Within the scope of the global partnership of institutes of German studies (GIP) between the UDE’s Department of German Studies and  the University of Namibia in Windhoek, Professor Boonen, Dr Bernhard Fisseni (Leibniz Institute for the German Language) and Professor Herman Beyer (UNAM) collaborated on a variety of projects related to the Afrikaans language. Their work produced multiple joint lectures presented at the GIP conference in July 2019 and a variety of publications. All results will be presented successively at The research partnership will continue beyond the end of the GIP in 2019.

Like composition and derivation, conversion is considered a productive word formation process. It occurs in German, Dutch and Afrikaans. But there are striking differences between the three West Germanic languages: Dutch employs forms such as zij pint, ik hockey or jij volleybalt, which must be expressed through paraphrasis in German and Afrikaans : sie zahlt mit Karte, ich spiele Hockey, du spielst Volleyball and hy betaal met ’n bankkaart, ek speel hokkie, jy speel vlugbal. The loss of inflections in Dutch may play a role in the productivity of the process, but it fails to explain why Afrikaans, another language with little inflection, does not use conversion. Another set of conversion-like expressions, such as the Dt. klappertanden, Afr. klappertand; Dt. knipogen, Afr. knipoog (literally: to chatter-tooth‚ i.e., ‘have chattering teeth’ and to wink-eye, i.e., ‘wink at’), occurs in Dutch and Afrikaans but not German. These expressions are left-hand headed and, as such, violate the generally accepted right-hand head rule, by which the right-hand word constitutes the head of a compound. Professor Boonen’s project ‘Konversion kontrastiv’ is a detailed comparative study of the status of this word formation process in the  Germanic languages.