Contribution to South African Sociolinguistics

12 Nov 2019 - 14:30

Professor Rajend Mesthrie, the SARChI Chair of of Migration, Language and Social Change, recently had his PhD thesis topic, which was reworked as his first book in 1991, republished this year (38 years later) by Routledge as volume 6 in their prestigious new series Routledge Library editions in Sociolinguistics.  Entitled Language in Indenture: a Sociolinguistic History of Bhojpuri-Hindi in South Africa, the book deals with the sociolinguistic consequences of the colonial labour practice of indenture, which moved vast numbers of Asians (mainly from India) across the world after the abolition of slavery in the 1830s.  It was described by the editorial board as a pioneering work in the socio-historical analysis of languages in migration.


Cambridge University Press (UK) have brought out a book in Professor Mesthrie's honour entitled English in Multilingual South Africa (CUP 2019).  It is edited by a leading scholar of multilingualism and language contact, Ray Hickey of the University of Duisburg-Essen and features 17 chapters by scholars from across the world on the sociolinguistics of English in a transforming society.  It refers to his contribution to South African sociolinguistics as follows: “The scope of his scholarly work is considerable... ranging from Englishes to youth language, pidgins and transplanted Indian languages, language contact and areal linguistic scenarios in South Africa... Beyond his own country he is known for work on sociolinguistics and World Englishes, reaching out in no small way to the wider community of language students and scholars alike”.  The book includes three chapters by UCT staff and students.