Hottentot (racial term)
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''Hottentot'' (British and South African English ) is a term that was historically used to refer to the
Khoekhoe Khoekhoen (or Khoikhoi in the former orthography; formerly also '' Hottentots''"Hottentot, n. and adj." ''OED Online'', Oxford University Press, March 2018, www.oed.com/view/Entry/88829. Accessed 13 May 2018. Citing G. S. Nienaber, 'The origin ...
, the non-Bantu speaking
indigenous Indigenous may refer to: *Indigenous peoples Indigenous peoples, also referred to as First people, Aboriginal people, Native people, or autochthonous people, are culturally distinct ethnic groups who are native to a particular place. The term ' ...
nomadic pastoralists of South Africa. The term has also been used to refer to the non- Bantu-speaking speaking indigenous population as a whole, now collectively known as the
Khoisan Khoisan , or (), according to the contemporary Khoekhoegowab orthography, is a catch-all term for those Indigenous peoples of Africa, indigenous peoples of Southern Africa who do not speak one of the Bantu languages, combining the (formerly "K ...

Khoisan
."The old Dutch also did not know that their so-called Hottentots formed only one branch of a wide-spread ethnicity, of which the other branch divided into ever so many tribes, differing from each other totally in language ..While the so-called Hottentots called themselves Khoikhoi (men of men, ''i.e.'' men ''par excellence''), they called those other tribes ''Sā'', the Sonqua of the Cape Records ..We should apply the term ''Hottentot'' to the whole race, and call the two families, each by the native name, that is the one, the ''Khoikhoi'', the so-called ''Hottentot proper''; the other the ''Sān'' (''Sā'') or ''Bushmen''." Theophilus Hahn, ''Tsuni-, , Goam: The Supreme Being to the Khoi-Khoi'' (1881), p. 3. Use of the term is now deprecated and sometimes considered offensive, the preferred name for the non-Bantu speaking indigenous people of the
Western Cape The Western Cape ( af, Wes-Kaap; xh, iNtshona-Koloni) is a provinces of South Africa, province of South Africa, situated on the south-western coast of the country. It is the List of South African provinces by area, fourth largest of the nine pr ...
area being
Khoi Khoekhoen (singular Khoekhoe) (or Khoikhoi in the former orthography; formerly also ''Hottentot (racial term), Hottentots''"Hottentot, n. and adj." ''OED Online'', Oxford University Press, March 2018, www.oed.com/view/Entry/88829. Accessed 13 ...
, Khoekhoe (formerly Khoikhoi), or
Khoisan Khoisan , or (), according to the contemporary Khoekhoegowab orthography, is a catch-all term for those Indigenous peoples of Africa, indigenous peoples of Southern Africa who do not speak one of the Bantu languages, combining the (formerly "K ...

Khoisan
.


Etymology

The term ''Hottentot'' originated among the "old Dutch", that is the settlers of the
Dutch Cape Colony The Cape Colony ( nl, Kaapkolonie) was a Dutch United East India Company (VOC) Colony In political science, a colony is a territory subject to a form of foreign rule. Though dominated by the foreign colonizers, colonies remain separate fr ...

Dutch Cape Colony
who arrived in the region in the 1650s, and it entered English usage from Dutch in the seventeenth century."A very large number of different etymologies for the name have been suggested ... The most frequently repeated suggestion ... is that the word was a spec. use of a formally identical Dutch word meaning ‘stammerer, stutterer’, which came to be applied to the Khoekhoe and San people on account of the clicks characteristic of their languages. However, evidence for the earlier general use appears to be lacking. Another frequent suggestion is that the people were so named after one or more words which early European visitors to southern Africa heard in chants accompanying dances of the Khoekhoe or San ... but the alleged chant is rendered in different ways in different 17th-cent. sources, and some of the accounts may be based on hearsay rather than first-hand knowledge. "Hottentot, n. and adj." ''OED Online'', Oxford University Press, March 2018, www.oed.com/view/Entry/88829. Accessed 13 May 2018. Citing G. S. Nienaber, 'The origin of the name “Hottentot” ', ''African Studies'', 22:2 (1963), 65-90, . See also . However, no definitive Dutch etymology for the term is known. A widely claimed etymology is from a supposed Dutch expression equivalent to "stammerer, stutterer", applied to the Khoikhoi on account of the distinctive
click consonant Click consonants, or clicks, are speech sounds that occur as consonants In articulatory phonetics, a consonant is a speech sound that is articulated with complete or partial closure of the vocal tract. Examples are , pronounced with the lips; , ...
s in their languages. There is, however, no earlier attestation of a word ''hottentot'' to support this theory. An alternative possibility is that the name derived from an overheard term in chants accompanying Khoikhoi or San dances, but seventeenth-century transcriptions of such chants offer no conclusive evidence for this. An early Anglicisation of the term is recorded as ''hodmandod'' in the years around 1700. The reduced
Afrikaans Alaric speaking Afrikaans. Afrikaans (, ) is a West Germanic language spoken in South Africa South Africa, officially the Republic of South Africa (RSA), is the southernmost country in Africa. With over Demographics of South Africa, 5 ...
/Dutch form ''hotnot'' has also been borrowed into South African English as an derogatory term for black people.


Usage as an ethnic term

In seventeenth-century Dutch, ''Hottentot'' was at times used to denote all black people (synonymously with '' Kaffir''), but at least some speakers were careful to use the term ''Hottentot'' to denote what they thought of as a race distinct from the supposedly darker-skinned ''Kaffirs''. This distinction between the non-Bantu "Cape Blacks" and the Bantu was noted as early as 1684 by the French anthropologist François Bernier. The idea that ''Hottentot'' referred strictly to the non-Bantu peoples of southern Africa was well embedded in colonial scholarly thought by the end of the eighteenth century. The main meaning of ''Hottentot'' as an ethnic term in the 19th and the 20th centuries has therefore been to denote the Khoikhoi people specifically. However, ''Hottentot'' also continued to be used through the eighteenth, nineteenth, and twentieth centuries in a wider sense, to include all of the people now usually referred to with the modern term ''
Khoisan Khoisan , or (), according to the contemporary Khoekhoegowab orthography, is a catch-all term for those Indigenous peoples of Africa, indigenous peoples of Southern Africa who do not speak one of the Bantu languages, combining the (formerly "K ...

Khoisan
'' (not only the Khoikhoi, but also the
San people The San peoples (also Saan), or Bushmen, are members of various Khoe Maharishi International University (MIU), formerly Maharishi University of Management, is a private university in Fairfield, Iowa. It was founded in 1973 by Maharishi Mahesh ...

San people
, hunter-gatherer populations from the interior of southern Africa who had not been known to the seventeenth-century settlers, once often referred to as ''Bosjesmans'' in Dutch and ''Bushmen'' in English). In
George Murdock George Peter ("Pete") Murdock (May 11, 1897 – March 29, 1985), also known as G. P. Murdock, was an American anthropologistAn anthropologist is a person engaged in the practice of anthropology. Anthropology is the study of aspects of humans wit ...
's ''Atlas of World Cultures'' (1981), the author refers to "Hottentots" as a "subfamily of the Khoisan linguistic family" who "became Detribalization, detribalized in contact with Dutch settlers in 1652, mixing with the latter and with slaves brought by them from Indonesia to form the hybrid population known today as the Cape Coloureds, Cape Coloured." The term ''Hottentot'' remained in use as a technical ethnic term in anthropological and historiographical literature into the late 1980s. The 1996 edition of the ''Dictionary of South African English'' merely says that "the word 'Hottentot' is seen by some as offensive and Khoikhoi is sometimes substituted as a name for the people, particularly in scholarly contexts". Yet, by the 1980s, because of the racist connotations discussed below, it was increasingly seen as too derogatory and offensive to be used in an ethnic sense.


Usage as a term of abuse and racist connotations

From the eighteenth century onwards, the term ''hottentot'' was also a term of abuse without a specific ethnic sense, comparable to ''barbarian'' or ''cannibal''. In its ethnic sense, it had developed its connotations of savagery and primitivism by the seventeenth century; colonial depictions of the Hottentots (Khoikhoi) in the seventeenth to eighteenth century were characterized by savagery, often suggestive of cannibalism in Africa, cannibalism or the consumption of raw flesh, physiological features such as steatopygia and elongated labia perceived as primitive or "simian" and a perception of the click sounds in the Khoikhoi languages as "bestial". Thus, it can be said that the European, colonial image of "the Hottentot" from the seventeenth century onwards bore little relation to any realities of the Khoisan in Africa, and that this image fed into the usage of ''hottentot'' as a generalised derogatory term. Correspondingly, the word is "sometimes used as ugly slang for a black person". Use of the derived term ''hotnot'' was explicitly proscribed in South Africa by 2008. Accordingly, much recent scholarship on the history of colonial attitudes to the Khoisan or on the European trope of "the Hottentot" puts the term ''Hottentot'' in scare quotes.


Other usages

In its original role of ethnic designator, the term ''Hottentot'' was included into a variety of derived terms, such as the Cape Corps, Hottentot Corps, the first Coloured unit to be formed in the South African army, originally called the ''Corps Bastaard Hottentoten'' (Dutch language, Dutch: "Corps of Bastard Hottentots"), organised in 1781 by the Dutch colonial administration of the time. The word is also used in the common names of a wide variety of plants and animals,"Hottentot, n. and adj." ''OED Online'', Oxford University Press, March 2018, www.oed.com/view/Entry/88829. Accessed 13 May 2018. such as the ''Africanis'' dogs sometimes called "Hottentot hunting dogs", the fish ''Hottentot (fish), Pachymetopon blochii'', frequently simply called ''hottentots'', ''Carpobrotus edulis'', commonly known as a "hottentot-fig", and ''Trachyandra'', commonly known as "hottentot cabbage". It has also given rise to the scientific name for one genus of scorpion, ''Hottentotta'', and may be the origin of the epithet ''tottum'' in the botanical name ''Leucospermum tottum''. The word is still used as part of a tongue-twister in modern Dutch, "Hottentottententententoonstelling", meaning a "Hottentot tent exhibition". In Denmark the word is used to designate a person with a lot of energy, usually in connection to small children exhibiting frenzied behaviour, and is not generally considered to be a racial term. In the 1939 film ''The Wizard of Oz (1939 film), The Wizard of Oz'', the Cowardly Lion, blustering about his lack of courage, says: "What makes the Hottentot so hot? What puts the "ape" in apricot? What have they got that I ain't got?" Other cast members reply: "Courage."


See also

*Hottentot Venus *The Hottentot (1922 film) *Terre Haute Hottentots


References

* François-Xavier Fauvelle-Aymar, ''L'invention du Hottentot: histoire du regard occidental sur les Khoisan (XVe-XIXe siècle)'' (Paris: Publications de la Sorbonne, 2002) * Linda Evi Merians, ''Envisioning the Worst: Representations of "Hottentots" in Early-modern England'' (Newark: University of Delaware Press, 2001) {{Historical definitions of race Anti-African and anti-black slurs Anti-black racism in South Africa Khoikhoi South African English