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By Rajend Mesthrie

Rajend Mesthrie examines the increase of a brand new number of English between Indian migrant staff indentured at the plantations of Natal in South Africa. contemplating the historic heritage to, and linguistic effects of, language shift in an immigrant context, he attracts major parallels among moment language acquisition and the approaches of pidginization and creolization. South African Indian English is in comparison with different dialects in South Africa, with English in India, and with Englishes in most cases.

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Extra info for English in Language Shift: The History, Structure and Sociolinguistics of South African Indian English

Sample text

My Husban money paid me in on about 1897 or 1898 sum of Rupees 6000/ — in by Kathor Court, then our Sum has bing in my Husben name in your Court Now the sum £144/2/6 or over. Please Dear Sir the Sum send me and Haffes and oblige. In the matters paper bing in your court please kindly send me sum of money. 1 Indian English and SA1E Despite such input from Indian English, SAIE has on the whole more differences from than similarities to Indian English, as will become evident in the ensuing chapters.

We learn from the Census of 1904 that 5 per cent of a total of 100,918 Indians (or 5,211) were literate in English. Writing in 1909 Gandhi warned against the use of English in contexts where an Indian language would do: 'We observe that some Indian youths, having acquired a smattering of English, use it even when it is not necessary to do so, as if they had forgotten their own language ... When talking among themselves, they use broken English rather than pure Gujarati, Hindi or Urdu. They even carry on their correspondence in English' {Indian Opinion, 30 January 1909, translated and reprinted in Collected Works of Gandhi, vol IX, 177).

These constructions are not found in other LI varieties of South African English. The identification of language-related problems in Indian education in the nineteenth century should not be construed as a belittlement of these pioneer efforts. One should remember that, ideally, teachers in the lower classes would have had to be competent in English and an Indian language (or two). This clearly narrowed down the potential teaching force, and made a perfect command of English amongst teachers a bonus rather than a necessity.

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