Category Archives: On the Internet

Berbice and Skepi Dutch, and Virgin Islands Dutch Creole, a lexical comparison

In 1989 Ian Robertson published his article ‘Berbice and Skepi Dutch, a lexical comparison’ in Tijdschrift voor Nederlandse Taal- en Letterkunde. As far as I know it is the best source for the lexicon of Skepi Dutch, the Dutch related Creole of which we know so little.

In this article the lexicon of these two Guyanese Creole languages are also compared to that of Virgin Islands Dutch Creole. A Zeelandic lexifier has already been linked to all three languages, however Skepi Dutch and Virgin Islands Dutch Creole seem to be closer related than Berbice and Skepi Dutch. The past years especially Peter Bakker (Aarhus University, Denmark) studied the links between these languages.

The article is digitally available on the so-called Digitale Bibliotheek voor de Nederlandse Letteren. You can find the link it here: Robertson 1989

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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.

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

What a Pistarckle! Virgin Islands English Creole

Lito Vall’s dictionary of Virgin Islands English Creole What a Pistarckle! contains several entrances which were originally Dutch Creole.

The original publication from 1981 can be searched here: What a Pistarcle! 1981. The 1990 supplement is digitally available here: What a Pistarckle! 1990.

Most of the Dutch related words are obsolete. It would therefore be interesting to collect Dutch Creole words which are still in use in Virgin Islands English Creole.

Van Sluijs about change or variation in historical data

In this article, which was already published in December 2014, Robbert van Sluijs focuses on the Virgin Island Dutch Creole imperfective and prospective aspect markers LE and LO. Does the distribution of these markers reflect language change between the eighteenth and twentieth century ? Or is it due to sociolinguistic variation?

Read the article here.

Creole New Testament Moravian Brethren 1802 download and online

The largest  publications in Negerhollands date from the end of the eighteenth (Magens’s New Testament, 1781) and the beginning of the nineteenth century (New Testament of the Moravian Brethren, Barby: 1802, and their translation of Lieberkühn’s Gospel Harmony, New York: 1833). Of two, I already published the links to their digital versions. Hein van der Voort alerted me the 1802 New Testament is also available.

The online version can be visited here.

Gospel Harmony 1833 digitally available

The Creole  version of Lieberkühn’s Gospel Harmony is digitally available here. It was financed by The American Tract Society and was  printed in New York in 1833. The edition of 2000 copies was distributed among the Christianized slaves of the Moravian Brethren on the Danish Antilles. If all copies were distributed, one out of every four to five  above mentioned slaves owned a copy.

The first version was translated by Johann Böhner in or just before 1780 (coded 321). A second version, which had an interesting preface (322), was made only a short period after the first one. The third version (3231) was translated around 1790, probably by Johann Auerbach. About five years later a fourth version was made (3232). Just like 3231, this text is not complete. All manuscript versions can be consulted in the Clarin-NEHOL database.

The manuscripts are obviously written in the same tradition, but differ slightly. Manuscript 3231 seems influenced by the English translation of Lieberkühn’s Gospel Harmony. This can be due to the fact that English became the most important language in the Danish Antilles at that moment.

Manuscript 3232 and the printed version hardly differ. However, since 3232 is not complete, it cannot be the version which was used by the printer.

 

Psalm-Boek 1774 and 1784

Today I found a scan of the 1774 PSALM-BŒK voor die NEGER-GEMEENTEN na S. THOMAS, S. CROIX en S. JEAN. Barby: 1774. 264 pp.  here. This book of hymns, translated from German into Negerhollands by the Moravian Brethren, can be compared to the 1765 book of hymns which is available as HERRN65a in our Clarin-NEHOL database and the work from 1784

Front page

The scanned work was once owned by Johanna Dorothea Schmidt from Friedensberg, St. Croix. This is interesting to note because of Auerbach’s remark about the use of Creole in St. Croix:

Na St Croex die hab meer van die Negers, die sender kan verstaan English,l as     na St Thomas en St Jan, maar doch, sender <¬English Praat> ka mingel ook altoeveel met die Creol- en Guinee-Taal. Da Neger-English die ben. (March 10, 1774)

“On St. Thomas there are more blacks who can understand English than in St. Thomas and St. John, but still their English speech is mixed very much with the Creole and Guinea languages. It is Negro-English.’ (Van Rossem & Van der Voort 1996: 9)

Also available on the Internet is Psalm-boek voor die tot die Evangelische broeder-Kerk behoorende neger-gemeenten na S. Croix, S. Thomas en S. Jan. Barby: 1784. 322, [46] pp. It can be found here. It is also translated into Creole by the Moravian Brethren and, as can be read in its preface, it can be compared to the above mentioned Psalm-Boek from 1774.

Psalm-boek 1784