Estampa

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SOUTH AFRICA

One further area where there is a substantial number of mother tongue speakers of English is South Africa.Although Dutch colonists arrived in the Cape as early as 1652, British involvement in the region dates only from 1795, during the Napoleonic Wars, when an expeditionary force invaded. British controlwas established in 1806, and a policy of settlement began in earnest in 1820, when some 5,000 British were given land in the eastern Cape. English was made the official language of the region in1822, and there was an attempt to anglicize the large Dutch- (or Afrikaans-) speaking population. English became the language of law, education, and most other aspects of public life. Further Britishsettlements followed in the 1840s and 1850s, especially in Natal, and there was a massive influx of Europeans following the development of the gold and diamond areas in the Witwatersrand in the 1870s.Nearly half a million immigrants, many of them English-speaking, arrived in the country during the last quarter of the nineteenth century.

The English language history of the region thus hasmany strands. There was initially a certain amount of regional dialect variation among the different groups of British settlers, with the speech of the London area predominant in the Cape, andMidlands and Northern speech strongly represented in Natal; but in due course a more homogeneous accent emerged - an accent that shares many similarities with the accents of Australia, which was also beingsettled during this period. At the same time, English was being used as a second language by the Afrikaans speakers, and many of the Dutch colonists took this variety with them on the Great Trek of1836, as they moved north to escape British rule. An African variety of English also developed, spoken by the black population, who had learned the language mainly in mission schools, and which was...
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