The Trilingual Dictionary of Kaaps.

The Conversation reports on a new dictionary:

It’s been in existence since the 1500s but the Kaaps language, synonymous with Cape Town in South Africa, has never had a dictionary until now. The Trilingual Dictionary of Kaaps has been launched by a collective of academic and community stakeholders – the Centre for Multilingualism and Diversities Research at the University of the Western Cape along with the hip hop-driven community NGO Heal the Hood Project. The dictionary – in Kaaps, English and Afrikaans – holds the promise of being a powerful democratic resource. Adam Haupt, director of the Centre for Film & Media Studies at the University of Cape Town, is involved in the project and tells us more.

(If you click on the dictionary link, you see an “About us” section, which on the Afrikaans side is designated “Oo ons.” I didn’t want anyone to miss that delightful phrase.) Here’s the first part of the interview:

What is Kaaps and who uses the language?

Kaaps or Afrikaaps is a language created in settler colonial South Africa, developed by the 1500s. It took shape as a language during encounters between indigenous African (Khoi and San), South-East Asian, Dutch, Portuguese and English people. It could be argued that Kaaps predates the emergence of an early form of Kaaps-Hollands (the South African variety of Dutch that would help shape Afrikaans). Traders and sailors would have passed through this region well before formal colonisation commenced. Also consider migration and movement on the African continent itself. Every intercultural engagement would have created an opportunity for linguistic exchange and the negotiation of new meaning.

Today, Kaaps is most commonly used by largely working class speakers on the Cape Flats, an area in Cape Town where many disenfranchised people were forcibly moved by the apartheid government. It’s used across all online and offline contexts of socialisation, learning, commerce, politics and religion. And, because of language contact and the temporary and seasonal migration of speakers from the Western Cape, it is written and spoken across South Africa and beyond its borders.

It is important to acknowledge the agency of people from the global South in developing Kaaps – for example, the language was first taught in madrassahs (Islamic schools) and was written in Arabic script. This acknowledgement is imperative especially because Afrikaner nationalists appropriated Kaaps in later years.

Visit the link for more on the dictionary and how it came about. Thanks, Trevor!

Comments

  1. Great work. I wasn’t aware that this language ever existed, and tnere it was right under our noses.

    😉

  2. David L. Gold says

    It is hard to see how Kaaps can go back to the 1500s because the first Dutch-speaking presence in what is now South Africa was in April 1652, when Jan van Riebeeck established a refreshment station in what is now Cape Town for Dutch ships bound for the East Indies.

    It is true that Dutch ships had reached the East Indies before April 1652, the first being the four commanded by Frederick de Houtman (left Europe in 1595 and returned in 1597) and the second, the eight commanded by Jacob Corneliszoon van Neck (left in 1598 and returned in1599).

    Even if all twelve of those ships stopped in what is now South Africa both when going to the East Indies and returning to Europe (did they?), that would not have been enough to trigger the beginnings of Kaaps, which more likely started to emerge by no earlier than April 1652 (Van Riebeeck had spent 18 days at the Cape of Good Hope in 1645, his stay probably not having any linguistic consequences for the local population).

    Unless someone can offer a plausible scenario for the beginnings of Kaaps in the 1500s, I wonder whether pushing its beginnings back to the sixteenth century (instead of after 1652) is not an attempt to give it a history separate from that of Afrikaans.

    With a very high degree of mutual intelligibility between Kaaps and Afrikaans, it is nard not to see the two as sharing the same roots going back to Van Riebeeck’s refreshment station, but we all know that non-linguistic considerations can lead to opinions different from those of linguists (cf. the separation of Moldavian and Rumanian, Karelian and Finnish, Galician and Portuguese, and so on).

    Kaaps oo ons ‘about us’ = Afrikaans oor ons ‘idem’. Kaaps being non-rhotic, the absence of word-final /r/ is expected.

  3. Athel Cornish-Bowden says

    (cf. the separation of Moldavian and Rumanian, Karelian and Finnish, Galician and Portuguese, and so on)

    I’m glad to see that I’m not the only one who still puts a u in “Rumanian”. For years I wrote it as “Roumanian”, but eventually dropped the o after being convinced that that was due to French influence.

  4. @Athel CB

    That’s what the Stanley Gibbons Stamp Catalogue also calls the country.

    The Catalogue is a repository of 19th century usage.

    It still uses ‘Argentine’ for the South American republic. And it staunchly stuck to calling the USSR ‘Russia’ throughout the 20th century – but hey – that one got vindicated.

    (Strangely, the stamps issued by Kampuchea are found under K, while Cambodian stamps are under C – but I digress.)

  5. Strangely, the stamps issued by Kampuchea are found under K, while Cambodian stamps are under C

    Very odd!

  6. “my field of linguistics”, “pseudo-linguists”, “Afrikaans (after apartheid) has seen a consistent growth in literature and practice at an exponential pace. This, of course, is in part due to the explosive growth of Kaaps.

    Does he means census?

    increace: 1991-1996 1996-2001 2001-2011
    whites..: -633,303 ,-141,057 , 293,198
    coloureds: 314,446 , 394,059 , 620,896
    Afrikaans: ------- , 171,879 , 871,656

  7. increaSe, sorry. I do not understand what he means by “growth in literature and practice”:(

    I am not sure if conservation laws are applicable to amount of speaking by the same number of speakers.
    Can people start talking more?
    If not, growth is possible with population growth or with decline in use of a competing langauge.

    But, of course, what is possible is colonization of new spaces, like the Internet. There was not much internet about in Afrika in 1991. Honesetly, even in 2011.

    AfriCa, sorry.

  8. David L. Gold says

    The currently oldest-known document in Rumanian is a letter written by Neacșu from Câmpulung in 1521), in which he calls Wallachia Țeara Rumânească and from that document down to the nineteenth century there is an unbroken chain of attestations in Rumanian of the spelling with u (for example, Rumânia in the writings of Tudor Vladimirescu, who led the Wallachian uprising against the Ottoman Empire in 1821)..

    Hence also English Rumania ~ Roumania, Esperanto Rumanio, Estonian Rumeenia, French Roumanie, German Rumänien, Japanese ルーマニア (Rūmani), Polish Rumunia, Russian Румыния (Rumyniya), Spanish Rumanía (in Spain) ~ Rumania (in the Western Hemisphere), Swedish Rumänien, Volapük Rumän, Yidish רומעניע (rumenye), and probably at least a few more languages.

    However, it is not hard to find early attestations of o, which became more frequent in the nineteenth century, when stirrings of Rumanian nationalism led to rebellions against Ottoman rule in Moldavia and Wallachia, which culminated in their independence.

    Rumanian nationalism eventually came to have a linguistic program, namely, emphasizing ties to ancient Rome, whether real or imagined:

    1. Replacement of the Cyrillic alphabet by the Roman one. That goal was achieved throughout the country.

    2. Spelling the name of the country (and derivatives thereof) with o instead of u . That goal was achieved throughout the country, as a result of which the same shift occurred in other languages too, though not all (see the sample of retentions in the second paragraph above).

    3. Concocting a significant number of etymologies to show that certain Rumanian words are of Latin origin when in fact they are not. That sham was eventually abandoned. In fact, a good case can be made for the claim that Rumanian is not a Romance language (in the sense that it is not a continuation of Latin) but a continuation of Thraco-Dacian with borrowings from Latin, Slavic, Greek, Turkish, and maybe some other languages (see Mihai Vinereanu’s introduction to his and his team’s etymological dictionary of Rumanian here: https://www.academia.edu/9103550/Introduction_to_the_Etymological_Dictionary_of_Romanian).

    The most eloquent plea for the spellings with u is:

    Ferguson, Thaddeus. 1974. “Linguistic Nationalism in Rumania.” Geolinguistics. Vol. 1. Pp. 55-65, esp. pp. 59-60.

    Most of the debunking of the pseudo-etymologies is in Rumanian-language publications. This one, not original with the author, is in English:

    Gold, David L. 2009. “When Chauvinism Interferes in Etymological Research: A Few Observations on the Supposed Vulgar Latin Derivation of Rumanian pastramă ~ păstramă, a Noun of Immediate Turkish Origin (With Preliminary Remarks on Related Words in Albanian, Arabic, Armenian, English, French, Greek, Hebrew, Judezmo, Polish, Russian, SerboCroatian, Spanish, Turkish, Ukrainian, and Yiddish).” In his Studies in Etymology and Etiology (With Emphasis on Germanic, Jewish, Romance, and Slavic Languages) / Selected and Edited, with a Foreword, by Félix Rodríguez González and Antonio Lillo Buades. Alicante. Publicaciones de la Universidad de Alicante. Pp. 271-375 [one of the reviewers of the book suggests a Greek rather than a Turkish immediate origin].

  9. David Marjanović says

    In fact, a good case can be made for the claim that Rumanian is not a Romance language (in the sense that it is not a continuation of Latin) but a continuation of Thraco-Dacian with borrowings from Latin, Slavic, Greek, Turkish, and maybe some other languages

    Oh come on, that’s just the “we are the Dacians, even more original than the Romans” strain of R_manian nationalism that has replaced the “we are the Romans” one. It’s Romance just like how English is West Germanic.

  10. David Marjanović says

    Instructive quotes:

    As a result one may say that Romanian is not a real Romance language as it was believed, but the daughter language of Thraco-Dacian with some Latin, Slavic or other lexical borrowings. The paper also reveals that Thraco-Dacian (and Illyrian) were closely related to Celtic and Italic languages and by analyzing the Romanian lexicon of Thraco-Dacian origin, it shows also that this language was a centum language, contrary to the general belief that it was a satem lanaguage. A beginnig of Romanization may have taken place, but not a Romanization proper.

    How convenient.

    The third hypothesis considers that the Romanian language is of Thraco-Dacian origin which, over a period of 2000 years was influenced by Latin, Slavic, or other languages. In this context, I have to mention that Thraco-Illyrian dialects were closely related to the Italic languages (dialects), since most Italic tribes migrated from either the Balkan Peninsula, the Middle Danube Valley (today‟s Hungary or Pannonia as it was called in ancient times), or from Upper Danube Valley (today‟s southern Germany). In other words, many of so-called „Latin‟ words are not, in fact, of Latin origin, but they belong to a common Thraco-Illyro-Italic heritage.

    These migration paths are new hypotheses. Evidence is not provided.

    O. Schrader (1890) shows that Pytheas the Massiliotte, a Greek navigator who traveled into the North Sea, mentioned the Celts who were situated west of the Rhine River, while Scythians were situated to the east of it. By Scythians, he meant Dacians.

    …obviously.

    Furthermore, the Roman writer Marcus Antonius, a Celt from Gaul, says that Gaulish and Osco-Umbrian have a common origin (cf. A. de Jubainville, 1894), in other words, Oscans and Umbrians were offshoots of the Celts. He lived in 1st century BC, and he was a native speaker of Gaulish, being able to see similarities between Gaulish and Osco-Umbrian which share some common features that make them different from Latin. Regarding the Latino-Faliscans, archaeological evidence shows that they migrated from the Middle Danube Valley, as the bearers of the Villanovan culture of Italy. Velleius Paterculus (11.100), an officer in the Roman army during the Roman-Pannonian war at the beginning of 1st century AD and Roman historian, tells us that “omnibus autem Pannonis non disciplinae tantum modo, sed linguae quoqoue notitia Romanae” (“all Pannonians have not only Roman (military) discipline, but they have also knowledge of Roman language”). The explanation of this apparently bizarre statement can be simply explained by the fact that the Romans‟ ancestors migrated from this region about 1,500 years before.

    Extrapolation far beyond the data.

    The PIE velar *k’ turned in Thraco-Dacian into its non-palatal counterpart (and inherited as such in Romanian). Thus, the noun cârd „herd, flock‟ is derived from PIE *k’erdho, *k’erdha-. Therefore, in this Romanian noun (*k’) was de-labialized turning into a simple velar as in any centum language. Cognates in the centum group: Greek κόρθος „heap‟, Old Irish crod „wealth, cattle‟, Welsh cordd „group, crowd‟, Gothic hairda „herd, flock‟, Old Scandinavian hjord „id‟, OHG heord „id‟, as well as Lithuanian kerdžius „shepherd‟ from a *kerda „herd‟.

    Cognates in the satem group: Sanskrit śardha „herd‟, Avestan sarəda „tribe, kind‟, OCS čreda „herd, flock‟.

    On the other hand, there are in Romanian two more nouns which are derived from the same root:
    ciurdă and cireadă with close meanings, each of them used in different dialects of Romanian. Older etymological dictionaries consider these last two forms to be of Slavic origin, namely from OCS čreda, but ciurdă does not show the metathesis of the liquid (r) as in Old Church Slavonic. In other words, it is derived rather from a Thraco-Dacian *kerda > *cirda, while cireadă may be or may not be influenced by the Old Church Slavonic form. Thus, cârd is derived from a little different form *kerd > *kǝrd, where the PIE *e turned into a schwa which stopped the further palatalization of the velar k.

    What a mess.

    1) Positing an uncommented *a in PIE is a sign the author may just have missed the last few decades of research on PIE.
    2) The “OHG” form is Old English.
    3) The OCS word cannot be cognate because it doesn’t begin with s-.
    4) Yes, “ciurdă does not show the metathesis of the liquid (r) as in Old Church Slavonic.” But Slavic influence in the region didn’t start when OCS was first written down. It started several hundred years earlier. The metathesis still hadn’t happened when the Slavs reached the Adriatic!
    5) It can’t be derived from OCS, so “Thraco-Dacian” is literally the only other option!?! If that’s the kind of logic the book is built on, I really don’t need to read further.

    BTW, I can’t see why cireadă wouldn’t be a straight-up loan from OCS-type Slavic.

    I agree entirely with the argument that Eastern Romance can’t have formed in Romania because Roman rule was 1) too short and shaky and 2) only covered 1/5 of the preceding kingdom of Dacia. But Vinereanu seems to be unaware of a hypothesis that is, IIRC, at least 20 years old: Eastern Romance formed together with Pre-Albanian in the Roman province of Illyria, roughly in Serbia. When the empire ended, this bilingual society unmixed itself: some people went south, speaking Albanian with a heaping helping of Latin loanwords, others went east, speaking Romance with a thick layer of words shared specifically with Albanian – apparently in such numbers that the Dacian language disappeared in the process, apart from, no doubt, another layer of loans.

  11. Not every hypothesis has to be examined in detail — life is too short. What DM has reported is enough for me to consider the idea not worth further study.

  12. J.W. Brewer says

    The google n-gram viewer shows (in English) Rumania overtaking Roumania for first place circa 1926 and holding on to first until it was surpassed in turn by Romania circa 1971. I agree that the “ou” spelling is suspiciously French-looking, but it could also be viewed as a compromise between the O-faction and the U-faction?

  13. J.W. Brewer says

    David L. Gold’s contribution to the literature now makes me realize with a bit of a feeling of guilt that I had never once in my life-to-date wondered about the etymology of the English word “pastrami,” which feels very well-domesticated to me although I guess I would have conceded if asked that it probably was not found in either Old or Middle English …

  14. David L. Gold says

    @David Marjanović. You should publish your remarks in a linguistics journal dealing with Romance languages, languages of the Balkans, or Rumanian.

  15. Russian also has ‘basturma’, the Armenian version. An old Armenian lady even taught me to make it when we could not just read it in the internet*. When someone said ‘masturba’ I, as a dedicated lover of obscenity, was ashamed**, because it never occured to me;(


    And back to Cape Town, in South Africa it is of course biltong

    *I agree about capitalization.
    **what can amke a hussar*** blush
    ***lovers of obscenity in Russian jokes.

  16. We’ve discussed pastrami and basturma at LH: 2009, 2013, 2015.

  17. David Marjanović says

    You should publish your remarks in a linguistics journal dealing with Romance languages, languages of the Balkans, or Rumanian.

    Uh, why? They’d all be rejected as not news. I didn’t go beyond textbook wisdom or what I guess is undergraduate knowledge in historical linguistics/IEistics.

    Vinereanu’s work doesn’t seem to have undergone peer review in the first place – it’s a single-authored book…

  18. David: Err, I hate to say this, but the phrase “undergraduate knowledge in historical linguistics/IEistics” means “No knowledge whatsoever” for a growing number of undergraduates in linguistics on this side of the Atlantic, if my experience is in any way typical.

    Anyway, the issue is that it is certain that Romanian is Romance, just as certainly as Yiddish is West Germanic.

    The fact that a great many supposedly serious scholars working on Yiddish have downplayed or even directly denied its West Germanic affiliation (Paul Wexler’s claim that Yiddish is in fact relexified Judeo-…Sorbian is an admittedly extreme example of this sort of “linguistics”) explains, I suspect, why David L. Gold seems to take Vinereanu’s “work” seriously. This is sad: Romania has produced some first-rate historical Romance linguistics scholars who would deserve his attention much more than Vinereanu.

  19. David Eddyshaw says

    Vinereanu’s work

    Indeed. It’s ludicrous. “Some lexical borrowings”, forsooth. The only good thing about it is that he correctly recognises that all languages (naturally including Oscan and Umbrian, therefore) are derived from Welsh (or “Celtic”, as he calls it.)

    It did, however, remind me a bit (if only by extreme contrast) of the work of a perfectly genuine careful scholar on Songhay:

    https://eprints.soas.ac.uk/13479/1/Souag_The%20subclassification%20of%20Songhay%20and%20its%20historical%20implications.pdf

    where he presents evidence for the hypothesis that Timbuktu Songhay may historically belong with the highly Berber-influenced Northern Songhay languages (which themselves were not always as we see them now), but got thoroughly decreolised during the period of the Songhay Empire, to the degree that its original provenance is no longer evident.

    But (a) this is a quite different scenario and (b) Lameen believes in following real evidence.

  20. David Eddyshaw says

    Incidentally, this is presumably the Gaulish M Antonius that Vinereanu refers to:

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marcus_Antonius_Gnipho

    Inquit Vicipaedia: “None of his works survive.”

  21. čreda

    Look like a problematic word in any event.

  22. David Marjanović says

    More so than the island of Cres (Italian: Cherso, illustrating the Second Palatalization and liquid metathesis)?

  23. J.W. Brewer says

    Some of the statements by Prof. Haupt imply that he himself does not really buy into the “trilingual” frame here, because he seems to suggest that Afrikaans itself is no more than a culturally-appropriated version of Kaaps that has been prettied up by prescriptivists a bit. I suspect, e.g., that the claim that “Kaaps” was once written in Arabic script is simply a relabeling of the same 19th century texts discussed in https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arabic_Afrikaans.

    Especially given that whites are a numerical minority of L1 Afrikaans-speakers, it is well worth emphasizing that the standardized version of Afrikaans treated as normative/prestigious during the apartheid years is no doubt not the only variety/dialect/register/what-have-you, and that those other sorts of Afrikaans ought to be taken seriously. If one is trying to cast off inaccurate historical narratives left over from previous eras, I would think that the (probably largely true!) narrative that the same Afrikaners who presided over a racial hierarchy (and inveighed against miscegenation etc.) had themselves over the centuries shifted away from the purity of their ancestral tongue to the not-quite-Dutch language primarily innovated by the mixed-race communities they considered their subordinates is a pretty good one to teach.

  24. More so than the island of Cres (Italian: Cherso, illustrating the Second Palatalization and liquid metathesis)?

    I meant this: “The OCS word cannot be cognate because it doesn’t begin with s-.

    Toporov wrote 8 pages about Prussian kērdan “time” in his Prussian dictionary (p 315 (158 in the pdf), in Russian, together with Slavic cognates and Lithuanian ker̃džius, sker̃džius shepherd.

    He is inclined to connect it to IE *ker-/*sker- “cut”, as in “skirt”. I do not know what are the modern ideas about the word. Lubotsky (here, p 22-23, and also 24) interprets II words based on this reading.

    About Cres, what’s the problem with it?

  25. If one is trying to cast off inaccurate historical narratives left over from previous eras

    The Taalmonument was erected in 70s and explicitly acknowleges contribution of Malay and local languages.

    I tried to find popular Apartheid era texts online (history of Afrikaans as taught in schools, as taught to foerigners etc.). I haven’t found anything yet, but I found a post-Apartheid (2002) text about origins of Afrikaans, clicked it, and where it deals with theories of origin (“superstratist”, “variationinst/interlectalist”, “creolist”), in the creolist part it cites works published in South Africa in Apartheid times. It is not new for me and it does not answer what was the popular or dominant account.

  26. Similarly, Sonn highlights this ambiguity faced by Coloured Afrikaans speakers (on the back cover of a book which focuses on the role of Coloured Afrikaans speakers in the development of Afrikaans): they speak the language and were oppressed in the language. [104] To elaborate: Sonn notes ‘the ambivalence about the Afrikaans of our heart and the distasteful way in which we were oppressed and disregarded’ in this language. [105] However, he also affirms that ‘Afrikaans is not only the language of [A]partheid; Afrikaans is also the language of the struggle and reconciliation’.

    (from another article). The way they discuss langauge in absolutely unique. Oppression happenes everywhere, but it is hard to imagine a revolutionary Russian speaking about ambiguity of Russian language: it would be like speaking about ambiguity of Russian sun that shines to both oppressed and oppressors. Descendants of black slaves usually know that once they did not speak the langauge of slavers, yet they do not seem to feel anything ambiguous to English, Arabic and other respective languages.

    I wonder if this sentiment simply reflects hatred to Afrikaans by black political movements, or it is the competition between the two acrolects, Afrikaans and English, that made Afrikaans “marked” even for its speakers.


    This article also mentions Suikerbossie: “Winberg finds the appropriation of Malay songs by Afrikaners ‘as expressions of a folk consciousness’ ironic: [129] ‘[t]he satirical traditions of the ghoemaliedjie live on … in the most soulful utterances of Afrikanerdom’. [130] The (perceived) Afrikaner folk songs, for example, Siembamba and Suikerbossie, were created within the Muslim community (Du Plessis: 1935:113, 134). [131] Therefore, ‘[s]ongs which originated in the Dutch community were sung as parodies by Muslims and then re-emerged as Afrikaner folk songs’. ”

    I have no idea is they are right or wrong about Muslim community, but the tune was a big international hit in 1952, and was popular in USSR. This page has a nice collection of recordings in Afrikaans, Norwegian, Russian…

  27. The Power and Politics of Language, from Oppressor to Oppressed: “I learned right away not to use the Russian words I had studied back home in preparation for life in a former Soviet republic. My host parents knew Russian, but they refused to speak it on principle.”

  28. J.W. Brewer says

    @hat: But what’s the parallel? In Suid-Afrika it’s as if the dominant white oppressors (or rather the most conspicuous ethnic fraction thereof) had themselves undergone language shift from standard English to something like a Caribbean creole, innit? The situation is obviously quite different between the parts of the country where Afrikaans is the predominant L1 of the largest non-white population and the parts farther east-and-northeast where very few non-whites are L1 Afrikaans-speakers, but even the latter is not parallel to the Formerly-British West Indies in that those folks have L1’s of their own that have no connection to Afrikaans as well as access to English as an L2. (That said, the conflict in the ’70’s about Afrikaans being imposed as a language of instruction in Soweto schools where the students had other L1’s would presumably not have played out too differently if standard Dutch had been the language imposed.)

  29. I’m not saying there’s any particular parallel, but drasvi seemed to be making a sweeping statement:

    The way they discuss langauge in absolutely unique. Oppression happenes everywhere, but it is hard to imagine a revolutionary Russian speaking about ambiguity of Russian language: it would be like speaking about ambiguity of Russian sun that shines to both oppressed and oppressors. Descendants of black slaves usually know that once they did not speak the langauge of slavers, yet they do not seem to feel anything ambiguous to English, Arabic and other respective languages.

    So I was just providing a couple of examples of other languages being seen as oppressive.

  30. J.W. Brewer says

    One further ironic complication of the South African situation is that during the “Great Trek” etc. era many of the Afrikaans-speaking whites migrated further east-and-northeast, outside of the region where there was a substantial Afrikaans-speaking “Coloured” population, such that the Afrikaans-speaking Coloureds (who generally did not migrate quite so far or at least not in the same direction) ultimately ended up in the part of South Africa where the ratio of English to Afrikaans as L1 among the white population was more skewed toward the former than in the country as a whole. That said, those non-white Afrikaans-speakers probably shared the perception during the apartheid era that the Afrikaans-speaking subset of the white population was *even more* illiberal than the English-speaking subset, although the median Anglophone white South African would hardly have seemed progressive on racial issues in any other context.

  31. But: “ For a very long time the speakers of Creole themselves saw their language as something inappropriate and imperfect (Dalphinis 43).

    It is different. Jamaican speakers do not say “my langauge is a langauge of oppression, because it is similar to English rather than French”.

    Hostility to langauges of other peoples is not uncommon.

    P.S., conversely: a Creole speaker ashamed of her “imperfect” speech is not unlike what a Coloured Afrikaans speaker is supposed to feel about Afrikaans.

  32. She continues: “Everyone who wanted to advance socially had to learn the language of the oppressors. After the abolition of slavery and especially after gaining the independence, the language of the former masters and colonizers began to be opposed to. Nowadays, new attitudes towards English as well as Creole can be found. These attitudes emerged in the 20th century and their originators were mostly the writers who immigrated to Britain from former British colonies in the Caribbean. Their attempt to deconstruct the notion of “cultural imperialism” (Lamming qtd. in Hare) and English as the language strictly belonging to the “indigenous” inhabitants of the British Isles lead to the promotion of new literatures written in Creole or English used in a way to suit the purposes of a different—Caribbean—identity.

    A political ideology rather than feelings of oppressed people. I am not saying it is wrong, but knowing what and why a person feels when she is being oppressed is important. Then knowing what another generation (not oppressed, whose ancestors were oppressed) feels. Then knowing what an immigrant feels as an immigrant (a different thing). And then how this all is rationalized.

    So I was just providing a couple of examples of other languages being seen as oppressive.

    What surprised me is that a person feels that his own mother tongue is oppressive.

  33. Ah, I see. Interesting point. Amiri Baraka wrote (in 1963):

    And it follows, of course, that slavery would have been an even stranger phenomenon had the Africans spoken English when they first got here. It would have complicated things.

  34. What surprised me is that a person feels that his own mother tongue is oppressive.

    —That? said Stephen. Is that called a funnel? Is it not a tundish?

    —What is a tundish?

    —That. The… the funnel.

    —Is that called a tundish in Ireland? asked the dean. I never heard the word in my life.
    […]
    He thought:
    — The language in which we are speaking is his before it is mine. How different are the words home, Christ, ale, master, on his lips and on mine! I cannot speak or write these words without unrest of spirit. His language, so familiar and so foreign, will always be for me an acquired speech. I have not made or accepted its words. My voice holds them at bay. My soul frets in the shadow of his language.
    […]
    April 13. That tundish has been on my mind for a long time. I looked it up and find it English and good old blunt English too. Damn the dean of studies and his funnel! What did he come here for to teach us his own language or to learn it from us. Damn him one way or the other!

    Portrait of the Artist, very famous passage. (For an extra layer of irony, funnel comes from French.)

  35. I think I misunderstood the quotation. This is how the author defined it: Sonn highlights this ambiguity faced by Coloured Afrikaans speakers (on the back cover of a book which focuses on the role of Coloured Afrikaans speakers in the development of Afrikaans): they speak the language and were oppressed in the language.

    And this is what Sonn said: ‘the ambivalence about the Afrikaans of our heart and the distasteful way in which we were oppressed and disregarded’

    The context: https://naledi.co.za/product/ons-kom-van-ver/ (Afrikaans), GT

    He did not speak about “being oppressed in Afrikaans”.

  36. In South Africa, there are major languages that code as “white”: English and Afrikaans. There are also a number of major languages that code as “Bantu”: Zulu, Xosa, and so on. However, that quote was about the South African “coloureds,” who are not the same as the indigenous Africans. The colored group is a heterogeneous collection of peoples of Asian (like Gandhi, when he lived there) and mixed ancestries. They were lumped together by the Population Registration Act, as a third group, neither white nor black. This was, in part, a conscious move by the Apartheid authorities, trying to create a separate ethnic identity for a group of second-class citizens, distinguished from, and not in solidarity with the third-class black majority. The members of the established colored community are mostly native Afrikaans speakers, but for them it is still a language associated with a history of persecution, even though they generally have no alternative heritage language of their own (except, to a limited extent, possibly English).

  37. J.W. Brewer says

    Stephen Dedalus is supposed to be an L1 Anglophone, innit? (In Stephen Hero, he takes some Gaelic classes, but out of feigned nationalistic enthusiasm that is at least in part a cover for wanting to be near a certain young lady who is studying the language; in Portrait, I think he drops out after the first lesson.) So I’m not sure if his sense of alienation from his L1 is supposed to represent a common experience of politically subjugated peoples, whose free-floating alienation spreads throughout their whole experience, or is instead supposed to represent the sort of young intellectual who overthinks things and comes up with complicated reasons to be unhappy and alienated that a normal person in similarly suboptimal sociopolitical circumstances would not.

    As to the non-fictional James Joyce, one finds the claim on the internet that as a young man he took lessons in his theoretical ancestral tongue taught by Patrick Pearse, but gave up on the classes because Pearse was unable to boast about the merits of the Irish language without deprecating those of English, and Joyce found that irksome.

  38. Stu Clayton says

    # When you are a Bear of Very Little Brain, and you Think of Things, you find sometimes that a Thing which seemed very Thingish inside you is quite different when it gets out into the open and has other people looking at it. #

    Ferneyhough represents the New Complexity, Irish orthography the Old.

    Dense but often delectable

  39. This was, in part, a conscious move by the Apartheid authorities, trying to create a separate ethnic identity for a group of second-class citizens, distinguished from, and not in solidarity with the third-class black majority. …

    Education in other languages is also absent “because it was a part of Apartheid divide and rule policy”.

  40. Brett, for solidarity between, for example, Cape Malays and Zulu you need one of two things: (1) peace, sanity (solidarity of blacks and whites) (2) white racism targeting both. It is true, that it is agaisnt one’s interests to alienate everyone around. But I suspect, it would require a radical change. Even depriving Coloureds of the right to vote (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cape_Qualified_Franchise) required a change. I suspect, Apartheid government was afraid of changes.

  41. J.W. Brewer says

    FWIW I came up in a secondary source with this delightfully vituperative attack on Afrikaans allegedly from 1857 (in an English-language newspaper printed in Capetown): “It cramps up your thoughts. It impedes your energies. It brings the blush to every modest woman‟s cheeks, and makes the educated recoil with disgust …” Et cetera.

  42. I like to imagine the painting “A modest woman and an educated man being spoken to in Afrikaans.” Very dramatic.

  43. ” It brings the blush to every modest woman‟s cheeks …” – Why ‘attack’? The blush is always a good thing.
    “…and makes the educated recoil with disgust” – This too.

    It is why I wanted to learn it in the first place… My first text was: Gisteraand het ek rooiwyn gedrink / pot gerook en na sweet gestink / binnekort was ek in my moer/ ‘n kat geskiet op die kakhuisvloer.

  44. I understood a surprising amount of that.

  45. Sadly, fokkol native speakers in Russia:(

    (I guess if I write fuck all it will be taken as imperative, but the Dutch/Afrikaans and English constructions are parallel…)

  46. I tried to find anything about when the University of Western Cape switched to English. One of books has a passage:

    The University of the Western Cape was until the 1980s a ‘coloured’ university, created during apartheid to cater for coloured people. We shall in due cource elaborate on the reasons for the movement of black learners to the comaratively high-quality educatonal institutions in formerly coloured and white institutions. …. For instance, the University of the Western Cape used to be exclusively an Afrikaans medium of instruction institution until the early 1980s. With increasing large numbers of black learners being enroled at the institution, it appears the medium of instruction will remain largely English for a foreseeable future.

    They studied 121 learners in “Language and Identity course”. Of them 69% black, 31% coloured, 62.7 female, 37.7 male.

  47. (UWC is the university involved with the dictionary project. It is one of major centres of study of Afrikaans, and as it was created for coloureds, I wondered why they study Afrikaans in English)

  48. David Eddyshaw says

    I guess if I write fuck all it will be taken as imperative

    Facile dictu, difficile factu …

  49. One of obscene Russian explamations of [satisfaction, pleasant surprise etc.] is заебись. Literally imperative of “begin to fuck” (or, conversely, “to get tired of fucking”), but to be understood as “it is so great that one (you, we…) even can start fucking out of joy”. A very popular joke for a while was a reformulaton of Genesis: God created this, God created that, … And God saw that it was good. And God said: заебись!

    And all things began to fuck.

  50. And langauge use in their sample:

    most frequently spoken language at home: Afrikaans 18% | ENglish 16.4 | Xhosa 63.3
    second most frequently spoken langauge at home: A 18 | E 48.4 | Xh 2.5

    fourth …:
    fifth ….:

    Funnily two students reported speaking (not most frequently) Swahili.

    Preferred language for writing (at home):
    coloured: E/A 43.2%, E 45%, A 16.2% | n=37
    black: E/Xh 51.3%, E 23.8%, Xh 16.3%, E/Zulu 5%, A/Xh 1.3% | n=80

    Preferred language for reading:
    coloured: E/A 41.7 | E 38.9 | A 16.7 | n=36
    black: E/Xh 43 | E 40.5 | E/A 3.8 | E/Zulu 3.8 | Xh 2.5 | A 2.5 | A/Xh 1.3 | n=79

    In other words: a half of Coloured students of the course (their coloured students come from Cape Town and suburbs) most frequently speak English at home.

  51. David Eddyshaw says

    And God said: заебись!

    That bit doesn’t come until verse 28. Well, perhaps verse 22. Still, either way, it is undoubtedly canonical. The Hebrew translation possibly paraphrases the original a bit. (God is not known for mincing his words.)

  52. David Eddyshaw says

    Or, as another poet says (of another god, but he had the right idea):

    denique per maria ac montis fluviosque rapacis
    frondiferasque domos avium camposque virentis
    omnibus incutiens blandum per pectora amorem
    efficis ut cupide generatim saecla propagent.

  53. Or in the original:

    И, наконец, по морям, по горам и по бурным потокам,
    По густолиственным птиц обиталищам, долам зелёным,
    Всюду внедряя любовь упоительно-сладкую в сердце,
    Ты возбуждаешь у всех к продолжению рода желанье.

  54. David Eddyshaw says

    I always cite Russian works in Latin translation, for convenience. Not all Hatters know Russian.

  55. Sad but true.

  56. Christopher Culver says

    David L. Gold writes “Rumanian is not a Romance language but a continuation of Thraco-Dacian with borrowings…” However, as others have mentioned, this assumes Dacian Continuity Theory, which of course is in favour in Romania for nationalist reasons, but has been challenged by work on Balkan historical linguistics and ethnogenesis more generally. Personally there is no doubt in my mind that Romanian originates in Latin as spoken in Central Balkans, split from Aromanian fairly late, and arrived in Romania through the pastoral migrations that were famously the Vlachs’ historical mode of life.

    Moreover, the compound “Thraco-Dacian” is erroneous and obsolete. Clearly Romanian was in contact with the ancestor of Albanian. And as Matzinger has shown (see “Zur herkunft des Albanischen: Argumente gegen die thrakische Hypothese”), Albanian is not any kind of continuation of Thracian because they seem to represent different branches of Indo-European.

  57. J.W. Brewer says

    moving back south from the Balkans, I just came across this meta-appreciation of one of the more prominent Afrikaans poets of the 20th century, in the form of an appreciation/evaluation of his most prominent translator into English. I became interested in the poet after learning that one of his best known works (beginning “O wye en droewe land …” and providing the title for Small’s anthology “Oh Wide and Sad Land”) was quoted in the just-deceased F.W. de Klerk’s Nobel lecture in ’93 and then quoted again (with an overlapping by not identical excerpt) by de Klerk’s co-winner Pres. Mandela in a ’96 speech to the South African parliament.

    This piece (perhaps actually just a fairly lengthy abstract of a longer piece?) claims that Small played up those aspects of Louw’s life and work that might seem more palatable to English-speaking readers in a post-apartheid milieu and played down those that might seem less palatable in that context, which I guess doesn’t sound particularly implausible. The piece doesn’t really address what I guess would be the most interesting angle for this thread, viz. how Louw’s poetry is thought of by L1 Afrikaans-speakers who are not as a racial/ethnic matter Afrikaners.

    https://www.litnet.co.za/n-p-van-wyk-louw-eyes-adam-small/

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