BCLT Summer School – Day 2

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Day 2 – Workshop led by Henrietta Rose-Innes, with a fascinating discussion on South African English, its relationship to Afrikaans and the multiple official languages of the country, and how South African authors (such as Antjie Krog or Nathan Trantraal) use, bend and crash the rules of all of them combined. We were then prompted to tell a very brief story in the voice of 13 year olds (mine became bilingual Tuscans, somehow..) not wanting to be understood, as by someone who uses English as a lingua franca, in a high-calibre interview setting, and in response to someone being judgemental or snobbish of our own accent or variety.

1. Mate! mate! Oh! OH! CAHAMI! ..iobonino outside mate look -right?! yeah i know right! it’s like mate don’t even – fucking ledge yeah? no don’t look now. that one’s like – and that one’s like – and I mean like checazz. eh. (DU IU ANDERSTEND) Yeah but — no miss sorry miss just two birds outside. Yes miss, sorry.

2. Excuse me I am not very good my English but what is happening outside please? Excuse me there is two birds I think but I can not see what it is happening do you know? Do you able to help understand do you see that is happening outside? The birds? Why is the birds doing? Please?

3. What I do hope the story suggested, if you’ll bear with me for this next slide, is the following: the interaction between the two specimens, i.e. the birds, can easily be interpreted in the metaphor of collaboration between our respective fields of expertise, as was my aim in the presentation. The end result I am suggesting, however, goes a little further, as a variation on the adage ‘two birds with one stone’ – please excuse the wordplay – in which the synergy of our collaboration is, in fact, redirected and channelled into a strong, focused approach, i.e. the stone, effectively attacking that collaboration from a lateral, yet central, perspective, leading to a striking result. Thank you for your time.

4*. Oh I do beg you pAAhdon – are my birds not specific enough for you? Would you rAAther I used a more specific example? A pheasant, or quail, perhaps? Would you rAAther prefer they were on the grAAss or a pAAth, or the grounds of a cAAstle..? Toodle-fucking-loo, you twat.

(*where AA stands for [aː])

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