Did you know that Kaaps was created in Southern Africa during the 1500s?
This is according to Professor Quentin Williams, Centre for Multilingualism and Diversities Research (CMDR), who notes that “It remains one of the oldest and most marginalized ways of speaking.”
Kaaps refers to the ‘language of the Cape’ and was the name given to the distinctive variant or dialect of Afrikaans which is now spoken by more than 70% of so-called Coloured communities throughout the Western Cape. It’s most notably spoken on the Cape Flats, Bo-Kaap, Boland and the West Coast, as a blog explains.
The CMDR within the University of the Western Cape has decided to develop the first trilingual Kaaps dictionary in order to restore the dignity of this marginalised language, which Prof Williams refers to as an “important linguistic resource in the Western Cape and beyond.”
The university states that the project is funded by the Western Cape Department of Cultural Affairs and Sport (DCAS) and the Centre for Language, Race, and Ethnicity at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) in the United States.
“For decades, activists, academics, artists, authors campaigned for the empowerment of Kaaps speakers and the transformation of schools, universities and the economy. With this dictionary project, we are taking the first real step in that direction,” Prof Williams adds.
In the same vein, the project aims to transform negative attitudes and viewpoints surrounding Kaaps and speakers of it by producing an educational resource that will support various spheres of society.
These are the specific goals that have been outlined:
- to shed further light on the historical roots of Kaaps
- to contribute to current debates about the unification of the writing system of Kaaps
- to document the use of Kaaps across all relevant modalities, platforms, genres, practices, performance interactions and linguistic landscapes
- to describe the lived linguistic experiences of speakers of Kaaps
To learn more about this project, visit: http://dwkaaps.co.za/