Dutch parliament is bilingual Dutch - Afrikaans for a while

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

An article here in Afrikaans gives an interesting example of the mutual intelligibility of Dutch and Afrikaans, through a hearing on the situation of Afrikaans in South Africa. During the hearing questions were asked in Dutch, answered in Afrikaans:

Die IPK bestaan uit Nederlandse en Vlaamse Parlementslede en hul vrae is in Nederlands gevra en in Afrikaans geantwoord. Wat ‘n voorreg om Afrikaans te hoor in die setel van demokrasie in Den Haag!
= The IPK (interparliamentary committee) is composed of Dutch and Flemish members of parliament and its questions were asked in Dutch and answered in Afrikaans. What a privilege to hear Afrikaans in the seat of democracy in The Hague!

When mutual intelligibility is discussed it's important to keep in mind that there are generally two types:

Type 1: If you take a speaker of language A and ask him to listen to a conversation by speakers of language B, how much can be understood?

Type 2: If you take a speaker of language A and put him in a room with a speaker of language B and they have to accomplish a certain task only using their native languages, how easy is it to accomplish?

This Dutch - Afrikaans situation shows an example of Type 2. The task to accomplish is a hearing, and the participants are eager to understand and be understood as well as possible.


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