n Language Matters : Studies in the Languages of Southern Africa - Taal, oorlog en oorwinnings : short articles, squibs

Volume 34, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 0256-5986



It is a well-known fact that in times of war there are no victors. The countries that participate in the war, and the armies, are in one way or another all losers. If one, however, looks closely at war situations, especially from a language point of view, it becomes clear that something new has, after all, been invented in that situation. A war, and the aftermath of war, typically brings people of different languages in close contact. Contact situations where the participants share a common aim but have different languages to realise it, invariably result in the adaptation of their languages by the participants. The language of the conqueror plays the dominant role, but all the speakers in the contact situation take part in the process. The changes in the participating languages are an ongoing process, and are stimulated by the dominating culture in that situation.

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