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Periodical article Periodical article Leiden University catalogue Leiden University catalogue WorldCat catalogue WorldCat
Title:Translations as key to the meanings of Khoisan hydronyms
Author:Raper, Peter E.ISNI
Year:2010
Periodical:Language Matters: Studies in the Languages of Africa (ISSN 1022-8195)
Volume:41
Issue:1
Pages:58-71
Language:English
Geographic term:South Africa
Subjects:Khoisan languages
place names
translation
language change
Abstract:Until some 2000 years ago, the Bushmen (San) were the only inhabitants of South Africa, and all place names in the region were derived from San words. Biological and cultural interaction took place between the San and Khoikhoi, African and European peoples who then began to enter the region. This resulted in language borrowings and shifts which also influenced the toponyms of the region, older names being adapted, replaced or translated. In diachronic multilingual situations, translations frequently reveal the original lexical meanings of indigenous names and indicate primary toponymic motives such as descriptions, the presence of specific types of flora and fauna, and the like. Analysis of allonyms frequently reveals the role of analogy and folk etymology in the misinterpretation of Khoisan names, as well as the processes of phonological and orthographic adaptation, providing new insights into Khoisan toponymic syntactic structures. Bibliogr., note, sum. [Journal abstract]
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