Johanita Kirsten, senior lecturer in Afrikaans Linguistics at the Vaal Triangle Campus of the North-West University in South Africa, is interested in recent and ongoing changes in Afrikaans language use. She completed her MA and PhD in Afrikaans and Dutch (Historical Linguistics) at the NWU under supervision of prof. Bertus van Rooy, and received the ABSA Bronze Medal for her MA dissertation. The research topics she has published on include changes in the verbal system of written Afrikaans during initial standardization of Afrikaans in the early 20th century, changes regarding temporal reference in Afrikaans during the course of the 20th and early 21st century, and how this links to theories of language change; another focus of her work is issues of language purity in the historical descriptions of Afrikaans and ideological issues in published linguistic research. She continues to research different recent and ongoing changes in Afrikaans usage, as well as ideological issues in Afrikaans linguistics. She has been teaching undergraduate and postgraduate Afrikaans Linguistics modules at the NWU since 2012, and supervises postgraduate studies in Afrikaans Linguistics and General Linguistics.

INTERESTS:Afrikaans historical linguistics; language variation and change; language contact; sociolinguistics


Kirsten, Johanita. 2019. Written Afrikaans since Standardization: A Century of Change. Lanham, MD: Lexington Books.

Kotzé, Ian & Johanita Kirsten. 2019. Die invloed van agenthebbende passiefkonstruksies op die veranderende gebruik van die setsel 'deur'. [The influence of agentive passive constructions on the changing use of the adposition 'deur'.] Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe, 59(1):36-53.

Kirsten, Johanita. 2018. "Dit gaan nog belangrik word": Veranderinge in grammatikale toekomsverwysing in Afrikaans. ["Dit gaan nog belangrik word": Changes in grammatical future reference in Afrikaans.] Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe, 58(2):277-292.

Kirsten, Johanita. 2017. Afrikaans. In: The Social and Political History of Southern Africa's Languages, edited by Tomasz Kamusella & Finex Ndhlovu. London: Palgrave Macmillan. p. 13-30.

Kirsten, Johanita. 2017. What is in a language: Essentialism in macro-sociolinguistic research on Afrikaans. International Journal of the Sociology of Language, 248:159-195.

Kotzé, Ian & Johanita Kirsten. 2016. The heritage of a language: Discourses of purism in Afrikaans historical linguistics. Language Matters, 47(3):349-371.

Kirsten, Johanita. 2016. Veranderinge in adverbiale tydsverwysing in Afrikaans van 1911 tot 2010 [Changes in adverbial temporal reference in Afrikaans from 1911 to 2010]. Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe, 56(1):45-61.

Kirsten, Johanita. 2016. Frequency effects and structural change – the Afrikaans preterite. Stellenbosch Papers in Linguistics, 45:147-168.

Kirsten, Johanita. 2015. The use of was in Afrikaans passive constructions: a diachronic corpus study. Southern African Linguistics and Applied Language Studies, 33(2):159-170.

Kirsten, Johanita. 2013. Totius en die standaardisering van vroeg-moderne Afrikaanse werkwoorde [Totius and the standardization of early-modern Afrikaans verbs]. Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe, 53(1):60-75.

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