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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Enslaved Malagasy and 'Le Travail de la Parole' in the Pre-Revolutionary Mascarenes
Author:Larson, Pier M.
Year:2007
Periodical:The Journal of African History
Volume:48
Issue:3
Period:November
Pages:457-479
Language:English
Geographic terms:Mascarene Islands
Madagascar
Subjects:slaves
migrants
Malagasy language
language history
sociolinguistics
missions
1700-1799
History and Exploration
Peoples of Africa (Ethnic Groups)
Religion and Witchcraft
Ethnic and Race Relations
Link:http://ejournals.ebsco.com/direct.asp?ArticleID=4FA78811A55B46E4EBE4
Abstract:Malagasy speakers probably formed the single largest native speech community among slaves dispersed into the western Indian Ocean between 1500 and 1900. In the eighteenth-century Mascarenes, Malagasy 'parlers' (dialects) served as a contact language, understood both by persons born in Madagascar and by those with no direct ties to the island. Catholic missionaries working in Bourbon (Réunion) and Île de France (Mauritius) frequently evangelized among sick and newly disembarked Malagasy slaves in their own tongues, employing servile interpreters and catechists from their ecclesiastical plantations as intermediaries in their 'work of the word'. Evangelistic style was multilingual, in both French and Malagasy, and largely verbal, but was also informed by Malagasy vernacular manuscripts of Church doctrine set in Roman characters. The importance of Malagasy in the Mascarenes sets the linguistic environment of the islands off in distinctive ways from those of Atlantic slave societies and requires scholars to rethink the language and culture history of the western Indian Ocean islands, heretofore focused almost exclusively on studies of French and its creoles. Notes, ref., sum. [Journal abstract]
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