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Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe

versão On-line ISSN 2224-7912
versão impressa ISSN 0041-4751


PIETERSE, H.J.. Variation and variety: A provisional exploration of the occurrence and function of language varieties in Kaar (Marlene van Niekerk). Tydskr. geesteswet. [online]. 2017, vol.57, n.2-1, pp.369-386. ISSN 2224-7912.

In this article the polyphony of languages discernible in Kaar, Marlene van Niekerk's third volume of poetry (2013), is investigated. Standard Afrikaans and various sociolects, dialects and regional varieties of Afrikaans are found in the volume, as well as lexical items from various mother and sister languages of Afrikaans such as Dutch, German and Latin. A number of possible points of entry to the volume is firstly discussed: Kaar can be analysed as an "encyclopedic narrative" (Mendelson 1976); the variety of scientific, literary and art-theoretical intertexts can be researched fruitfully; the conversation with Afrikaans poetics may be analysed; the variety of morphological and onomatopoeic and often playful creations and onomastics that are performed on the level of the wordplay in the poetry of Peter Blum, T.T. Cloete and Breyten Breytenbach deserve attention; the formation and function of reduction, combination forms, techno derivations and compounds, fusions and folk etimologies can serve as basis for a comprehensive morphological-literary investigation (cf. Combrink 1990:53-83); from an ecocritical animal and botanical perspective plant and animal onomastics - especially the many examples of regional names for plants and animals - could be analysed; the themes of political involvement and resistance deserve thorough analysis. The focus then shifts to the various languages in the volume; the ways in which they are used in the poems are listed in an extensive Addendum. The question is posed why so many items from Afrikaans labelled as "archaic", "seldom used", "obsolete", "dignified" and "poetical" are put to use to create a heteroglossic effect. After reasoning that these lexical items form part of the poet's day to day world, the argument is put forward that nearly forgotten items are "loosened" from oblivion and held up to the reader as living items to recall a passing and fugacious world. Commentary is furthermore given on the place of Afrikaans in and between this polyphony of languages and an indirect assertion is made by the poet that Afrikaans' roots are from the Indo-Germanic language family and not from the African languages; this forms part of the theme of estrangement in Africa, an important theme in the volume. Finally, Deleuze and Guattari's (1986) notion of "major" and "minor" languages is used to partially explain the register of many of the poems in Kaar as a minor language, a language that is pushed beyond its usual morphological and syntactic boundaries to ensure that it stays in a continuous nomadic and dynamic state.

Palavras-chave : Marlene van Niekerk; Kaar; encyclopedic narrative; idiolect; sociolect; regional variety; contact language; major language; minor language.

        · resumo em Africaner     · texto em Africaner     · Africaner ( pdf )


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