Category Archives: Danish sources

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/

 

 

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.

Dutch as a koine?

Aarhus Danish Atlantic 160116 Dutch as a Koine

On January 16, 2016, I presented this paper in Aarhus at the symposium The Danish Atlantic (Aarhus University). Next to papers in the field of history, anthropology, archives and museums, five had a linguistic subject. Robbert van Sluijs (Radboud University) about West-African grammatical influence on VIDC, Peter Bakker (Aarhus University) about Danish linguistic elements in West-African and Dutch Creole languages, Kristoffer Boegh (Aarhus University) about the differences between Dutch Creole lects and other Creole languages and Peter Stein (several universities, Emeritus) about Oldendorps reports on the life of enslaved people.

The Dutch language was the largest lexifier of VIDC, and to be be more precize: the influence of Western Flemish and Zeelandic dialects is obvious. However, we do not know exactly how these elements entered into the vernacular of the Danish Antilles. I already presented on this subject in Brussels (2012), which was published in Revue Belge, but in this presentation I focus on the exact variant of Dutch and not only on demographic information.

Further reading? This will be a part of my dissertation. Please feel free to send me an email about this subject.

Cefas van Rossem

 

Manuscript of Brandt 1799?

On February 17, 2003 Hein van der Voort received an e-mail from Poul Olsen of Copenhagen’s Rigsarkivet in which he presented a newly found manuscript of a hymn book. The text consists of 86 pages on which 76 hymns and a litany are written.  The print was stored in our archives and only a few hours ago, when I was working on the comparison of different versions of the hymn O! Planterman, it appeared to be different from the other hymn books by Danish translators.

 

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Van der Voort thought this manuscript was likely to be of Andreas Joachim Brandt’s 1799 hymn book. A closer look shows a bulk of similarities, but also differences. The title, for instance, is never used for a printed hymn book.

An interesting incidental is the presentation of an alternative preposition like I described in my Aruba presentation (to be published). The author originally used the Dutchlike preposition in, but added the Creole preposition na above of it. The word in was not erased and so it seems as if a final decision about correct use was postponed. Eventually only Creole na was used in the titles of printed hymn books by Danish translators. In the rest of the manuscript we see erased and underlined words. In most cases of the underlined words, another word or form is added in one of the margins. For instance: regt skoon ‘truely fair’, is changed into heel skoon ‘very fair’ (p. 3). The word heel seems to be more according the vernacular than regt. In the same hymn ju Geest selv ‘your spirit himself’ is changed into ju Geest Selv, as if a capital was needed to clarify the relation between Geest and selv. Capitals are always used to indicate nouns.

Creol Psalm Buk 1834 digitally available

For his work on the VI Dutch Creole Database and Die Creol Taal 1996, Hein van der Voort studied many, if not all, available Creole texts by Danish translators. In our Bibliography he added several remarks with regard to the printing history of these sources. The information about Creol Psalm-Buk, of een Vergaedring van Oûwe en nywe Psalmen na Creol-Tael. (Copenhagen:  1834) gives  interesting information which is comparable to the metalinguistic comments I published in my former post:

‘Schuchardt (1914:124) also mentions this (1834, cvr) edition. This must then be the fourth edition or the fifth (when Brandt 1799 is included) of 1770. This is an exact copy of 1827. Note that likewise, Prætorius’ catechism-and-textbook of 1834 is identical to the one from 1827. Furthermore, both works from 1827, then prin­ted at C. Græbe, were reprinted in 1834 at P.T. Brünnich, and each in an issue of 1000 copies (as appears from an account of 10 November 1834 in RA, Koloniernes Centralbestyrelse, Koloni­alkontoret, Gruppesager II. 922 Salmebogssagen).’ (Bibliography p. 19, November 6, 2015)

Like the Gospel Harmony which was distributed in 1834 in 2000 copies, this hymn booklet was distributed in 1000 copies. This seems to me a huge number, when we keep in mind that Dutch Creole is already more and more replace by English (Creole) in the early nineteenth century.

A comparison of four versions of the hymn, O Planterman, (Wold 1770, Kingo 1770, Praetorius 1823 and Creol Psalm-Buk 1834)  shows that there are, although minor and only orthographical, differences between the latter two.

The Creol Psalm-Buk is available at the following places:

Babel Hathitrust

Google Books