Category Archives: On the Internet

Di hou creol – Podcast over Virgin Islands Dutch Creole, Aflevering 2

In de tweede aflevering van deze podcast behandel ik drie onderwerpen. Ik begin met de brief van Arendt Heinderijcksz. Deze is verzonden vanaf St. Eustatius in 1672, maar kwam nooit aan. In deze brief staat de oudste Nederlandse aanwijzing voor de kolonisatie van St. Thomas. In het tweede deel laat ik twee teksten horen die te maken hebben met slavernij. De eerste is de enige uit de achttiende eeuw. Dit afscheidslied van een tot slaaf gemaakte is opgetekend door een bediende van plantage La Grande Princesse op St. Croix en is gepubliceerd in 1788. De tweede is vastgelegd door De Josselin de Jong in 1923. In het derde gedeelte van de podcast noem ik enkele websites waarmee historisch onderzoek met betrekking tot het Virgin Islands Dutch Creole en/of de geschiedenis van de Deense Antillen gedaan kan worden.

Veel luisterplezier! Opmerkingen, tips, vragen? Stel ze via deze website. Alvast hartelijk bedankt. Luisteren? Dat kan via Spotify, Apple podcast, Google podcast , maar ook via deze link.

Genoemde bronnen:

  1. De brief van Arendt Heinderijcksz normaal gesproken hier te vinden. Zie brief 2008. De transcriptie volgt hier:

‘J Juel
A(nn)o 1672
Eersame ser Dichteten Groot Gunstiger
heer saluijt vl gelijft te weeten als dat
jck met mijn folck noch clock e(nde) gesondt ben
veerhoppende het selfde met mijn Groot
Gunstinger heer voors gelijft mijn heer te
weeten als daet jck hier ben den 9/19 Desemb(er)
ben geardiuert e(nde) legh hier e(nde) verwaght
ferro met smerten voors heb jck voorstaen
als daet ferro noch jn Nouember heft tot
Copenhagen gewest e(nde) hier js hoopen folck die
naer ferro voorlangen om mede te folgen nar
sint tomes voors weet jck mijn Groot Gunsti
ger heer niet mer te schriuen daen Godt befollen
e(nde) de groetnise aen al de Edel heerren de
Edel Coppanni
VL d(ienst)w(illige) D(ienaer)
Arendt Heinderijcksz.
Acttum den 26/5
feberuarij jnt jagt
De Gauden Cron
op de Ree vaen staecio.’

De werken van Westergaard (genoemd in relatie tot Heinderijcksz) en Knox (met de lijst van eerste kolonisten) staan in de linkerkolom van deze website.

2.1 De teksten waarin slavernij een belangrijke rol spelen zijn de volgende. Van het fragment van een rebellenlied (Schmidt 1788) staat een afbeelding in het boek Die Creol Taal. De link hiernaar staat in de rechterkolom van deze website. De tekst luidt als volgt:

Adjo my Mester Neeger, e — Samja

Da lob my lo lob, e – Samja

My nöy kan hau di uit mer &c

Di Blanco no frey, e – Samja

Adjo my Syssie, &c

Van Dag du Mandag &c

Adjo my Mama &c

Da lob my &c

Adjo my beer Maade …

Adjo m gud Friende &c

Adjo my Tata

Di Land no Frey &c

Adjo my Viefe &c

Lef frey met my Mama &c

Dünk op my altyt &c

My nu sae ferjet jou e – – Samja

2.2 De tekst die De Josselin de Jong heeft opgetekend tijdens zijn veldwerk in 1923 over de manumissie van de hond luidt als volgt. Hartelijk dank, Peter Bakker, voor jouw foto van deze tekst!

3. De genoemde websites zijn de volgende:

Letters as Loot

Gekaapte Brieven

Slave Voyages

Virgin Islands Families

Rigsarkivet The Danish Westindies – Sources of history

Words from Dutch Creole in Virgin Islands Creole English

At the end of the eighteenth century the vernacular language of the Danish Westindies changed, to my opinion, quite drastically. Dutch and Virgin Islands Dutch Creole were replaced by English and Virgin Islands English Creole. The manuscript of Wied ‘Lieder, confirmationsunterricht u.a.m. teils in kreolischer, teils in englischer Sprache (1842-1847) shows a striking example. The first 60 pages are in Virgin Islands Dutch Creole. The remaining pages are in English. The author remarks: ‘In den 40er Jahren des 19. Jahrh. verschwand auf den Westindischen Inseln die kreolische Sprache und wurde durch die englische verdrängt.’ [In the 40s of the 19th century the creole language disappeared on the West-Indian Islands and was superseded by the English one.]”

However, Dutch Creole words and perhaps even structures, were preserved in the English Creole. In Lito Valls’s dictionary of Virgin Islands English Creole ‘What a Pistarckle!’ several words are marked as ‘dutch creole’, however often accompanied by ‘obsolete’.

Kristoffer Friis Bøegh and Peter Bakker (both Aarhus University) have been digging in this dictionary, excavating not only the marked words, but also the ones who were not recognized before as been originating from Dutch or Dutch Creole.

In an extensive, but very readable article of 38 pages their search and findings are presented. Although it is published as a digital article for Trefwoord on the website of Instituut voor de Nederlandse taal, it is in English. In the References section the forthcoming dissertation of Kristoffer Friis Bøegh is mentioned: a book to look forward to!

Skepi Dutch: sensational source found by Jacobs and Parkvall

No, it is not about Virgin Islands Dutch Creole, but about one of the two other Dutch related Creole Languages in the Caribbean. In 1989 Ian Robertson of University of the West Indies, Trinidad, compared the Swadesh lists of Virgin Islands Dutch Creole, Berbice Dutch and Skepi Dutch and suggested that the least known of the three, Skepi Dutch looked more like Virgin Islands Dutch Creole than to Berbice Dutch which existed along the Berbice river and Wiruni Creek, quite next to the Essequibo river where Skepi was once the contact language.

In Journal of Pidgin and Creole Languages, 35 (2020), 2, p.360-380 Bart Jacobs and Mikael Parkvall present a formerly unknown source of the mysterious Skepi Dutch language which doubles the vocabulary of Skepi Dutch and which adds about 120 sentences to the corpus.

On Neerlandistiek.nl I wrote an introduction to this important article. It is in Dutch, and you can find it here:

https://www.neerlandistiek.nl/2020/10/sensationele-nieuwe-bron-van-het-skepi-dutch/#more-122399

An English translation will be published soon.

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!

 

 

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.