The Conceptual Evolution in Linguistics: implications for the study of Kaaps

  • Charlyn Dyers University of the Western Cape

Abstract

As an academic discipline, Linguistics - the scientific study of language - is associated
with a range of concepts. Students of Linguistics are traditionally introduced to these
concepts in their first year of study, and everything that follows builds on knowledge
of these concepts. But language, as Blommaert (2011) notes, is the most visible sign
of social change. Currently, much critical thinking is said to be philosophical outflows
of a late or post-modern era, characterized by an intensification of three characteristics
that have been part of human history for some time: globalization, migration and
the dominant position of English, accompanied by the growth of new hybrid
languages in urban spaces. In terms of the ongoing vitality of other languages and the
influence of a number of dominant language ideologies (Weber and Horner 2012),
these three characteristics have sparked discourses of endangerment, revitalization,
commodification and carnivalisation (DuchĂȘne en Heller, 2007; Heller, 2010). At the
same time, there has been a steady evolution in our understanding of many linguistic
concepts, particularly those emanating from particular language ideologies and
hierarchical political powers. This paper addresses this issue and its implications for
the study and treatment of the colloquial variety of Afrikaans known as Kaaps. The
contents of the paper have been slightly modified from the original Afrikaans version
which appeared in Kaaps in Fokus.

Published
2018-11-07