Publication details [#63237]

Mesthrie, Rajend, Sonal Kulkarni-Joshi and Ruta Paradkar. 2017. Kokni in Cape Town and the Sociolinguistics of Transnationalism. Language Matters: Studies in the Languages of Africa 48 (3) : 73–97.
Publication type
Article in journal
Publication language
Language as a subject
Place, Publisher


This paper continues the initial documentary work on South African Kokni begun in Mesthrie, Kulkarni-Joshi and Paradkar (2016). The language (known as Konkani in India) has been in existence for over 125 years in South Africa, with Cape Town as its main base. The paper characterises the degree to which the language is still employed and the social circumstances under which this takes place. It points out historical inquiry on the strong transnational mobility of older speakers in Cape Town and their keen awareness of village roots in India. Explorations on the Konkan coast of India confirm the strong historical and linguistic links between the area and Cape Town. The paper proposes its preliminary findings on the dialect characteristics of the Cape Town variety, mainly in relation to morphological variation, based on the authors' fieldwork of 2016–2017. There is initial support for the hypothesis that significant variation based on villages of origin continues well over a hundred years after the initial migrations. It concludes by handling some dilemmas regarding language maintenance and shift.