Tag Archives: Digitally available

Some metalinguistic comments from early nineteenth century

It is unclear from what period on Dutch Creole was replaced by English or English Creole. At the end of the eighteenth century and the beginning of the nineteenth century, missionaries still translated and published large texts into Dutch Creole. However, the manuscript which shows best that English became the most important language of the Danish Antilles is Wied’s Confirmations Unterricht of september 1843 (3.3.2  in Stein’s 1986 bibliography of Herrnhuter manuscripts). The first 60 pages of the catechism are in Dutch Creole, but the questions 4, 11, 18 and 25 are already written in English. The final 23 pages, from 1847, are in English.

In 1833, when the Gospel Harmony was published, the edition numbers give the impression the language was still vivid. Among the about 9000 Christianized slaves, 2000 copies of this large book were distributed.

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(Anon. “Moravian Brethren’s Tract Operations”. In: Twenty-second Annual Report of the American Tract Society, Boston, presented at Boston, May 25, 1836, showing the facilities enjoyed for enlarged operations in foreign and pagan lands, and in our own country. Together with lists of auxiliaries, benefactors, depositories, publications, &c. Boston: Perkins & Marvin, 1836. P. 34.)

With regard to the use of language in the church of the Moravian Brethren, in 1829 the following is published:

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(Anon. Periodical Accounts relating to the Missions of the Church of the United Brethren, established among the heathen. Volume XI. London: McDowell, 1829, p. 241-245.)

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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.

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.