Amerikaanse Taalbeweging

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In 1789 het Noah Webster voorgestel dat die Engelse taal laat vaar moet word en dat 'n nuwe standaard vir die Amerikaners opgestel moes word, onafhanklik van Engels en wat in alle skole in die VSA in gebruik geneem moes word:

"As an independent nation our honor requires us to have a system of our own, in language as well as government. Great Britain, whose children we are, and whose language we speak, should no longer be our standard, for the taste of her writers is already corrupted, and her language on the decline. But if it where not so, she is at too great a distance to be our model, and to instruct us in the principles of our own tongue...Several circumstances render a future separation of the American tongue from the English necessary and unavoidable.. Numerous local causes, such as a new country, new associations of people, new combinations of ideas in arts and sciences, and some intercourse with tribes wholly unknown in Europe, will introduce new words into the American tongue. These causes will produce, in a course of time, a language in North America as different from the future language of England as the modern Dutch, Danish and Swedish are from German... We have therefore the fairest opportunity of establishing a national language and of giving it uniformity and perspicuity, in North America, that ever presented itself to mankind. Now is the time to begin the plan".[1]

Taalverskille[wysig | wysig bron]

Die Harper's Magazine van Mei 1920 skryf: "Americans who try to write like Englishmen are not only committed to unnatural pose, but doomed as well to failure, above all among the English,... Let us sign a Declaration of Literary Independence and formally begin to write, not British, but Unitedstatish. For there is such a language, a brilliant, growing, glowing, vivacious, elastic language for which we have no specific name...Whatever we call it, let us cease to consider it a vulgar dialect of English, to be used only with deprecation. Let us study it in its splendid efflorescence, be proud of it, and true to it. Let us put off livery, cease to be the butlers of another people's language, and try to be the masters and the creators of our own".[2]

Die digter R. Addington wat vir 'n Amerikaanse linguistiese onafhanklikheid gepleit het, skryf: "Are Americans to write the language which they speak, which is slowly but inevitably separating itself from the language of England, or are they to write a devitalized idiom learned painfully from books or from discreet frequentation of London literary cliques". [3]

Nie alle Amerikaners was ten gunste van 'n spellingsverandering nie. Baie Amerikaners het selfs gevoel dat hulle 'n beter Engels praat as die Britte, maar dan het ook vele gevoel dat daar twee tale gepraat word, en omdat dit te moeilik sou wees om korrekte Engels aan te leer sou dit beter wees om die geskrewe taal by die gesproke taal aan te pas. Hierdie opbloeiende taalpatriotisme het 'n hoogtepunt bereik gedurende 1923, toe daar in 'n aantal Amerikaanse state gepoog is om, 'Amerikaans' die amptelike taal van die staat te maak. Die bekendste pogings was die in Illinois, North Dakota en Minnesota, alhoewel die term Amerikaans nog ongedefinieerd was.

Amptelike erkenning van Amerikaans[wysig | wysig bron]

Jay McCormick, 'n republikein en lid van die Huis van Afgevaardigdes, het 'n wetsontwerp by die Amerikaanse kongres ingedien, wat egter nie aanvaar is nie. Sy voorstel het soos volg gelui:[4]

"A BILL
To define the national and official language of the Government and people of the United States of America, including the territories and dependencies thereof.
Be it enacted by the senate and House of Representatives of the United States of America in Congress assembled. That the national and official language of the Government and people of the United States of America, including Territories and dependencies thereof, is hereby defined as and declared to be the American Language.
Sec. 2. That all Acts and parts of Acts of Congress, including regulations of the departments of Government, wherein the speaking, reading, writing, or knowledge of the English language is set forth as a requirement for purposes of naturalization, immigration, official, legal, or other like use, shall be deemed emended to the extent of substituting in the text for the word English the word American.
Sec. 3. That, until Congress shall make specific provision for the official and more particular standardization of the American language, words and phrases generally accepted as being in good use by the people of the United States of America shall constitute a part of the American language for all legal purposes".

In die staat Illinois is op 10 Januarie 1923 die volgende wetsontwerp ingedien waar die nasieskap van die Amerikaners beklemtoon moes word, sowel as die erkenning van 'n eie inheemse taal. Die wetsontwerp het as volg gelees:[5]

"Whereas, Since the creation of the American Republic there have been certain Tory elements in our country who have never become reconciled to our republican institutions and have ever clung to the tradition of King and Empire; and
Whereas, The assumed dominance of this Tory element in the social business and political life of America tends to force the other racial units, in self-defence, to organize on racial lines, thus creating nations without a nation and fostering those racial and religious differences which lead to disunion and disintegration; and
Whereas, The supreme problem of American statesmen, and supreme desire of American patriots, is to weld the racial units into a solid American nation in the sense that England, France and Germany are nations; and
Whereas, The name of the language of a country has a powerful influence in stimulating and preserving the national ideal; and
Whereas, The languages of other countries bear the name of the countries to which they belong, the language of Germany being called German; of France, French; of England, English; and so on; and
Whereas, Our government, laws and ideals as well as our language differ materially from those of England, now therefor;
Sec. 1. Be it enacted by the people of the State of Illinois, represented in the General Assembly: The official language of the State of Illinois shall be known hereafter as the 'American' language, and not as the 'English' language"

Hierdie wet het van krag geword op 19 Junie 1923, maar in 'n gewysigde vorm. Van die 'Whereases' is die tweede, derde en sesde geskrap. In die plek van die tweede en derde 'Whereas' is die volgende wysigings ingebring:

"Whereas, America has been a haven of liberty and place of opportunity for the common of all nations; and
Whereas, The strangers within our gates who seek economic betterment, political freedom, larger opportunities for their children and citizenship for themselves, come to think of our institutions as American and our language as the American language"

Die aanvaarding van 'Amerikaans' as amptelike taal van Illinois was 'n mylpaal in die geskiedenis van die Amerikaanse taal. Dit was die eerste staat wat 'Amerikaans' as amptelike taal erken het. Soortgelyke wetsontwerpe is ook aanvaar in die state North Dakota en Minnesota.

Die doel van die Amerikaanse Beweging was om eers amptelike goedkeuring vir hul nuwe taal te verwerf, en daarna norme vir die taal te ontwikkel.

Amerikanismes[wysig | wysig bron]

Daar is heelwat leenwoorde, asook eie skeppinge, wat hul weg in die 'Amerikaanse taal' gevind het. John Russel Barlett se "Glossary of words and Phrases Usually Regarded as Peculiar to the United States" vermeld ongeveer 3,725 terme in 1848, Maximilien Scele de Vere se "Americanisms" vermeld ongeveer 4,000 in 1872, John S. Farmer se "Americanisms Old and New" vermeld ongeveer 5,000 terme in 1889, Sylva Clapin se "New Dictionary of Americanisms" vermeld ongeveer 5,250 terme in 1902, en R.H. Thornton se American Glossary" vermeld ongeveer 3,700 terme in 1912.[6]

Die talle ontlenings wat in die Amerikaanse taal opgeneem is, is baie meer as waarmee Afrikaans pronk. Die tale wat 'Amerikaans' help vorm het, was die volgende: Duits, Nederlands, Sweeds, Deens-Noorweegs, Yslands, Yiddish, Frans, Italiaans, Spaans, Portugees, Roemeens, Tjeggies, Slowaaks, Russies, Ukraïens, Serwo-Kroaties, Letlands, Pools, Fins, Hongaars, Gaelies, Arabies, Grieks, Chinees, Japannees, Armeens, Hawais en ten slotte Sigeuners.[7]

Die Spelhervorming[wysig | wysig bron]

Daar was in Amerika 'n hele aantal persone wat voorstelle gemaak het vir 'n eie Amerikaanse spelling. Hierdie voorstelle is voorgelê aan die 'Independent Federal Language' vir oorweging.[8] Die bekende Benjamin Franklin het in 1768 sy voorstel gepubliseer in "A Scheme for a New Alphabet and a Reform Mode of Spelling." Hy wou onder andere ses nuwe letters tot die alfabet toevoeg en die c, w, y en j uit die alfabet skrap. Noah Webster, wat uiteindelik daarin sou slaag om 'n breuk tussen 'n Amerikaanse en 'n Engelse ortografie te bewerkstellig, het in 1789 voorgestel dat alle 'silent letters' moes wegval, en dat die spreektaal ook die skryftaal moes word. Dus bread, head, give, breast, built, meant, realm, friend, moes gespel word as bred, hed, giv, brest, bilt, ment, relm, frend. En die woorde mean, near, speak, grieve, zeal sou verander na meen, neer, speek, greev, zeel. Ook laf i.p.v laugh, dawter i.p.v daughter, tuf i.p.v tough, blud i.p.v blood, ensovoorts.

Hierdie spelhervorming het Webster gemeen, "with a few other inconsiderable alterations, would answer every purpose, and render the orthography sufficiently correct and regular." Die nuwe spelling sou 'n taalkloof uit die weg ruim: "(R)ender the pronunciation of the language as uniform as the spelling in books," en sou die aanleerproses vergemaklik; en "facilitate the learning of the language." Die sterkste argument was egter patrioties van aard: "A Capital advantage of this reform in these States would be that it would make a difference between the English orthography and the American....Besides this, a national language is a band of national union. Every engine should be employed to render the people of this country national; to call their attachments home to their own country; and to inspire them with the pride of national character".[9]

Die voorstelle van Webster was in Amerika besonder populêr. Sodanig so, dat daar teen 1889 reeds 62 000 000 kopieë van Webster se 'Elementary Spelling Book' verkoop is.[10]

Die Amerikaanse Beweging het as voorbeeld gedien vir die Afrikaanse Beweging. Die Amerikaanse Beweging was egter uiteindelik onsuksesvol en het die beweging na 1925 'n langsame dood gesterf. Die Amerikaanse elite was gekant teen die koms van 'n eie inheemse Amerikaanse kultuurtaal.

Verwysings[wysig | wysig bron]

  1. H.L. Mencken: The American Language: An inquiry into the development of English in the United States. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1965, bl. 10.
  2. H.L. Mencken: The American Language: An inquiry into the development of English in the United States. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1965, bl. 77.
  3. H.L. Mencken: The American Language: An inquiry into the development of English in the United States. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1965, bl. 46.
  4. H.L. Mencken: The American Language: An inquiry into the development of English in the United States. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1965, bl. 82.
  5. H.L. Mencken: The American Language: An inquiry into the development of English in the United States. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1965, bl. 83.
  6. H.L. Mencken: The American Language: An inquiry into the development of English in the United States. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1965, bl. 36.
  7. H.L. Mencken: The American Language: An inquiry into the development of English in the United States. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1965, bl. 617-697.
  8. H.L. Mencken: The American Language: An inquiry into the development of English in the United States. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1965, bl. 379-415.
  9. H.L. Mencken: The American Language: An inquiry into the development of English in the United States. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1965, bl. 382.
  10. H.L. Mencken: The American Language: An inquiry into the development of English in the United States. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1965, bl. 385.