Category Archives: On the Internet

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/

 

 

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‘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!

 

 

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

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

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.