Unique research into Afrikaans #**! words

Marelize Santana -- Tue, 11/12/2019 - 11:48

Unique research into Afrikaans #**! words

Many would argue that there is nothing like an Afrikaans swear word if you really want to get something off your chest; now the Faculty of Humanities at the North-West University (NWU) is conducting a unique multidisciplinary research project on Afrikaans swear words and related phenomena.

The NWU is undertaking the project in collaboration with the Catholic University of Leuven in Belgium, the University of Pretoria and the University of the Free State, as well as a science journalist, the media and a clinical psychologist.

Prof Gerhard van Huyssteen, professor of Afrikaans and Dutch Linguistics at the NWU, says that very little multidisciplinary research has been done into swearing in the South African context. The project, Wat de Vloekwoord! (What the swear word!), seeks to fill this gap with insights from *digital humanities and input from linguistics, literature studies, communication studies, psychology, sociology, computer science and the law.

Prof Van Huyssteen says the project will not only deliver new multidisciplinary insights into Afrikaans swear words and swearing, but will also develop effective ways to present scientific knowledge in modern ways.

“Currently there are five subprojects, namely swearing and the legal world, an encyclopaedic construction of Afrikaans swear words (Vloekepedia), swearing in the world of entertainment and the media, a project website, and a project to determine to what extent swearing could be used as linguistic innovation to bring about linguistic changes in the short term,” he explains.

The main aim is to fill the void in the knowledge on and understanding of swearing in the South African context, and to investigate alternative and current opportunities for scientific communication, specifically focused on podcasts, blogs, videos and webinars.

He says the research will also contribute to the development of human capital and to cultivating a group of experts in descriptive linguistics and computer-language science in the country by offering bursaries, grants and contract work.

For more information, visit https://vloek.co.za/.

*Digital Humanities forms a bridge between the traditional practices of research and the opportunities afforded by technology, providing scholars with new ways of looking at old problems.

Prof Gerhard van Huyssteen.