Category Archives: Announcements and reviews

Snow on the Danish Antilles? New article about referee design in early Virgin Islands Dutch Creole

Expected in October 2020, however already mentioned on the website of John Benjamins Publishers is Advances in Contact Linguistics, In honour of Pieter Muysken, edited by Norval Smith, Tonjes Veenstra and  Enoch Oladé Aboh.

This Festschrift contains twelve articles in the field of contact linguistics, of which some were already presented on December 6th 2019 in the Meertens Institute in Amsterdam in the presence of Pieter Muysken himself.

You can find the table of contents here.

Part 1 is dedicated to Creole languages and creole studies, however in Part 4, Sociolinguistic aspects of language contact, you will find my article about referee design in early Virgin Islands Dutch Creole. Voila, the abstract:

Snow on the Danish Antilles?

Referee design in Virgin Islands Dutch Creole

One of the things one does not want to hear when working on a large corpus, is that the content is very artificial, and should be ignored in your research because of the unnatural elements it contains. This is what happened with the Clarin-NEHOL-Corpus of Virgin Islands Dutch Creole. The contents, mainly eighteenth-century missionary texts were considered by some people as ‘just’ a missionary variety which seemed very unlikely to have been used in daily life. Clearly, a theoretical basis was needed to analyse this variety in order to establish the authenticity of these texts. Unexpectedly, Bell’s 1984 Audience Design Model, originally based on spoken language situations, turned out to be ideal for the treatment of older written material. One element of this model, referee design, seemed at first to stand somewhat separate from the other aspects of the theory. However, it enabled us to understand the communication situation which missionaries and their pupils participated in. This article focuses then on referee design as a tool to study eighteenth century Virgin Islands Dutch Creole in particular, and historical Creole texts in general.

Keywords: audience design, missionary linguistics, Clarin-NEHOL-Corpus, historical sociolinguistics, Virgin Islands Dutch Creole

 

Bibliography Virgin Islands Dutch Creole is updated

You will find the most recent Bibliography of Virgin Islands Dutch Creole (February 2019) at the related page above.

If you happen to know texts in or about Virgin Islands Dutch Creole, or texts in which parts refer to this language, please let me know to keep this file up to date.

New article or unknown text? I would really like to receive a digital copy!

Lingoblog: Danske låneord i Caribien

Last week the great Danish, however multilingual, linguistic blog Lingoblog posted an interesting item by Kristoffer Friis Boegh on Danish vocabulary in the Caribbean. He is an expert on Virgin Islands English Creole, did his field work on the US Virgin Islands recently and has a good entrance into Danish archival material. You can find the link HERE.

In my work on the provenance of Virgin Islands Dutch Creole words I was always focused on the influence of Dutch, mainly Zeelandic and West Flemish dialects. Of course I wondered why Danish vocabulary did not play a larger role, but I never really dived into this. To be honest: I found it quite hard to distinguish these words from others in the texts I studied: the eighteenth century translations by German translators.

Two cases in the study of twentieth century Virgin Islands Dutch Creole did point to the Danish linguistic influence. In the first place Frank Nelson’s visit to the Virgin Islands in 1936 was mainly triggered by his interest whether still elements of Danish were visible in the former Danish islands. When he found out a Dutch Creole was spoken, he started his field work. See my chapters on this in my thesis (Van Rossem 2017: 251-275 and 277-318).

The second case was in an interview by Gilbert Sprauve (and his students) in the early 1980s of Mrs. Alice Stevens. When he read to her the English translation of De Josselin de Jong’s  version of the Bremen Town Musicians, she did not use the word nume or nomo ‘no more, nothing’, but the intin, which is derived from Danish ingenting (Van Rossem 2017: 255).

Unfortunately this Lingoblog post is in Danish, however the examples are clear and interesting! Several Danish scholars, and I include Peter Bakker, have already showed that knowledge of Danish as L1 has an advantage when studying Creole material. For istance Sebastian Dyhr shows that in his master thesis about Magens (2001) and Troels Roland (2016) in his article and remarks about using Magens in translation or in Danish. Perhaps the hardly studied missionary translations (Hvenekilde and Lanza, 1999) should get extra attention in this respect. (Looking forward to it, Kristoffer!)

 

Dyhr, Sebastian Adorján. 2001. J.M. Magens: Grammatik over det creolske sprog i en lingvistisk og historisk kontekst. Aarhus Universitet. >Resume at http://archive.is/7ELTA.

Hvenekilde, Anne & Elisabeth Lanza. 1999. “Linguistic variation in two 18th century Lutheran creole primers from the Danish West Indies”, in: Brendemoen, B., E. Lanza & E. Ryen (eds), Language Encounters Across Time and Space, Studies in Language Contact. Oslo: Novus Press. p. 271-292.

Roland, Troels Peter. 2016. ‘”Ju ben een Creol waer-waer”’. In: Kulturstudier 1 (Juli), pp. 159-187. >Digitally available at: http://tidsskriftetkulturstudier.dk/tidsskriftet/vol2016/1-juli/ju-ben-een-creol-waer-waer/

 

 

‘Na die Begin Godt a maak Hemel en Aerde’, Van Maris in Weekendavisen

During the months following my promotion (on December 20 2017, some websites paid attention to my research. An article was published by Mathilde Jansen on Nemo Kennislink, a very informative website for Dutch speaking pupils (here), my introduction which I presented just before my Ph.D. defence was published on Caribisch Uitzicht, the website of Werkgroep Caribische Letteren by Michiel van Kempen (here) and I was interviewed by Berthold van Maris of NRC, an important Dutch newspaper.

My colleagues from Aarhus University, Peter Bakker and Kristoffer Friis Boegh surprised me with the Danish translation of Van Maris’s article, which was published in the Danish newspaper Weekendavisen on August 10. (here). Thank you!

 

 

Article Van Maris about research Van Rossem in NRC

Dutch journalist Berthold van Maris was interested enough in my research to write an article about in the Dutch newspaper NRC in june 2018. Thank you very much!

A digital version can be found here.

Dissertation Van Rossem available!

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https://www.lotpublications.nl/the-virgin-islands-dutch-creole-textual-heritage-philological-perspectives-on-authenticity-and-audience-design

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

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.