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A Lexicon of South African Indian English

Authors: Rajend Mesthrie

Published by Peepal Tree Press

ISBN: 9780948833106

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A scholarly and entertaining study of words, phrases and idioms which reflects the diverse social and linguistic currents within which the Indian South African community has developed. It focuses on the effects of language contact in borrowings, grammatical interference and semantic shifts as speakers of Indic languages came into contact with speakers of English, Afrikaans, Fanagalo and African languages. It focuses on the Indic lexical items which are common to all speakers, irrespective of whether their ancestral language was Tamil or Bhojpuri; on the lexical items restricted to particular subgroups depending on their ancestral language. It further annotates the idiomatic and slang phrases found principally amongst speakers of SAIE and identifies the specific grammatical and phonological features which characterise this variety of English.

Mesthrie's work shows clearly both the distinctiveness of SAIE and its South Africanness. This lexicon provides an invaluable source of comparison with Indian English, the Creoles of the Caribbean, and with the linguistic experience of other overseas South Asian communities.

"Mesthrie’s A Lexicon of South African Indian English, described by the author as a supplement (and also complement) to the 1980 edition of A Dictionary of South African English (ed. Jean Branford) is a valuable and interesting endeavour in its own right. It is a valid contribution to the study of language and should appeal to students of linguistics, sociologists, anthropologists and cultural historians. The Lexicon also adds to the growing body of works on the contributions of the Indian South Africans."
Rambhajun Sitaram, Lexicos

Rajend Mesthrie was born in Durban, South Africa. He wrote his doctorate on the transformation of Bhojpuri in South Africa. He currently teaches linguistics at the University of Cape Town.
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