Language in Indenture: A Sociolinguistic History of Bhojpuri-Hindi in South Africa

1st Edition

Rajend Mesthrie

Published October 3, 2018
Reference - 342 Pages
ISBN 9781138352551 - CAT# K395421
Series: Routledge Library Editions: Sociolinguistics

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Originally published in 1991. The transplantation of thousands of Indian workers to South Africa under indenture between 1860 and 1911 was a political act with far-reaching consequences for their linguistic traditions. In this book, the history of one of these Indic languages, Bhojpuri, and its adaptations to its new context are traced to the point where a distinct South African Bhojpuri koine (generally known as Hindi) came into being. The roots and subsequent evolution of this language variety, as well as the events contributing to its demise, form the basis of this study. Current patterns of usage by different generations are documented in the form of traditional folk tales, proverbs, riddles and songs, alongside personal interviews. This study offers a partial history of Bhojpuri speakers, who have been otherwise largely silent in the history of colonial Natal.


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