SENSITIVE READERS SHOULD REFRAIN FROM READING THIS LINGUISTIC EXERCISE
For a laugh, here’s a bit of history you’re not likely to find in any other South African news medium. It starts most unpromisingly as a meeting (at the University of Port Elizabeth in 1997) of the Language Commission for Afrikaans – Taal Kommissie – of the Suid-Afrikaanse Akademie vir Wetenskap en Kuns. That is the gathering of worthies who determine the “standard” or correct spelling and usage of Afrikaans.
Two factors lent great promise to the occasion: the chairman was the delightful Professor of Linguistics from Stellenbosch, Johan Combrinck, and on the agenda for that day’s meeting was the word fok.