oa South African Journal of Cultural History - Zersingen en Umsingen in die Afrikaanse volkslied

Volume 10, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 1011-3053



When folk songs are sung repeatedly without written music and text available, it usually follows that they are colloquially transformed in a number of ways. Words change, lines and words are broken up, parts of songs interchange with parts of other songs and the music is transformed accordingly. Often when words are transformed, the vowels remain unchanged even if the meaning of the word and therefore the meaning of the sentence or line is changed completely or even becomes nonsensical. Folk etymology also occurs spontaneously in this process. For the cultural historian a study of these phenomena occurring in Afrikaans folk songs can open up a wide range of possibilities. Where songs are concerned, sound plays an important part, not only musical sound in the form of melodies, but also the sounds created by the words.

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