Category Archives: Announcements and reviews

Sebastian Dyhr’s 2001 thesis on Magens and his grammar digitally available

In 2001 Sebastian Adorján Dyhr wrote his M.A. thesis ‘Grammatik over det creolske sprog’ af Joachim Melchior Magens I en lingvistisk og historisk kontekst (Aarhus Univeritet, supervisor: Peter Bakker). This thesis is an extensive description of this first published Creole Grammar and its author. I am very grateful to Dyhr for giving permission to make it available on my website.

Not only his description of the grammar is of interest. Dyhr discovered the original ‘Magens’ letter which was published by Schuchardt and commented on by Hesseling in Tijdschrift voor Nederlandse Taal- en Letterkunde (1914). This letter is the only example of Virgin Islands Dutch Creole from the end of the nineteenth century, a period in which this language was thought to have been extinct. This appendix is however only available on request.

The thesis can be found on the Scanned publications page

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Peter Bakker (Aarhus University) compares all Caribbean varieties of Dutch Creole!

Only recently John Benjamins published

This great book in which the phylogenetic approach of relations between Creole languages is extensively explores is (thank you so much, editors and publisher!)  available as open source text: http://www.jbe-platform.com/content/books/9789027265739

At first sight, Peter Bakker’s contribution is most interesting for the study of Dutch Creoles., so I haven’t checked al other chapters yet….

Already in 1989 Ian Robertson compared three Caribbean Dutch Creoles and published an interesting Swadesh wordlist comparison in Tijdschrift voor Nederlandse Letterkunde. In 2014 Peter Bakker published his comparison of Skepi Dutch, Berbice Dutch and Virgin Islands Dutch Creole in Journal of Germanic Linguistics in which he included new material and used a different approach. However, in his new 2017 contribution, chapter 10, Bakker uses the phylogenetic possibilities to connect the relations and linguistic distances between the Caribbean Dutch Creoles. Step by step we are able to follow his search for linguistic and historical relations between these three, extinct, languages.

Bakker, Peter. 2017. ‘Chapter 10. Dutch Creoles compared with their lexifier’, in: Peter Bakker, Finn Borchsenius, Carsten Levisen, Eeva Sippola (eds), Creole Studies – Phylogenetic Approaches. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins, p. 276-305.

 

Doctoral dissertation Robbert van Sluijs

Next Thursday, May 11th 2017, my colleague Robbert van Sluijs will defend his doctoral dissertation Variation and change in Virgin Islands Dutch Creole, Tense, Modality and Aspect.

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In seven extensive chapters, Van Sluijs focuses on the Virgin Islands Dutch Creole TMA-system, for instance the use of a, le/lo and ka, especially in sources which are available in the Clarin-NEHOL-corpus.

The interesting book from this creolist of Radboud University Nijmegen, The Netherlands, is published by the Netherlands Graduate School of Linguistics, LOT 453. An OpenSource-version will be available in near future.

Frans Kellendonk and Virgin Islands Dutch Creole

The famous Dutch author Frans Kellendonk (1951-1990) was in the process of writing a new novel in the nineteen eightees. The story was inspired by the  probably racist murder of Kerwin Duinmeijer (1983) and the play Leeuwendalers (1647) by the Dutch author Joost van den Vondel (1587-1679), and remained unfinished.

Kellendonk wanted to use a Creole language in his novel and during his visit of Curacao in 1987 he got to know Virgin Islands Dutch Creole. He copied Hesseling (1905) and De Josselin de Jong (1924), but also several pages from Magens (1818). These photo copies and a manuscript in which some words and small sentences are noted by Kellendonk, are stored in the so called Archief Frans Kellendonk in the Library of the Maatschappij der Nederlandse Letterkunde in the University Library of Leyden.

My article about these notes is published in Nieuw Letterkundig Magazijn, XXXV, 1, mei, 2017, pp. 30-36.

In the same volume Jan Noordegraaf published an article about D.C. Hesseling and his work on Papiamentu: ‘D.C. Hesseling en de West, van classicus tot creolist’. In: Nieuw Letterkundig Magazijn, XXXV, 1, mei, 2017, pp. 25-29.

 

Great news: The Danish West Indies – Sources of History (Rigsarkivet)

Today, March 1st 2017, the Danish National Archives openend the website for online acces to all its sources related to the Danish Antilles/Virgin Islands. More than one kilometer of sources is available.

A link to the website can be found here.

A direct link to search all records can be found here.

A first glance showed transcriptions and facsimilae. However, help is needed to transcribe as many texts as possible! Visit this link: Crowdsourcing.

New publication Philipp Krämer: Combien de néerlandais?

Recently I received a new publication by Philipp Krämer (Freie Universität Berlin):

‘Combien de néerlandais? Histoire linguistique et histoire de la linguistique dans les Îles Vierges Danoises’,  in: Histoire Épistémology Langage 38/1 (2016), p. 103-120. It is digitally available at: Combien de Néerlandais?

Krämer’s English abstract and keywords are the following:

Abstract

For centuries, the Dutch-based Creole language of the Danish Virgin Islands was documented not by the Dutch but mainly by German missionaries and Danish colonialists. This article sheds light on the role of the Dutch language in this complex colonial universe. Historical sources from the 18th and 19th century will show which sociolinguistic role Dutch played in the society of the islands and which (meta-)linguistic knowledge of Dutch the authors of these sources (C.G.A. Oldendorp, J.M. Magens, and E. Pontoppidan) had. Some reflections on the discursive and epistemological foundations of the sources and the significance they attribute to the Dutch language will conclude the article in order to show that the linguistic compexities of this archipelago are diferent from most other Creole-speaking areas.

Keywords

Colonialism, Christian mission, Creole languages, cariole (“Negerhollands”), Dutch, universalism, racialism, Danish Virgin Islands”

 

 

 

 

Berbice Dutch Creole in collection Meertens Institute

In the West Indies only three Dutch related Creole languages existed. In Guyana two languages existed. Of Skepi Dutch, which was spoken on the borders of the Essequibo river, we only know a few sentences and a Swadesh list full of words. The first known sentence of this language, from 1780, was found only a few years ago by Marijke van der Wal in one of the letters which were studied in her Letters as Loot project. Robertson (1989) shows a resemblance in vocabulary of Virgin Islands Dutch Creole and Skepi Dutch, which may point to a similar Dutch/Zeelandic superstrate.

Berbice Dutch is a unique Creole language from which the African influence can be traced to one language which is spoken in Nigeria. There is far more to tell about this language and interested ones should at least consult Silvia Kouwenberg’s dissertation and the work of Ian Robertson on the discovery of the language in the 1970s.

The Dutch Meertens Institute (which is one of the institutes of the Royal Dutch Academy of Sciences) is, among Dutch folklore and onomastics, specialized in Dutch dialectology in the broadest sense. In its last newsletter it presents their conservation of Silvia Kouwenberg’s material of Berbice Dutch, which is safe for the future because of the Data Seal of Approval.

More information, in Dutch, can be found here.

 

 

THREE publications Virgin Islands Dutch Creole in July!

Last month three publications about, or related to, Virgin Islands Dutch Creole, appeared, at least in my mailbox. Alphabetically the first one is:

Kouwenberg, Silvia. 2016. ‘Review Article (…) Nineteenth-Century Creolist Work and Its Reflections on Language and Community’. In: Historiographia Linguistica 43: 1/2, p. 206-222. >On the occasion of Krämer, Philipp (ed.) (2014).

In the first place the following note of Kouwenberg is remarkable:

“Contemporary reference is simply to die creol taal (the creole language) or variants thereof; the term Negerhollands (literally: Negro Dutch) was coined by a Dutch linguist in 1840, and has been in use among students of the language ever since (Van Rossem & Van der Voort 1996: vii), despite some attempts to rechristen it (something like) Virgin Islands Dutch Creole. Given that its speakers did not refer to the language as Negerhollands, and taking into account the modern connotations of the term, it seems to me that that term is overdue for retirement.”

In our institute in Nijmegen we try to use Virgin Islands Dutch Creole as consequently as possible. Our German colleagues Krämer and Stein prefer to use the term Carriolsch, since it was the first name which was given to this language in written texts. In Troels Roland’s article a separate section (Sprogets navn, p.181-183) is dedicated to this subject.

This review of Philipp Krämers book about 19th century Creolistics is does not only refer to Virgin Islands Dutch Creole material, of course. Page 215 and 216 are about Pontoppidan’s contribution to the study of Virgin Islands Dutch Creole.

Roland, Troels Peter. 2016. ‘”Ju ben een Creol waer-waer”’. In: Kulturstudier 1 (Juli), pp. 159-187.

Troels Roland’s article is in Danish, but accompanied by an abstract in English which makes me very curious about the content of the entire article. Not only because of the interesting period 1750-1850 in which most written texts appeared and in which Dutch Creole was replaced by English Creole, but mainly because of the Danish perspective and the use of (Danish) sources which I did not see in references related to Dutch Creole before. The article is digitally available at http://tidsskriftetkulturstudier.dk/tidsskriftet/vol2016/1-juli/ju-ben-een-creol-waer-waer/

Of the third July article I received a pdf from Peter Stein. In this French text, which is richly illustrated, Stein presents an insight into the early years of Virgin Islands Dutch Creole

Stein, Peter. 2016. ‘La documentation ancienne du créole disparu des Îles Vierges Danouises’. In: Les Cahiers créoles du patrimoine de la Caraïbe/Pawol maké asi mès é labitid an Péyi Karayib 6: Les langues créoles / Palé Kréyol!, [Guadeloupe]: CANOPÉ. pp. 37–39.

Review of ‘Language contact in the Danish West Indies: Giving Jack his jacket’

About this moment, only four years ago, Robin Sabino’s Language contact in the Danish West Indies: Giving Jack his jacket appeared. This work is without a doubt THE description of spoken Virgin Islands Dutch Creole and contains a bulk of information about all stages and aspects of this Dutch related Creole.

In the latest volume of Journal of Pidgin and Creole Language Peter Bakker (Aarhus University) published his review:

Bakker, Peter. 2016. Review of Language contact in the Danish West Indies: Giving Jack his Jacket. By Robin Sabino. Leiden: Brill 2012. Pp. 337 ISBN 978-90-04-22540-4 (Brill’s Studies in Language, Cognition and Culture, Volume 1) (…). In: Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages 31: 1, p. 223-228.

Other reviews of Sabino (2012) are Migge (2013) and Van den Berg & Van Sluijs (2015).

Thomas Stolz’s ‘Gibt es das kreolische Sprachwandelmodell?’ on ResearchGate.net

In 1986 Thomas Stolz (University Bremen) published his thorough study of Virgin Islands Dutch Creole. In German he presents an extensive description of VIDC grammar. At the moment it is available as download for members of  ResearchGate.net.