Duitse besetting aanhou veg.


It's interesting that the Afrikaans Wikipedia is working so hard at the quality of its articles, and I think there are two reasons for that. One is the unfounded impression that Afrikaans is somehow just Dutch with bad grammar, not suitable for educated subjects, that sort of thing. That's false of course, and I suspect part of the focus on quality is to combat this idea. The other reason why (again I'm guessing here) is probably that it's quite easy to go to the Dutch or English Wikipedia (the former is the closest language to Afrikaans, the latter is an official language of South Africa) to find information. With a Wikipedia like the Korean Wikipedia this is not so easy, as Korean and English don't 'mesh' very well, and it takes a lot longer to translate content between the two languages. On the other hand there's already a lot of information already in Korean so for them most of the time it's easier to just use Korean information only from the start.


There's one other reason why I like their Wikipedia, and that's my theory that Afrikaans could make a good 'starter language' for those interested in German but hate complex grammar. Dutch is easier for English speakers to learn than German, but it's still complex enough that you have to think about verb conjugation, grammatical gender and so on, so if you compare the two languages in a cost vs. benefit-type analysis, I think German still wins out. (Here I'm looking at languages in a completely mercenary way. If you have personal reasons to want to learn Dutch then of course go with that instead of German.) But Afrikaans is on a completely different level. Grammatical gender is gone, verb conjugation is pretty much gone. The only thing a student of Afrikaans really has to worry about is:
  • The pronunciation of g.
  • Adjectives. They change in form slightly before a noun like in most Germanic languages. Still not too difficult though. And, of course:
  • Word order. This last one is actually a good thing though because of how it helps the student get used to word order in West Germanic languages.
That means that with Afrikaans, unlike other Germanic languages, you spend most of your time on vocabulary, and much less time on grammar. That lets you plunge straight into words like Verenigde Staten (United States, German Vereinigten Staaten), Inwonertal (population, German Einwohnerzahl), and Onafhankelijkheidsverklaring (declaration of independence, Geraman Unabhängigkeitserklärung) without having to worry about die, der, das, den, dem, keiner, keinem, and all the rest while you're at it.

The only problem is that Afrikaans isn't used as much as the others, which is precisely why I'm always happy to see the Afrikaans Wikipedia with such good content. The more of this the better.

A good way to start hearing Afrikaans is through these podcasts, and on this site. Let me know if you have any other particularly good places to learn the language.

7 comments:

Jean said...

I liked your post! Two comments:
- the image and caption that heads it are in Dutch, not Afrikaans;
- as is "Verenigde Staten" -- it's without the trailing -n in Afrikaans.

Anonymous said...

Why would you want to learn Afrikaans though? Isn't it the language of Apartheid?

Jean said...

English is the language of the empire that invented concentration camps http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Concentration_camp#Concentration_camps and was built on slaves http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/British_Empire#cite_ref-23

No language is "clean".

Anonymous said...

Yeah but most South Africans that speak Afrikaans are far-right, white, racist radicals.

Anonymous said...

As stated before, you can apply your "theory" to every language on earth. Stating that most Afrikaans speakers are far-right, white, racist radicals, is not only grossly off-topic, but it is also an extremely subjective opinion coming from a mind deprived in all possible ways of every possible thing it can be deprived from.

And it lacks a citation.

Anonymous said...

"Yeah but most South Africans that speak Afrikaans are far-right, white, racist radicals."

1) That's absurd. It's similar to stating that all Germans who speak German are Nazi's.

2) By the way, more than 1 million coloured people's mother tongue is Afrikaans as well.

Anonymous said...

"By the way, more than 1 million coloured people's mother tongue is Afrikaans as well."

You do realise that "coloured" is politically incorrect and has been used in highly derogratory and racist ways throughout history. You should've used "black" or something. It just shows how racist you are. You may pretend that all is good and merry in South Africa but it isn't. There's huge racial tension and it's all because of red necks like you.

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