The use of KAAPS in newspapers

  • Anastasia de Vries University of the Western Cape


In the increasingly competitive media landscape newspapers, among others, are under
pressure from digital and social media. As a result, the performance and positioning
of traditional Afrikaans newspapers like Rapport, Beeld, Die Burger and Volksblad, as
well as the forms of Afrikaans they use, are constantly scrutinised in surveys about the
relevance and profitability of the Afrikaans print media. These surveys often point to
the use of Afrikaans ‘as spoken by the people’ in emerging newspapers like Son and
Son op Sondag, as the main reason for the growing popularity, healthy sales figures
and advertising revenue of these two newspapers. As a result, Son developed into the
largest Afrikaans daily in an Afrikaans print market long dominated by established
titles like Beeld, Die Burger and Volksblad. In view of this, this contribution will firstly
investigate the profitability (in monetary terms and circulation) of actually using Kaaps
in newspapers. Secondly, it will focus attention on the use of this form of Afrikaans
in traditional newspapers in which Standard Afrikaans is the dominant form. The
question is: What is the nature of the Kaaps in these newspapers compared to the
Kaaps in Son specifically? The aim of this contribution is to explore how Afrikaans
newspapers create space for the use of colloquial varieties in general and Kaaps
specifically, and to determine the relevance or function of Kaaps in the news domain.
On the one hand the focus will be on columns in which Kaaps is the medium and on
the other, on newspaper articles about the Afrikaans language variety. The data on
which this paper is based were firstly, the responses to a list of questions posed to the
news-editor of Son, and secondly a critical content analysis and interpretation of the
manifestations of Kaaps in this newspaper in comparison to the forms in the more
established Afrikaans newspapers. The general perceptions of, and attitudes towards,
the use of colloquial varieties of Afrikaans, collated in a 2012 survey among readers,
are also taken into account.