Replying to LO25223 --
Greetings to you all.
I dedicate this long contribution to all fellow learners who have become
aware that for daily affairs, a person who can read and write in his/her
mother tongue, has a substantial advantage upon those who cannot. I am
conviced beyond any doubt that in our endeavour to help all peoples
restoring their dignity, we will have to respect their mother tongues as
much as our own.
But is it enough to say "respect all mother tongues"? No. To respect any
thing at all, we first have to learn about that thing so as to understand
it. Respect with ignorance is like carrying inflammable fuel in the one
hand and a burning fire in the other hand. Sooner or later many people
will get hurt.
Should I had to give this contribution a title, it could have been
THE CREATIVE DANCE OF THE LANGUAGE
It summarises what I want to do in this contribution
-- how languages dance up and down the ladder of creativity
-- how every speaker of a language by necessity have to
dance up and down his/her own ladder of creativity too
because of the langauge's dance.
Leo Minnigh <firstname.lastname@example.org> writes:
>This community is multilingual and multicultural. Some
>of us have English as their mothertongue, lots of us don't
>although we all communicate in English (at least we think
Thank you for introducing this contencious topic in such a civilized
I like the "at least we think so :-)" very much because it hints at my
daily struggle to express in English my explicit thoughts. They emerged
initially from my tacit knowledge through my own mother tongue Afrikaans.
It also hints about me having to read several times what a fellow learner
in our LO-dailogue wrote to make sure and doubly sure that I think what
that person wanted to say in terms of what actually had been written. It
is so much easier to read my own thoughts rather than the other person's
thoughts in what had been written.
I suspect that you with Dutch as mother tongue and many of our fellow
leaners with a mother tongue different to English have much the same
You write the following remarkable piece:
>In any of both cases, language plays a crucial role in
>thinking and in the transfer of thoughts (and thus with
>learning). The barriers that different languages cause or
>create in a learning environment (with different persons)
>could be so high, that vast parts of knowledge and ideas
>of a person or even whole nations or tribes will never reach
>people with another language.
I would prefer to alter it slightly as follows to reflect how I
understand it. Alterations are indicated in capital letters
and omissions by [..].
In any of both cases, language plays a crucial role in
thinking and in the transfer of thoughts (and thus with
learning). The DIVERSITY that different languages cause
or create in a learning environment (with different persons)
CAN RESULT [..] in so high BARRIERS, that vast parts of
THE knowledge [..] of PEOPLE SPEAKING ONE LANGUAGE
AS MOTHER TONGUE [..] will never reach people with
another language as MOTHER TONGUE.
Please do not conceive these changes as criticism on your
articulation. They are merely changes to reflect closer my own
understanding. I want now to demonstrate, using some of your
very words and by way of comparing your (Leo's) writing and
my (At's) modified writing that
In any of both cases, language plays a crucial
role in thinking and in the transfer of thoughts
(and thus with learning).
Some fellow learners may be surpised that you and I agree on so much and
yet that I wish to draw finer differences. I will try to offer an
explanation. On the one hand, we differ in what we have learned
academically. But on the other hand and most importantly, we differ in
You speak Dutch and I speak Afrikaans. When we write in private, you write
in Dutch to me and I write in Afrikaans to you. I have studied many books
in Dutch because whether our English speaking fellow learners will believe
it or not, I often find most careful, comprehensive and realistic thinking
on a diversity of topics written in Dutch! Sometimes Dutch people -- like
Dooyeweerd and Kuyper -- write on things which the English seemingly have
not yet dreamt to write about ;-). Sometimes the ideas originated with
their German neighbours, but needed the Dutch to bring these ideas down to
earth because the Dutch do not have high mountains like their German
neighbours from which to stare at the distant horizon ;-) I suspect that
you have studied far less books in Afrikaans so that you do not understand
me as easily as I do understand you.
Why this disparity? Is it because you respect Afrikaans less than me
respecting Dutch? No. It is because we are part of a much richer context
in which linguists play a key role. Most, if not all, Dutch and Afrikaans
linguists believe that Afrikaans evolved haphazardly from the 16th century
language called High Dutch whereas modern Dutch has evolved systematically
from High Dutch. In other words, High Dutch has immerged into Afrikaans as
kitchen language and emerged into modern Dutch as living-room language. I
will now delve into some history of languages which may tire fellow
learners, but I promise them that will give us profound insight into
language emergences through bifurcations.
High Dutch itself was established from Frankonish (not Frankish) as a
result of the invention of the priniting press. SPOKEN Frankonish was
rich in local dialects and one of them became the WRITTEN language known
as High Dutch. The "rich, learned and influential" people SPOKE and WROTE
High Dutch while the vast majority of "poor, ignorant and powerless"
people spoke any one of the many Frankonish dialects. It took a couple of
centuries for High Dutch to become their mother tongue too and by that
time, and as a result of it, modern Dutch was well on its way.
The first colonisers at the Cape in South Africa from the Netherlands in
the 1650's consisted of HOIK company officials who were well versed in
High Dutch and settlers of whom the majority spoke, SUPPOSEDLY only
Frankonish with its many dialects. Here at the Cape they soon came into
contact with many INDIGENOUS Khoi (Hottentot) tribes ("brown" people),
Banthu slaves ("black" people who were not indigenous to the Western Cape)
and Malay slaves IMPORTED from the far east. As a result of the
creolisation of languages like English, Spanish and Portugese elsewhere in
the world, liguists SUPPOSED that seemingly similar conditions in the Cape
were perfect for High Dutch to immerge into pidgen Dutch, also known as
>From this Cape Dutch, by the lofty guidance of firstly High Dutch and
later modern Dutch, this pidgen Cape Ducth was supposedly to have
developed into Afrikaans as a sort of compromise to backward people who
could not master the more complex grammer of Dutch. Yes, Afrikaans does
have many words which come from the many Khoi (workers) and Malay (slaves)
languages. Yes, between 1902 and 1926 Afrikaans became rapidly a written
language too. Yes, in 1926 Afrikaans replaced Dutch as the one official
language. English was the other offfical language, de facto since 1902 --
end of British Boer War -- and de juro since 1910. Yes, soon after WWII
the "secret masters" began to push the ideology and policy of apartheid as
the breakthough salvation which the Afrikaans speaking "white" people will
bring to all peoples of the country. This would save the country from the
"holism" of the then prime minister Jan Smuts who was seemingly more
concerned about global affairs than the affairs of his own "volk". (The
Afrikaans word "volk" refers to a nation which is homogenous in race,
history, language and religion.)
Thus the "secret masters" set up apartheid by publishing its
laws in Afrikaans. Because these laws followed the first writings
in Afrikaans by only some thirty years, perhaps the worst
possible Mental Model (equation) ever resulted, not only in
South Africa, but the rest of Africa:
Afrikaans = apartheid
Nobody in his/her right mind would, for example, ever do the
German = nazism
Italian = facism
since these two languages are centuries older than nazism
and facism. But for Afrikaans it did happened. Since 1992 (the
dismanteling of apartheid) many Afrikaans speaking people
have suffered, because of this equation, from immense retribution
in manners which very few other people can imagine. This is
why more than million of them has fled their beloved since 1992.
This why the murders on hundreds of them each year never
reach your news media, murders so cruel that even our host
Rick cannot allow their decription on this list.
But is Afrikaans undoubtably a pidgen langauge from slaves and people with
mixed blood which some white Dutch speaking people took for themselves in
1926 so as to have self an identity in the system of apartheid which the
"secret masters" have created? I began to doubt it soon after I began to
doubt apartheid as a "God given solution" to South Africa's problems in
human relations. I began to perceive how these problems in human relations
were related in some strange manner to South Africa's diversity in
peoples, animals, plants, soils, geology, minerals, climatic regions and
As I became aware of how most "assumptions" of apartheid were never
scrutinised for their true and moral qualities, I also became aware how
many assumptions about the history of Afrikaans were never scrutinised.
The most important reason is this case was the lack of WRITTEN evidence to
scrutinise these assumptions with. Actually, these assumptions were made
because of the very lack of WRITTEN evidence. Should this be the only
possible plausible history, then what makes it better than apartheid?
Furthermore, does this possibility not vindicate the equation "Afrikaans =
Gradually and ever so gradually I become aware of scrutinizing the
assumptions of another possibility. It does not involve the destructive
immergence of High Dutch into Cape Dutch, but an extraordinary
constructive emergence in which Frankonish dialects (including High Dutch)
play only one of two major partners. Which was the other partner? To
become aware of this other partner and thus second possibility, I have to
take you fellow learners back in the evolution of many languages.
To study the indentity of any changeable thing categorically (sureness),
one has to trace the path of evolution of that thing. Chemists,
geologists and biologists know this truth tacitly, but except for a few
biologists, this tacit knowledge does not get articulated.
One of the voyages which the famous Greek historian Herodotus (father of
history) undertook in the 5th cent BC, was into the north-east of Greece.
There he studied people moving to the north-west, having customs strange
for even him, never finding rest for their feet. They were coming from
over the Caucasian mountains. Then we hear nothing from them again. Some
three centuries later (2nd cent BC) the journey over land stopped for most
of them at the sea in the region called the Lowlands (flat lands). This
flat region begins in the north-east of France, stretches over the
Netherlands and over most of the northern part of Germany. By the time
these migrating people have reached the Lowlands region, they were also
speaking in already different dialects which during the Dark ages became
independent languages like Frankish, Frankonish, Frisish, Sachsish
(Saxon), Anglish, Jutish, etc.
. [About the same time when Herodotus made his epic
. journeys, the first wave of people began to move from
. central Africa in a south-west direction along the drier
. parts of Southern Africa. They were the forebears of
. the Khoi (Hottentot) peoples. They would soon encounter
. the San (Bushmen) peoples who were already living for
. many millenia is Southern Africa.]
One wave (Scoloti) soon crossed the Channel to settle as far north as they
could, thus setting up what we know today as the Scottish people. Another
group (Franks) move to the south-west until they were stopped by the Alps.
Here Julius Caesar encountered them coming from the other side. Like
Herodotus some 4 centuries earlier, their customs astounded him too. Their
love for freedom was so strong that he, unlike in all other Roman
colonies, did not force any Roman laws or taxes upon them, except
requiring them to accept him as the highest authority. What a strategic
move! Within less than ten generations they did something which none of
the other tribes ever did -- they exchanged their Frankish language for
the Latin of the Romans, modifying the Latin freely to express their own
thoughts and deeds which Frankish previously did. Thus Old French came
into existence, long before the second wave of these wandering people
crossed the Channel.
. [About the same time the second wave of people began
. to move form central Africa into a south and south-east
. direction. They were the forebears of the Banthu peoples.
. Soon or later they would also encounter the San peoples.]
Only some 6 centuries later did the second wave crossed the Channel, some
of the Saxons, a bit of the Frisians and Jutes and almost all of the
Angles. Here an extraordinary emergence of the Saxon and Angle languages
soon took place -- two parts joining into a whole greater than their sum,
a whole to be later known as Old English. From the Angle part come the
names England and English. But we will now leave the further evolution of
the English language, exciting as it is, to focus on the history of the
Lowlands languages because here we have to seek the clues.
The Frankonish (to the west of the Lowlands) and especially the remaining
Saxons (from the Ijsel River to the east of the Lowands) began to develop
a most extraordinary political ystem. Already Herodotus wrote about the
"migrating people's" intense desire for freedom. It was this same intense
desire for freedom which astounded Julius Caesar too. On the soils of
England it gave reason to many a battle -- conquer, divide and thus rule.
But in the Lowlands the peoples soon worked out a peaceful system called
the Gouwen ("golden states"). We may describe it as a very loose federal
The people of the "golden states" abhorred central government with its
unavoidable hierarchies. In fact, their version of "central government"
was for representatives from each "golden state" to come together for ONE
day in a year to make a few national laws, to hold a few court cases on
capital crimes and then to dissolve again before the next day. Why?
Life in the "golden states" was not easy. The country side was covered
with marshes. In winter it became intensely cold. So they developed a
"toen" (town) culture. A higher piece of ground would be raised even more
with soil, surrounded with a fence of shrubs, and inside a few houses
would be erected. In a house the people (and in the winter) animals would
all live together to keep them warm. Chores were equally divided between
men, women and children. They were poor, but they were also filled with
bliss because they were finally free -- or so they assumed. In the "toen"s
they practiced what took more than a millenium to become articulated by
Senge as a Learning Organisation.
During the previous centuries the Christian religion has spread to France,
England, Switserland, higher Germany, Spain, etc. The Roman Church also
become the Holy Roman Empire. One pope (I forgot his name) decided that
the "golden states", the last pagan region in all of Europe, must accept
the religion of the Pope too. So he send two mssionaries (an English and a
French) to the "golden states". When they arrived, they began to babtise
whoever they could lay their hands on. But since they served the central
Empire who needed much taxes to operate, they gave each new convert also
an invoice: "You owe the church so many chickens, so many sheep, so many
pigs and so many cattle." When I saw these invoices with my own eyes, I
knew that it would not work and was not surpised to discover the
following. After a year or so the people of the "golden states" put the
missionaries on their wagon and sent them back. If this would be the cost
of the religion of salvation which these two missionaries preached, then
they do not want to have anything to do with it.
Within a century after the failure of that mission, and because of it,
emperor Pepin decided that the "golden states" were actually a stain on
the success of the Holy Empire. So he decided to crush them. It was not an
easy task because of having to fight with heavy armory in this marshy
region. He died to soon for such a drawn out campaign so that his son
Charlemagne the "Great" had to take over. Charlemagne decided that the
people of the "golden states" will have to be taught a lesson which the
whole of Europe would never forget to the end of time.
Every man, woman and child who did not accept immediately the Holy
Empire's religion with babtism were to be killed. All of their culture
(laws, customs) had to be destroyed. When they wanted to keep animals,
even if merely one chicken, they had to ask permission from his vasals. If
they wanted to marry, or merely to visit family or friends elsewhere, they
had to ask permission. More than half of whatever they produced, had to be
handed over as taxes. Consequently, in some two centuries the "golden
states" region became, perhaps, the poorest of all regions in Europe, Asia
Minor and even North Africa.
. [About that time the first Banthu tribes began to cross
. the Limpopo River which forms the eastern part of the
. north border of the present South Africa. A couple of
. centuries earlier some Xhoi peoples also had crossed
. the Gariep (Orange) River. It forms the western part of
. the north border of South Africa. Both the Xhoi and the
. Banthu peoples began to have daily conflicts with the
. indigenous San peoples. The Xhoi (in the west) and the
. Banthu (in the east) had little contact with each other.]
Then a curious thing happened. Long after the officially "successful"
Crusades of the Holy Empire, the young children of the former "golden
states", poor as can be, wanted to do their part too. So they asked for a
Crusade, but the offical Empire would not grant them one, nor would their
own adults accompany them. So hundreds of these kids undertook a voyage
which seemed to be sheer madness. They never even managed to reach
Palestine. But what they did, was to break with the poverty of the former
"golden states". They came into contact with a world beginning to change
dramatically. The universities of Bologna and Paris and some of the famous
monasteries were already up and going. Everywhere they came in contact
with people who were imbettering their lives through learning. They learnt
the value of learning.
Many arrived back after many years in their own "vaderland" (fatherland),
then to be known as Nieder-Sachse (Low Saxon). But their eyes were now
also opened to the desperate conditions existing there. They tried plans
here and there, but it all failed. But they learned from their failures
and became wiser. Eventually a Geert Grootte finally realised that one and
only one thing will get the people out of their fixed poverty -- ORGANISED
LEARNING. So these people began with nothing, except with faith in their
wisdom, to organise primary and secondary schools and even universities.
Soon revered universities like Bologna, Paris, Krakow, Oxford and
Heidelberg made acquaintance with some "scary" universities from
In but a few generations the people of Nieder-Sachse emerged into material
and spiritual wealth, finally overcoming the tragic immergence which
Charlemagne had brough on their "vaderland" some four centuries ago. As
they become wealthier, they extended their trade also into sea. They
organised the mighty Hansa league and began trading with Norway, France,
England and even Spain. People in these countries began to admire and even
envy the Hansa way of doing business. Yes, many Nieder-Sachse knew no end
to their wealth. They, who two centuries earlier, knew spareness in almost
everything, completely forgot spareness. Thus their eyes became closed
The printing press was invented. All over Europe people was beginning to
commit their languages to printing. They also began to translate and print
ancient books about other civilisations becoming available to them as a
result of the crash of the Byzanthium Empire. A Ducthman named Erasmus
began painstakedly to compile the most orginal version of the Greek text
of the New Testament. When eventually one Martin Luther began with his
reformation of the church, these Nieder-Sachsen were too busy to
accumulate more material wealth. Thus they did not become aware of the
creative nature of the vast changes happening eventhough these very
changes brought them even more wealth. Who needs the Bible and especially
the message about God in it when so much wealth can be made.
The English published their Bible (King James translation), thus
standardising much of what would become modern English, the Frankonish
their Bible (Statenvertaling) which would become standard High Dutch and
Luther his Bible selecting Schwabish to become standard High Dutch. Soon
almost every English, Dutch and German person, young and old, male and
female could read. Literacy became a possesion of the common people all
over Europe, except for the people who brought about the mighty Hansa
league with their own learning. They were more interested in making money
than commiting also their language into script. So began one of the
wierdest self-inflicted language disempowerings ever.
In less than a century they had to see the power slipping from their
hands, first to Spain and Portugal, then to the Dutch and soon it would be
the English too. So when the Dutch began to colonise South Africa, South
America and the islands of India and the Far East, the people of the
former "golden states" were poor once again. By then they were simply
called the "Diets" (Low Deutsch) people to distinguish them form the
"Hollandsch" (Dutch) people. So when the HOIC (Hollandsch Oost Indische
Companij) needed people to work for them in their overseas colonies, only
those who had virtually nothing would dare to set out on dangerous voyages
on sea for many weeks to get at places where they knew they would have
nothing, except their freedom. So they became wanderers again.
When Van Riebeeck began a "half way house" in 1652 at the Cape, Dutch
("Hollandsch) and Saxon ("Diets") people came along as colonists. In terms
of the surnames of present Afrikaans speaking whites, I guess they were
somewhat in the ratio of 2:1 Dutch:Saxon. Hence, in this "half way house"
with its COMPLEX diversity, a most extraodinary emergence took place. A
language was needed to manage this complexity in nature and culture,
allowing rapid and effective communication between free people (colonists
and Khoi) and slaves alike. The Cape was not a place for timid or slow
Only one man was aware what that something strange was happening. He did
not know what and he was very concerned about it. He was a man named
Stahl, the "sieketrooster" of Van Riebeeck. A "sieketrooster" is a company
offical who had to teach, to take care of the ill and to look after the
spiritual wellness of the colonists. In one short letter which Stahl wrote
to the lords of the HOIC in Holland, he begged them to send teachers in
"Hollandsch and Diets" because of the desperate need. Whether he wanted to
conserve each language, nobody will ever know. But his short note had an
urgency which speak to me most profoundly.
. [By this the most southern of the migrating Banthu
. peoples had reached the Kei River. Because they had
. the longest contact with the San people, they also had
. taken up the most (of all Banthu langauges) some of the
. click sounds made by the tongue in their language Xhosa.
. Even the "Xh" in the name Xhosa signals a click.]
Cape Dutch as it was later called, was beginning to emerge in SPEACH among
colonists (who could not WRITE High Dutch) as well as slaves and free Khoi
who could not write anything at all -- the language of the kitchen and the
stables. Again, like in the case of Old English a millenium earlier, two
parts joined into a whole greater than their sum, taking up Khoi and Malay
words where needed, using Khoi and Malay grammers to cut off all unwieldy
grammer of "Hollandsch" and "Diets" while exploiting latent rules of
syntaxis in each of them. Some forty years later the result began to be
severly criticised by people highly learned in the grammer of High Dutch.
We still have a few remnants of these criticisms of Cape Dutch in High
Interestingly enough, the white settlers to North America in the same time
brought also two major languages with them -- English and Dutch. At some
time it was an important question to them which would be the offfical
languages for the first dozen or so states -- either English or Dutch.
Perhaps there was too much of LEM (Law of Excluded Middle) operating here
because these two parts did not add together to form a new whole greater
than their sum.
Meanwhile in England, France, Germany and Italy the science of liguistics
was fast beginning to develop, focussing on all the famous European
languages of those days as well as the ancient languages of cilisations
lost forever. But not one single linguist (and many were at the Cape on
route to the East to do reseach there) was aware of something actually
happening right before their very eyes. What they wished to see was the
denigration of High Dutch into Cape Dutch rather than an emergence. Why
not? Who in those times have ever heard of "entropy production" by
force-flux pairs and of bifurcations at the edge of chaos resulting in
either constructive emergences (like Cape Dutch) or destructive
immergences (like the many creolic versions of English, Dutch and Spanish
Then began a century of intense Dutch-fication -- an attempt to conform
Cape Dutch back into High Dutch as the standard language from which it
should have never deviated. When people who spoke Cape Dutch had to write,
it had to be done in High Dutch. All printed stuff which they got to read,
was in High Dutch. The learned people were considered to be those who
spoke and wrote High Dutch. Those who could write some High Dutch, but
rather spoke Cape Dutch, were considered to be less learned. Those who
could only spoke Cape Dutch (but not write it since it did not yet had a
written form) were considered to be backwards.
. [Finally the white colonists moving eastwards and speaking
. Cape Dutch met the black migraters moving westwards and
. speaking Xhosa at the Kei River -- two cultures as vastly
. different as the grammers of the languages allowing discourse
. on these two cultures, namely Cape Dutch and Xhosa.
. Violent clashes ensued.]
At the beginning of the nineteenth century when the English took the Cape
over from the Dutch, this spoken, but unwritten, Cape Dutch was subjected
to Anglisation. All subjects had to speak and write English. If their
English came out badly because of their Cape Dutch, why worry since they
were nothing more than boorish farmers. Thus the white people speaking
Cape Dutch began to call themselves the (Grens) Boere. The English called
them "boors" and they themselves called them "boere"=farmers, but they
were too ignorant to know that "boors" is not equal to "farmers".
The Boere had much conflict with the Masters of the HOIC because of the
policies which the latter forced them to follow when dealing with San,
Xhoi and Banthu peoples. When the English took over, they forced
completely different policies which were even less realistic for the
Boere. Hence the Great Trek (migration with ox wagons) began almost fourty
years later. So fast and vast was the Great Trek that within fifty years
the borders of the now Republic of South Africa were formed with the two
Boere Republics -- Transvaal and Orange Free State -- and the English
colony to the east called Natal.
By that time many English, German and French missionaries were beginning
to study various Banthu languages so as to translate the Bible into these
languages. None of the hundreds of Banthu languages of Southern Africa had
a written form. What they had to do, namely to study a grammer unknown to
linguists and to provide it with an ortography so that it could be written
too, was a nightmare. Yet they persisted and gradually parts of the Bible
became translated and printed in some of the Banthu languages.
But nobody was really concerned about the Boere, not even they themselves.
They spoke Cape Dutch, but when they had to read or write, they had to
fall back on High Dutch. However, since they could rely on High Dutch for
reading and writing, why making an effort to create a written version of
also Cape Dutch? A few intellectuals (like Pannevis and Oom Lokomotief) in
the Cape tried to write Cape Dutch too. This is called the First Language
Movement. But it withered away because of trying to write Cape Dutch with
the ortography of High Dutch. Its like borrowing your neighbour's wife
when you are not married self. Try writing English with the ortography of
German and see what results.
The Boere now began to speak of the Cape Dutch as Afrikaans to distinguish
it from Dutch, the successor to High Dutch.
Two decades later all hell broke loose. The British Boer War was declared
in 1899. The British wanted to add the two Republics to their dominions
because of the discovered mineral riches (diamonds and gold). The first
six months the war was conventional like other European wars. But the
Boere began to realise that they were vastly outnumbered in soldiers and
munition by the British. So they began to change their tactics -- applying
and improving what they have learned in their former conflicts with the
San people. Again evolution by holism, but now evolution in warfare. Thus
they began with what later became known as guerrilla tactics.
Soon the British forces realised that they could never win the war with
these guerrilla tactics. So they began with their "Burning Earth" counter
tactics. All farm steads of the Boere had to be burnt, all crops and
animals had to be confiscated or destroyed and the wives and children of
the Boere removed to Concentration Camps. In other words, cut of any help
to the Boere forces from their families. Black people who spoke Afrikaans
were put in separate Concentration Camps so that they could not assist the
Boere. Thus the British forces began the first official apartheid in South
Africa by keeping Boere and Afrikaans speaking Banthus apart from each
other in their Concentration Camps.
Eventually, both the British and the Boere realised that this war would
never be won by any side. So they came to a peace agreement in 1902. The
British lost much, but nothing compared to what was still in Great
Britain. The Boere lost almost everything, their farms and their families.
Yes, some 26 000 Boere woman and children as well as 15 000 Banthu men,
women and children died in these camps because of the most appaling
conditions. Read more about Emily Hobhouse who became the conscience of
the British people about these diabolic deeds of their forces.
Most Boere even lost their Bibles printed in High Dutch. They had only one
thing left over -- their spoken language Afrikaans. The rich "outlanders"
in the country controlled all the business, drove around in the
automobiles and took pictures of whatever pleased them. Yes, all wierd
kinds of new technology were imported from overseas, paid with money
gained form their gold and diamond operations. The now famous generals of
the Boere like Herzog and Smuts had a far more complex task upon their
hands than the British Boer War. Their behaviour in this war brought them
fame all over the world.
But a war is one big destructive operation. These generals now had to
begin with one incredibly complex constructive operation, giving the Boere
back a normal, dignified life style. They had nothing material to give the
Boere and spiritually the complexity was dreary to even the most bravest
of minds. Official help from the British government was promised, but
nothing came of it. The Boere began to perceive conditions in the two
former Republics to be as worse as in the Concentration Camps. Life began
to become death.
But nobody took notice of a young man called Eugene Marais. Here was a
young person as gifted in letters like a Goethe, as gifted in science like
a Darwin and as gifted in philosophy as a Kant. Even before the BB War he
began experimenting with writing Afrikaans in short letters and articles
to a local Dutch paper in Pretoria, capital of the Transvaal. His thoughts
were so penetrating and disturbing in these contributions that nobody even
noticed his experiments to find an ortography for written Afrikaans. Hence
soon after the BB War when everybody else was feeling forsaken, he
published his first poem in Afrikaans and the first piece ever written in
Afrikaans as we know it today. In it he used an ortography which he has
worked out single handedly.
The name of the poem is Winternag (Winter's Night). I gave my translation
of it in English to our LO-dialogue some years ago. This little poem did
what all the generals could not do and not even dreamt was possible to. As
people, having nothing, began to move their eyes over the few letters of
each word, over the few words in each sentence and over the few sentences
of the poem, they discovered with a shock that they indeed have something
more valuable than all the wordly things which they have lost. They have a
mother tongue Afrikaans as well as the first ever demonstration of its
As their eyes moved over the symbols which harmonised perfectly with the
thoughts they had to tell, these telling thoughts matched perfectly with
the pain and hope which the readers carried in their spirit during their
daily toils and their nightly dreams. The poem did nothing more than
writing to the presence of their souls.
Script on paper and sounds in mind emerged into one greater whole, more
than the sum of speach and script. This greater whole was the mental
dignity of the Afrikaner. In one stroke by one of the greatest geniusses
of humankind ever, the Afrikaner became mental by reading self what no
person before ever have taught them.
In less than two generatations by writing their own books and translating
others into their own mother tongue, learning themselves and teaching
others by setting the examples, they regained at an incredible pace much
what they have lost through the British Boer War. They outdid the
Nieder-Sachse by a factor of ten.
In fact, they became too wealthy too fast for their own good. When the
"secret masters" began to tell them that they might lose everything again
if they do not put apartheid into practice, they fell for one of the worst
confidence tricks ever to played on a nation.
The same general Jan Smuts who witnessed this incredible emergence of the
Afrikaner personality from the ashes within two generations, published the
book Holism and Evolution in the same year when Afrikaans became the
official language, replacing Dutch. In his book you will find nothing on
the "evolution" of Afrikaans. But when you study this book and bear in
mind the "evolution" of Afrikaans which I have set out above.
During WWII as field marshall in the Allied forces, Smuts often said that
the world has become crazy. Once again he had to speak of hope when others
thought that even hope has now been destroyed too. When he lost as prime
minister the election in 1948 against the "secret masters" who used the
National Party as their front, he cried once again that the Afrikaners
have now become even more crazy.
Dearest Leo, you write:
>In a small satellite-group of this list (how much of these
>satellite spirals accompany our joint hurricane?), the issue
>of language and learning started recently. Before this will
>generate its own tornado, I think it will be wise to share
>and invite the whole LO-list in this dialogue.
This "satellite-group" or Learning Team in our wonderful cyber LO may
indeed cause what we call "warrelwinde" (dust devils). But I have the
hurricane itself in mind.
I hope to have shared with all in our wonderful LO-dialogue
THE CREATIVE DANCE OF THE LANGUAGE
I have used Afrikaans, my mother tongue, as example.
I have read and heard about many persons struggling to regain the dignity
of their peoples. Even on this LO-dialogue fellow learners like Ray Harrel
and Dennis Rolleston shared their souls with us. I hope that such persons
will read carefully my own soul sharing.
I have now to end by cautioning with Dollo's law once again.
. Evolution does not proceed back along its own path,
. nor repeat the routes which it has taken.
Afrikaans was the last modern language to have self emerged making use of
paper based technology. If any person like an Eugene Marais want to
restore the mental dignity of his/her people, it will have to be done by
EBIT (Electronic Based Information Technology.) The Nieder-Sachsen failed
six centuries ago to understand the implications of the invention of paper
printing because of their Hansa business.
Please do not fail to understand the implications EBIT because of any
business, even EBIT business. You may forsake your mother tongue because
of the very business by assuming that you will thus sustain yourself
better. This is a fatal assumption.
The emergence of the next fully fledged mother tongue will be by EBIT --
that I am as sure of as I am sure that I am using EBIT right now.
I had a vivid dream of many mother tongues emerging as fully fledged
languages in this very first century of the new millenium. May this
contribution fire the imagination of the brave ones so that my dream will
become good and true.
A free person need not ask permission from any authority to do what one
day will be acknowledge as good and true. All which are good and true
have to emerge by deeds.
With care and best wishes
At de Lange <email@example.com> Snailmail: A M de Lange Gold Fields Computer Centre Faculty of Science - University of Pretoria Pretoria 0001 - Rep of South Africa
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