SADiLaR Team: Afrikaans Researcher

Author: Mieke Hofmeyr

Benito Trollip is the SADiLaR reseacher in the field of the Afrikaans language. When it comes to research he is especially interested in the ways in which meaning is constructed in language.

“I tend to focus on compounds and other word-forming processes and the way people choose to combine form and meaning. There are endless possibilities when it comes to constructing meaning and language is a literal house of abundance when it comes to these possibilities,” says Mr Trollip.

He is also interested in legal aspects of research with regards to intellectual property rights, ownership and the distribution of data. As a SADiLaR researcher, Mr Trollip is always busy discovering new ways to bring language and the digital age together. At the current moment he is finalising a dataset and article on denominal adjectives in Afrikaans, of which eend-agtig ‘duck-like’ is an example. He has also worked with a graphic designer colleague of his on a short video on intensified adjectives in Afrikaans, of which hond-warm literally ‘dog hot > piping hot’ is one.

“My main other project at the current moment is my PhD. I am having enormous fun progressing with my PhD. I’m focusing on the ways in which Afrikaans speakers build judgement into certain words (like intensified adjectives) which I call morphological evaluative constructions.”

Part of his study includes looking at other languages which is what excites him even more about his study.

His research plans for the future includes finishing his work on denominal adjectives as soon as possible as well as starting to work on a project with two other colleagues in which they are going to collect Afrikaans keystroke logging data.

“Currently the vocabulary for this type of study does not even exist, so a big part of the study will constitute conceptualising.”

He is also involved in a study on named entities in literature texts that will need attention. Besides that, he hopes to compile an inventory of morphological evaluative constructions in Afrikaans whilst finishing his PhD. When it comes to Digital Humanities he believes that it is a way of thinking interdisciplinary.

“The biggest contribution Digital Humanities can make within the African context is to highlight the possibilities of collaboration. What Digital Humanities will ultimately contribute is contingent on those of us practicing it.”

He concludes by saying that we should all remember to practice Digital Humanities with the necessary self-critique and open-mindedness, then he’s sure that it will flourish in Africa.