Monday, April 11, 2011

Public Lecture: Dr. Matthias Brenzinger

Last week, the well-known Khoesanist scholar, Dr Matthias Brenzinger from the University of Cologne, Germany, also associated with the UB Department of African Languages and Literature and Research Centre for San Studies delivered a public lecture on 'the modern Khoesan Speech Communities". In his introduction, he pointed out the intricacies involved in naming people according to their languages they speak, rather we should stick to the Khoisan as a linguistic phenomenon and not as a reference to people. He further went on to say that unlike Bantu languages, Khoisan languages are characterised by the occurrence of the click and are not closely related. According to him, in Botswana many of the small settlements have moved to form big units which is good for the language. One positive result out of this was that in 1996, Khwedam became a written language. Recently, another milestone was reached in Makabe where a language community was formed after a workshop. Concerns raised from the audience included the preservation of languages which are on the verge of extinction, a fact UNESCO is very much aware of given that it has placed 360 languages out of a total of 3000 as endangered.

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