Ons is nog alen Vres door Den Zegen Des Heeren Gesondheidsformules in Afrikaans-Nederlandse persoonlike briewe uit die Anglo-Boereoorlog
In the past, studies about letters focused on the historic significance of letter content, and the manner in which the content and conventions of letter writing prompted the development of other writing forms. Preference was given to autobiographical documents of well-known historical figures or the correspondence of prominent families or social networks. Elspaß (2002) recommends that the autobiographical documents of unknown and elementary schooled people should be investigated. In this way linguists can benefit from obtaining new insights into language variation and change. Although research in Europe and elsewhere has left gaps in the study of epistolary writing, these gaps are even more extensive in Afrikaans. In Afrikaans, researchers take a one-sided look at local seventeenth to nineteenth century autobiographical (epistolary) documents by focusing on pure linguistic analysis. In this study, this gap will be addressed by investigating the health formulae in late nineteenth and early twentieth century epistolary documents of ordinary, mostly elementary schooled, Afrikaans Dutch speaking people. This study uses corpus linguistic research methods, and investigates the general semantic structure and formations of health formulae in unpublished letter texts from the period of 1899 to 1903. The corpus is compiled mainly from Anglo Boer War letter texts of unknown citizens of the former Boer Republics and Cape Colony. An investigation is launched into the sources which met letter writers’ demand for literacy in order for them to utilize formulaic language in their personal letters. The models they followed to comply with traditional epistolary conventions, especially regarding the imitation of health formulae, are investigated. Types of formulae and the frequency and function thereof in the letters are investigated, as well as the extent of specific repetitive patterns in the health formulae with the aim of determining how Afrikaans Dutch letter writers wrote about health by using prefabricated word sequences. In this study, it was found that writers, in spite of their elementary schooling, succeeded in meeting the requirements of letter writing conventions. They utilised a varied spectrum of ideas ranging from good health to death. The richness of the semantic categories transpires out of the variety of formulations within the nine semantic primary health reports: The person is hale and hearty, it goes well, the person is still well, the person is better, the condition is unaltered, the person is still alive, it is not going well, the person is ill or dead. The three categories of subordinate health formulae (the source, disposition and wishes, and channel) correlate with health reports mentioning that the person is well or still alive. Writers penned 1 158 health formulae. In 367 of these they report with fixed formulae. In 692 more formulations, they employ grammatical means (basic extension, lexical variation, complex sentences, and variant expressions) to extend on the formulae. Only 99 formulations are original formulations. From the data sources, it becomes evident that women (as a result of the compulsory residence of the majority of women in British controlled camps) used more primary health formulae than men, while men wrote more subordinate health formulae.
- Humanities