Born Antoine Nicolas Ernest Changuion on 15 December 1803 in The Hague, but grew up at Offenbach am Main, learning German, English, French, Greek and Latin. He taught English and French in Frankfurt, Amsterdam, and also while he studied Theology at the University of Leiden from 1828, obtaining the degree Philosophy Theoreticae Master et Litirarum Doctor Humaniorum (honoris causa).
In 1831 he accepted a professorship in classical and modern languages, focusing on Dutch literature, at the South African Athenaeum (founded in 1829; later known as the South African College,today known as the University of Cape Town). He remained this position until 1842, when he resigned for various reasons, including the increasing anglicisation of the Athenaeum, to start his own "Institute" (1842-1860), a centre for basic and more advanced study with boarding facilities, which operated in both English and Dutch, inter alia training a large number of teacher over the years. He was also involved in, and later edited, the journal the Nederduitsche Zuid-Afrikaansch Tydschrift, which had been founded by would be his father-in-law, Dr. Abraham Faure, in 1824.
In Cape Town he married miss M.E. Faure on 25 September 1832 and the couple had six sons and three daughters.
In 1865 he left the Cape with his sister, Louise, his wife, and his two daughters. He became a teacher in Frankfurt and Aarau. In 1876 he settled in Lausanne, Switzerland, later moving to Lörrach, where he died on 14 October 1881.
His contribution to South African culture, theatre and performance
Changuion played an important role in the promotion of Dutch culture in the Cape during the first half of the 19th Century, both as teacher, linguist, journalist and orator.
He was apparently an excellent teacher and lecturer and authored and published the first school books in South Africa, as well as a number of works on linguistic matters, notably De Nederduitsche Taal in Zuid-Afrika Hersteld (The Dutch Language in South Africa Restored - 1844, second edition 1848), possibly his most renowned work, in which he not only identified the peculiarities of the "Afrikaner language" or "Cape Dutch", as a branch of Dutch, but specifically also identifying some charactersitics of what he termed the "Kaapsch idiom" (or "Kaapsche idioom" in Dutch), which displayed language features unique to the Cape. (See Kaaps)
Besides his influence as teacher and lecturer through the Athenaeum and his "Institute", he also used his position at the journal the Nederduitsche Zuid-Afrikaansch Tydschrift (writing under the penname of A.N.E.C.) to promote cultural matters and introduced the first discussions of theatre in that journal.
Robert Ross. 1999. Status and Respectability in the Cape Colony, 1750–1870: A Tragedy of Manners. Cambridge University Press:. p. 59.
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