Camilla Christie

MA student Camilla Christie

Supervisors: Mark de Vos and Ron Simango

Research interests:
My undergraduate passion for GERMANIC and ROMANCE historical linguistics has developed into a postgraduate focus on southern African sociohistorical and contact linguistics. I am currently investigating the borrowing and dispersal of botanical terminology across southern African speech communities, with emphasis on the sociological and environmental motivations underlying regular borrowing, and on the relationship between language and taxonomy. I have an additional interest in the psycholinguistics of oral narrative, and in the intersection of literacy and orality. My Classical research has focused on the written reception of oral epic, and on the varying stylistic strategies by which Latin authors impose chronological sequence onto mass or simultaneous actions. Following my MA on battle narrative in Vergil’s Aeneid and Ovid’s Metamorphoses, I have been interested primarily in battle narrative in Statius’ Thebaid, and on the broader Latin reception of the Ancient Greek Theban Cycle. I teach Latin and Ancient Greek in the Rhodes University School of Languages and Literatures.

Thesis title: 'Khoisan’ Etymologies of Afrikaans Plant Names

Should you open almost any Afrikaans-language wildflower guide, you will find that it contains in its index of common names a sizeable minority of non-GERMANIC words. Aroena (Quaqua mammilaris), t’koeibee (Grielum humifusum), t’arra-t’kooi (Stoeberia utilis) and t’noutsiama (Cheiridopsis denticulata) are just a few examples. Although botanical handbooks and fieldguides often identify these terms as having originated in the ‘Khoisan’ areal cluster, little work has been done to source accurate etymologies in keeping with robust linguistic procedure. The majority of the literature on South African plant names is outdated and inaccessible; the standard reference work, as used by the South African National Botanical Institute, dates to 1966 and is out of print. Working from a corpus of approximately 100 Afrikaans plant names borrowed from KHOE-family and potentially also from TUU-family languages, this thesis aims, firstly, to source and establish a sound historical provenance for these terms, and, secondly, to scrutinise the sociohistorical contexts that motivated and facilitated borrowing and dispersal. Although primarily lexicographical in method, this project will also involve field research in the succulent Karoo biome, with a focus on Namaqualand and the Kamiesberg, in the hopes of better documenting contemporary usage. 


Last Modified: Tue, 12 Feb 2019 17:16:58 SAST