Monday, May 02, 2005

Language in crisis.

This weekend, the Music in the Mountains festival was held at the Drakensberg Boys' Choir school. I wasn't there (this is such a bad time of year for anything other than university coursework) but, less than ten minutes ago, I was given a real treat: the choir school was reported on on the TV news. They have just produced their first all Afrikaans-language CD. My mother's response was "they obviously have a contact on the news team." Her perception was that the news slot had been nothing more than free advertising time. I am interested in what motivated the choir to record an Afrikaans CD in the first place, and why this was considered news-worthy (I certainly consider it so, but I'm biased). But right now, more than that, I am interested in the fact that my mother is unaware of the crisis surrounding Afrikaans. It's not that I consider it something everyone should devote much time to, but her lack of interest in the matter, considering the fact that she grew up speaking both English and Afrikaans, and attended an Afrikaans highschool, suggests to me that part of the reason there is such a crisis is that it is so localized. Afrikaans is in crisis only in the eyes of those who engage it on a daily basis, and that is why they consider it a crisis. Funny, but I don't think the choir ever made an entirely English CD :-)

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