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Besten, J.B. den

Besten, J.B. den

Hans den Besten, born in Amsterdam, the Netherlands, in 1948. Ph.D. from Tilburg University. Associate Professor at the Department of Linguistics at the University of Amsterdam. († 2010) 

Fellow (1 September 2003 – 30 June 2004)


When I arrived at NIAS I knew that my research plan, originally written for the year 2002/03, was in need of revision: more attention should be paid to Cape Dutch Pidgin and a computerized data base on this pidgin was required. However, the data base was not yet ready and a comprehensive paper on these pidgin data had yet to be written. So I continued working on Cape Dutch Pidgin and with the help of NIAS’s library I acquired copies of many original texts on the Dutch Cape Colony (some of them from abroad). Besides errors in modern editions, I found new data and on the basis of the pidgin evidence I could develop a new hypothesis about the origins of the Afrikaans possessive constructions. In November, I started writing my paper on Cape Dutch Pidgin which should appear in a volume edited by Mikael Parkvall (University of Stockholm) and myself. This article, which is not yet finished, will be the basis for a future book that will also contain my data base (possibly (also) on CD-ROM).

After the first semester I finally returned to the raison d’être of my being at NIAS: my book on the making of Afrikaans. I finished rough versions of chapters on negation and negative imperatives, pronouns and determiners, relativization, associatives, and object marking. Furthermore, at the end of my stay I wrote (and almost finished) a long paper on possessive constructions in Afrikaans and in relevant other languages. This paper is meant for a conference and a festschrift and it will be the basis for what I consider the most difficult chapter of my book. This way PART 2 and an important chapter of PART 3 of my research plan are finished, albeit in a somewhat rough fashion. Furthermore, I produced three book reviews and I was able to write two small papers (on Cape Dutch Pidgin and travelogues), which were published in the Quarterly Bulletin of the National Library of South Africa in 2003 and 2004 respectively. Two more will follow.