The damaging effects of romantic mythopoeia on Khoesan linguistics

Du Plessis, Menan (2014-06)

CITATION: Du Plesis, M. 2014. The damaging effects of romantic mythopoeia on Khoesan linguistics. Critical Arts: A Journal of South-North Cultural Studies, 28(3):569-592, doi:10.1080/02560046.2014.929217.

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Article

The article outlines some basic guidelines that should inform studies in comparative linguistics, and notes a tendency in contemporary Khoesan linguistics for these to be neglected, while pre-theoretical assumptions of ‘ancientness’ and ‘otherness’ take their place. The article demonstrates the damaging effects of this romanticism through two brief case studies – one concerning the supposedly primordial stratum made up of the JU and !UI-TAA languages, and the other concerning a conjectured intermediate stratum made up of the KHOE (or ‘Khoe- Kwadi’) languages. It is concluded that the construction of these linguistic layers, so neatly in agreement with the layers proposed in certain models of southern African population history, has been enabled by a willingness to believe that perceptions of otherness have some absolute and meaningful value, and that they take precedence over fundamental principles.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/103060
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