Broadening the Perspectives of South African English and Afrikaans Research (An Interview with David L. Gold on his Work in these Fields)

Roy S. Rosenstein

Abstract


David L. Gold is a student of South African English and Afrikaans who looks at these two languages in the context of several other Germanic languages, as well as other Indo-European and certain non-Indo-European languages. He suggests that the traditional comparison of Afrikaans only with European Dutch be supplemented by comparing it with New Netherland Dutch, which, like Afrikaans, began as a non-European variety of Dutch in the seventeenth century. A comparison of Afrikaans and New Netherland Dutch sheds light not only on those two languages but on earlier European Dutch too.

Gold suggests that the etymology of Afrikaans lexemes not be limited to their form but be extended to their meanings as well. If effect is given to that suggestion, we see that South African English has had greater influence on Afrikaans vocabulary than hitherto believed, i.e., the meanings of many Afrikaans lexemes are of English origin, although the lexemes themselves are not of that origin.

David L. Gold is also a student of Jewish aspects of South African English and Afrikaans. Most Jews who have settled in South Africa have been native speakers of Yiddish and it is only natural that traces of their native language can be found in their English or Afrikaans. A number of those vestiges are found in the speech of their descendents too (even if they do not know Yiddish) and a small number of them have been adopted by non-Jewish South Africans as well. Investigation of the influence of Yiddish on South African English and Afrikaans requires a good knowledge of the varieties of Yiddish brought to South Africa (in the early days: Western Yiddish; beginning in the late nineteenth century: Northeastern Yiddish), varieties of Jewish English spoken in other countries (for comparison with Jewish South African English), and Jewish Dutch (for comparison with Jewish Afrikaans).

Another Jewish aspect of South African English and Afrikaans which David L. Gold has looked into is non-Jewish usages of Jewish interest, like words meaning 'Jew' and idioms referring to Jews. All of this material of Jewish interest needs to be recorded and compared with similar material in other languages.

<b>Keywords:</b> afrikaans, american english, arabic, armenian, bulgarian, cape-colored english, caribbean dutch, counting-out rimes, diglossia, dutch, english, ethnolects, etymology, family names, french, german, jewish afrikaans, jewish american english, jewish british english, jewish english, jewish irish english, jewish jamaican english, jewish south african english, language planning, languages in contact, lexicography, lexicology, marathi, neosemanticisms, new netherland dutch, place names, portuguese, serbocroatian, south african english, turkish, yiddish, zeeland dutch


Keywords


afrikaans, american english, arabic, armenian, bulgarian, cape-colored english, caribbean dutch, counting-out rimes, diglossia, dutch, english, ethnolects, etymology, family names, french, german, jewish afrikaans, jewish american english, jewish british

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5788/3-1-1109

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ISSN 2224-0039 (online); ISSN 1684-4904 (print)

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