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Revisiting al-Qawl al-matīn: A sociolinguistically engineered Arabic-Afrikaans text

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Chapter Summary

This chapter revisits al-Qawl al-matīn, a text that drew the attention of South African scholars during the 1980s and that was scrutinized by Adrianus van Selms, a Dutch scholar, in the 1950s. It reviews the sociolinguistic status of the manuscript within the larger set of religious manuscripts that employed 'Arabic script' at the Cape. The chapter shares general thoughts regarding how Afrikaans as language was developed, constructed, and engineered by growing Cape Muslim community in spite of their disadvantaged socio-political, economic and linguistic conditions. The chapter considers how a small community such as the Cape Muslims at the foot of the African continent participated in contributing towards the construction of creolized form of Dutch language, namely Afrikaans. The chapter stimulates others to revisit other, related theological texts to further explore how Cape Muslim religious leadership charted out path that no linguist or literary historian can afford to ignore or overlook.

Keywords: African continent; Afrikaans; al-Qawl al-matīn; Arabic script; Cape Muslim community; religious manuscripts; sociolinguistic status



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