Taalkeuse as identiteitsmerker in die rolprent Tsotsi

Du Plessis, Yzelle Elizabeth (2008-12)

Thesis (MPhil)--Stellenbosch University, 2008.

Thesis

ENGLISH ABSTRACT: The remarkable story of Tsotsi as a gangster in the movie Tsotsi offers several examples of language variation and of language choice as a marker of identity. The situations and contexts portrayed in the movie define, to some extent, the choices of language or variety speakers make. Context-specific factors playing a determining role include gender, purpose, geographical location, social class, and age. Tsotsi, the main character, is a gangster living in Sophiatown, a township outside Johannesburg. The term “tsotsi” generally refers to one who is well-dressed and stylish, but with an undercurrent of dangerous adventure; the character portrayed by Tsotsi in the movie is a self-made man, successful in terms of township gangster culture. The movie traces six days in the life of this young hoodlum, who rediscovers his humanity through various challenges and personal relationships in his surroundings; he finds dignity and the capacity to love through having to take care of a baby accidentally kidnapped during a car hijacking episode, through his friendship with the young woman he forces to take care of the baby, and ultimately through confronting haunting memories of his past. Tsotsi’s mother tongue is Sotho, but Flaaitaal is his language of choice in certain contexts, marking his identity as a tsotsi. This study considers the language variation typical of South Africa, as exemplified by the language choices made by the various characters in the movie. An analysis is offered of the language choices which play a role in defining the identities of the characters in various contexts, such as the use of Flaaitaal by the gangsters among themselves, who switch to Sotho when the more socially acceptable aspects of their identities should come to the fore, and the use of Sotho by the white police captain while interviewing the Sotho parents of the kidnapped baby. It is this function of language choice as a marker of identity that is the focus of the present work.

AFRIKAANSE OPSOMMING: Die merkwaardige storie van Tsotsi as ‘n bendelid in die rolprent Tsotsi bied geleentheid vir die analise van talle voorbeelde van taalvariasie en van taalkeuse as ‘n merker van identiteit. Die situasies en kontekste wat in die rolprent weergegee word definieer tot ‘n mate die sprekers se keuse van taal of variëteit. Faktore spesifiek tot die konteks wat hierin ‘n rol speel sluit in geslag, funksie, geografiese ligging, sosiale klas, en ouderdom. Die hoofkarakter Tsotsi is ‘n bendelid wat in Sophiatown buite Jonhannesburg bly. Die term “tsotsi” verwys oor die algemeen na iemand wat stylvol voorkom, maar met ‘n agtergrond van gevaarlike avontuur; die karakter wat deur Tsotsi gespeel word is ‘n self-gemaakte man, suksesvol in terme van die bende-kultuur van areas soos Sophiatown. Die rolprent fokus op ses dae van hierdie jong bendelid se lewe, waar hy sy menslikheid herontdek deur verskeie uitdagings en persoonlike verhoudings; hy ontdek menswaardigheid en die vermoë om lief te hê deurdat hy vir ‘n baba moet sorg wat per ongeluk ontvoer word tydens ‘n motorkaping, deur sy vriendskap met die vrou wat hy forseer om die baba te versorg, en uiteindelik deurdat hy sy herinneringe aan sy verlede moet konfronteer. Tsotsi se moedertaal is Sotho, maar Flaaitaal is die taal wat hy in sekere kontekste kies om sy identiteit as tsotsi te merk. Hierdie studie fokus op die taalvariasie wat tipies is van Suid-Afrika soos dit deur die taalkeuses van verskeie karakters in die rolprent voorgestel word. ‘n Analise word aangebied van taalkeuses wat ‘n rol speel in die definiëring van die identiteite van die karakters in verskeie kontekste, soos die gebruik van Flaaitaal onder die bendelede self, wat na Sotho oorslaan in situasies waar die meer sosiaal-aanvaarbare aspekte van hul identiteit uitegebeeld behoort te word, en die gebruik van Sotho deur die blanke polisiekaptein as hy die Sotho ouers van die ontvoerde baba aanspreek. Dit is hierdie funskie van taalkeuse as ‘n merker van identiteit wat die fokus vorm van hierdie studie.

Please refer to this item in SUNScholar by using the following persistent URL: http://hdl.handle.net/10019.1/21613
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