Dictionary book

“Kaaps deserves respect”: readers react to the development of the Kaaps dictionary

Parent24 recently published that the Center for Research on Multilingualism and Diversity (CMDR) at the University of the Western Cape has decided to develop the very first Kaaps trilingual dictionary, with the aim of restoring the dignity of this marginalized language.

In the article, Professor Quentin Williams, Director of CMDR, told us that they hope the development of this dictionary will have a profound impact on Kaaps as a language of teaching and learning in schools and at university, as a language for literacy development and as a language that could be learned by non-Kaap speakers in South Africa and across the world.

Must read: “It will transform lives”: the very first trilingual Kaaps dictionary under development

Williams explained that this project will help speakers of Kaaps benefit from its transformation into a language taught in school and university, as a language used in economic fields seen in the linguistic landscape of communities.

In response to this article, many readers have written to share what this development means for them. We share here their memories, their stories, their reservations and their enthusiasm …

Recognition of a unique culture

Samantha Ryan from Factreton, Cape Town told us that developing the dictionary is a great idea.

“Because wow, we (people of color) are never known for anything other than crime and division. We’re a unique culture so I think that’s a really good idea,” she said. declared.

Some reservations

David Lombardi said: “One of the things I miss the most when I’m away from Cape Town is the special culture of the community of color. Like any other group, their culture, including the language, deserves respect. , expanding its use and teaching it in schools may not be the way to go. “

He added: “First, Kaaps is changing very quickly, in part because of his freedom of speech. Making it official will limit this freedom, and there will be those who will oppose new words that do not correspond to the teachings.

“Second, just as Afrikaans evolved from Dutch, with Dutch no longer being spoken by South Africans, it could result that over time, Afrikaans as we know it today , could not be any more, everyone speaking a hybrid between the two. ”

“While most white Afrikaners get along very well with the community of color, it could lead to racial tensions. We have enough without attracting more.”

“I am also convinced that many people of color would rather their children speak ‘accepted’ Afrikaans and English, rather than use many familiar words and phrases,” Lombardi said.

“I’m all for recognizing Kaaps’ uniqueness and not demonizing him, but I would be cautious about formalizing him. It can be a slippery slope to create a situation where the rest of the world doesn’t understand us. ! ”

Lombardi asked, “On that note, isn’t there a reason to consider the use of the word ‘colored’ as it suggests color discrimination?”

My Bettie Ouma

Anita from Fish Hoek in Cape Town shared with us this sweet memory of her and her grandmother:

“Mon Ouma Bettie het in die Strand gebly. Dy het Kaaps gepraat. Vir my as kind van die Oos Kaap was dit alte eienaardig. Ouma het die storie vertel van n eseltjie wat nie wou loop nie. Dan begin sy: Da was eendag n ieseltjie Dan interrupts ek Nee, Ouma … eeeeeseltjie.

Dan starts upstairs. Da was eendag n iiieeeeseltjie and die iiiieeseltjie was bay stieks. Nee, Ouma .. Steeeeeks. Dan starts upstairs. Da was eendag n iiieeeeseltjie et die iiiiieeeeseltjie was bay stiiiiieeeeaks om te loep. Nee, Ouma, nie loep nie, looooop. Dan begin Ouma weer …. Da was eendag …. Ouma het nooit haar storie klaar kon vertel nie. In ek weet nou nog nie wat van die stieks ieseltjie geword het nie. “

Eko’vanie kaap naked ‘!

Another reader, Steven Allison, said he called Kaaps “Gam”.

He shared, “I grew up in Bergliet and love kaapse. Especially the pronunciation of ‘tjie’ for which I was punished at my school and told me to say ‘kie’ instead.”

“Wietjay, nu ‘. Naai, ek gatie. Eko’ vanie kaap nu ‘! I would love to own a’ kaapse ‘dictionary,” he wrote.

Read also : The story of an African children’s book that explains the science of skin color

“Kaaps is a language, not a slang”

Erleen Botha of the Elsies River believes that formalizing Kaap as a language could shatter toxic stereotypes and racist slurs leveled at Kaap speakers, or remarks made by Afrikaan speakers that “Kaap speakers should speak properly. Afrikaans ”, making Kaap speakers feel inferior to the widely spoken Afrikaans nationally.

She wonders if the development of the dictionary will make Kaaps a language spoken and taught in school. Nonetheless, she maintained that “there is a need for awareness regarding Kaaps as a language”.

Botha believes that the development of this dictionary will formalize Kaap as a language and not just slang.

Credit where it’s due

Melanie Snell from Kensington thinks that developing this dictionary is a fantastic thing to do. She explained: “People of color are rarely credited for creating Afrikaans and are rarely credited for keeping the language relevant.”

People of color have created most of the slang or unpopular phrases, so it’s great that there is a recording of everything that has been created so far, ”she says.

Snell believes that “young people should learn that their language is acceptable and not just for certain contexts like at home or in social contexts”.

They should feel that their language deserves and can be broadcast on TV shows and other major platforms. Hopefully the initiative will help put Kaaps as a language in the spotlight, Snell says.

Send us some of your thoughts and best memories from Kaaps, and what you think of the development of the Kaaps dictionary.


Share your stories and questions with us via email at [email protected] Anonymous contributions are welcome.

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