ArticlePDF Available

The Tshivenda–English Thalusamaipfi/Dictionary as a Product of South African Lexicographic Processes

Authors:

Abstract

The publication of a dictionary is regarded as the result of a lexicographic process. Three subtypes of a lexicographic process have been noted, namely the primary comprehensive, the secondary comprehensive and the dictionary specific lexicographic processes. In South Africa, the three lexicography processes correspond to the respective mandates of the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB), the National Lexicography Units (NLUs) and the editorial teams involved in the compilation of the specific dictionaries. This hierarchical arrangement of the lexicographic practice is supported by the government within the country's national multilingual policy which was lauded in linguistic and lexicographic circles as a triumph for cultural democracy. It is almost a decade since these planned lexicographic processes have been in place. It seems the right time to consider the products of these South African lexicographic processes which are envied by many foreign lexicographers, especially in Africa. Accordingly, the article evaluates these lexicographic processes with special reference to the Tshivenda–English Thalusamaipfi/Dictionary. Specifically, it addresses the question: To what extent does this dictionary represent lexicographic development in the indigenous South African languages which were marginalised before the establishment of the NLUs? A few insights are drawn from modern lexicographic theories for the general improvement of future lexicographic practice in languages with limited lexicographic tools such as Venda.
Lexikos 20 (AFRILEX-reeks/series 20: 2010): 307-325
The Tshivenda–English
Thalusamaipfi/Dictionary as a
Product of South African
Lexicographic Processes
Mbulungeni Madiba, Multilingualism Education Project, Centre for Higher
Education Development, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South Africa
(mbulungeni.madiba@uct.ac.za)
and
Dion Nkomo, Department of Afrikaans and Dutch, University of
Stellenbosch, Stellenbosch and Multilingualism Education Project, Centre for
Higher Education Development, University of Cape Town, Cape Town, South
Africa (deeouf@yahoo.co.uk)
Abstract: The publication of a dictionary is regarded as the result of a lexicographic process.
Three subtypes of a lexicographic process have been noted, namely the primary comprehensive,
the secondary comprehensive and the dictionary specific lexicographic processes. In South Africa,
the three lexicography processes correspond to the respective mandates of the Pan South African
Language Board (PanSALB), the National Lexicography Units (NLUs) and the editorial teams
involved in the compilation of the specific dictionaries. This hierarchical arrangement of the lexico-
graphic practice is supported by the government within the country's national multilingual policy
which was lauded in linguistic and lexicographic circles as a triumph for cultural democracy. It is
almost a decade since these planned lexicographic processes have been in place. It seems the right
time to consider the products of these South African lexicographic processes which are envied by
many foreign lexicographers, especially in Africa. Accordingly, the article evaluates these lexico-
graphic processes with special reference to the TshivendaEnglish Thalusamaipfi/Dictionary. Specifi-
cally, it addresses the question: To what extent does this dictionary represent lexicographic devel-
opment in the indigenous South African languages which were marginalised before the establish-
ment of the NLUs? A few insights are drawn from modern lexicographic theories for the general
improvement of future lexicographic practice in languages with limited lexicographic tools such as
Venda.
Keywords: LEXICOGRAPHIC PROCESS, LEXICOGRAPHIC PLANNING, PANSALB,
NATIONAL LEXICOGRAPHY UNITS, LEXICOGRAPHIC PRACTICE, METALEXICOGRAPHY,
DICTIONARY, BILINGUAL DICTIONARY, MACROSTRUCTURE, MICROSTRUCTURE
Opsomming: Die TshivendaEnglish Thalusamaipfi / Dictionary as 'n pro-
duk van Suid-Afrikaanse leksikografiese prosesse. Die publikasie van 'n woorde-
boek word beskou as die resultaat van 'n leksikografiese proses. Drie ondersoorte van 'n leksiko-
grafiese proses is onderskei, naamlik die primêr omvattende, die sekondêr omvattende en die
308 Mbulungeni Madiba and Dion Nkomo
woordeboek-spesifieke leksikografiese prosesse. In Suid-Afrika stem die drie leksikografiese pro-
sesse ooreen met die onderskeie mandate van die Pan-Suid-Afrikaanse Taalraad (PanSAT), die
Nasionale Leksikografie-eenhede (NLE's) en die redaksiespanne betrokke by die samestelling van
die bepaalde woordeboeke. Hierdie hiërargiese rangskikking van die leksikografiese praktyk word
ondersteun deur die regering binne die land se nasionale veeltalige beleid wat in taalkundige en
leksikografiese kringe geloof is as 'n triomf vir kulturele demokrasie. Dit is byna 'n dekade sedert
hierdie beplande leksikografiese prosesse in plek is. Dit lyk na die regte tyd om die produkte van
hierdie Suid-Afrikaanse leksikografiese prosesse te beskou wat deur baie vreemde leksikograwe,
veral in Afrika, beny word. Gevolglik beoordeel die artikel hierdie leksikografiese prosesse met
spesiale verwysing na die TshivendaEnglish Thalusamaipfi/Dictionary. Dit roer veral die vraag aan:
Tot watter mate verteenwoordig hierdie woordeboek leksikografiese ontwikkeling in die inheemse
Suid-Afrikaanse tale wat gemarginaliseer is voor die totstandkoming van die NLE's? 'n Aantal
insigte word verkry van moderne leksikografiese teorieë vir die algemene verbetering van die toe-
komstige leksikografiese praktyk in tale met beperkte leksikografiese gereedskap, soos Venda.
Sleutelwoorde: LEKSIKOGRAFIESE PROSES, LEKSIKOGRAFIESE BEPLANNING, PAN-
SAT, NASIONALE LEKSIKOGRAFIE-EENHEDE, LEKSIKOGRAFIESE PRAKTYK, METALEKSI-
KOGRAFIE, WOORDEBOEK, TWEETALIGE WOORDEBOEK, MAKROSTRUKTUUR, MIKRO-
STRUKTUUR
1. Introduction
Gouws and Prinsloo (2005: 9) write:
The publication of any dictionary should not only be the result of the preceding
compilation activities but it has to be regarded as the culmination of a much
more comprehensive set of activities, the so-called lexicographic process. The
compilation and eventual publication of any dictionary form part of at least one
lexicographic process.
A lexicographic process is "part of a comprehensive historical process which
coincides with the development of a language" (Gouws 2001: 65). It is consti-
tuted by all the activities leading to the publication of a dictionary as a text
(Gouws and Prinsloo 2005: 9). Within the general theory of lexicography (Wie-
gand 1984: 15), the concept of a lexicographic process may be located within
the second constituent theory, namely the theory of organisation. This pertains
to lexicographic planning. Planning has been regarded as an important but
quite often neglected element of lexicographic practice (Alberts 1999; Gouws
2001, 2003; and Gouws and Prinsloo 2005).
In South Africa, lexicographic planning occurs at both macro and micro
level. At macro level, lexicographic planning is done by government through
the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB). Lexicographic planning at
micro level is done by the National Lexicography Units (NLUs), the Editors-in-
chief and their respective editorial teams. At this micro level, planning pro-
vides the lexicographer with an opportunity to preview the lexicographic prac-
The Tshivenda–English Thalusamaipfi/Dictionary as a Product of Lexicographic Processes 309
tice and prepare for the tasks ahead and their characteristic challenges. It also
contributes to the user-friendliness of dictionaries. Dictionaries produced with-
in a well-conceived lexicographic process are characterised by predictability,
calculability, analysability and controllability (Gouws 2001: 64). This means
that the concept of a lexicographic process provides guidance to the lexicogra-
pher, the dictionary user and the dictionary critic in an equally useful way. It is
such an essential element of lexicography that when a dictionary fails to be the
effective tool that it ought to be, it is quite often regarded as the result of an ill-
conceived lexicographic process, or an absolute absence of planning (Gouws
and Prinsloo 2005: 9).
Metalexicography has identified the primary, the secondary and the dic-
tionary-specific lexicographic processes as the three subtypes of a lexicographic
process (Gouws 2001, 2003; and Gouws and Prinsloo 2005). Since these have
been comprehensively discussed in the cited works, this article mainly focuses
on the TshivendaEnglish Thalusamaipfi/Dictionary (henceforth TETD) as a prod-
uct of such processes in South Africa. However, it is not only inevitable but also
necessary for background information to discuss the agents of lexicographic
processes in the country. These agents are PanSALB, the NLUs, lexicographers
and dictionary publishers. Information on the agents of lexicographic processes
in South Africa is already available in other published works (cf. Gouws 1996,
2001, 2003; Gouws and Prinsloo 2005; Kumalo 1999; Madiba 2002; and Mongwe
2006). However, in the available literature, this has been done retrospectively to
or immediately after the establishment of the NLUs when the authors were
generally in an optimistic mood. The exceptions were notably Madiba (2002)
who raises critical questions regarding the government's involvement in lexi-
cography and Gouws (2003) who considers a number of potentially negative
factors. Overall, what remains missing is an introspective and qualitative
evaluation of the operations and products of the South African lexicographic
processes close to a decade since their inception. Therefore, the analysis of the
TETD in this article, as well as reference to pre-NLUs and other dictionaries,
gives another angle to the entire picture.
2. Agents of lexicographic processes in South Africa
South Africa is among the very few countries in the world where lexicography
has been officially recognised as a professional enterprise with a potential to
advance national goals. This occurred in the aftermath of apartheid and the
formulation of a multilingual national language policy which recognised nine
indigenous African languages as official languages, in addition to English and
Afrikaans. Lexicography was rightfully identified as one important way of
developing the formerly marginalised languages towards the implementation
of the national language policy (Gouws 2003, Madiba 2002). Through Pan-
SALB, which was given a mandate for establishing NLUs for each official lan-
guage, the South African government facilitated the establishment of the coun-
310 Mbulungeni Madiba and Dion Nkomo
try's lexicographic processes. PanSALB was established as an independent
statutory body by an Act of Parliament (Act 59 of 1995) with the following
explicit aims:
(1) to promote respect for and ensure the implementation of the following
principles:
(a) the creation of conditions for the development and for the promotion of
the equal use and enjoyment of all the official South African languages;
(b) the extension of those rights relating to language and the status of lan-
guages which before 27 April 1994 were restricted to certain regions;
(c) the prevention of the use of any language for the purposes of exploitation,
domination or division;
(d) the promotion of
(i) multilingualism; and
(ii) the provision of translation and interpreting facilities;
(e) the fostering of respect for languages spoken in the Republic other than
the official languages, and the encouragement of their use in appropriate
circumstances; and
(f) the non-diminution of rights relating to language and the status of lan-
guages existing before 27 April 1994;
(2) to further the development of the official South African languages;
(3) to promote respect for and the development of other languages used by
communities in South Africa, and languages used for religious purposes;
(4) to promote knowledge of and respect for the provisions and principles of
the Constitution relating directly or indirectly to language matters;
(5) to promote respect for multilingualism in general; and
(6) to promote the utilisation of South Africa's language resources.
PanSALB had to facilitate all this through the creation of provincial and na-
tional structures which would advise on the respective official languages and
activities that had to be undertaken. The subcommittee for Lexicography and
Terminology played an important role in stressing that dictionaries would fig-
ure imperatively in the standardisation process (Gouws 2003: 220). Subse-
quently, the deliberations regarding the formation of the NLUs for each official
language ensued. The NLUs were eventually established according to the
PanSALB Act as amended in 1999 (Kumalo 1999, Gouws 2003). This made
PanSALB an agent of the primary comprehensive lexicographic process in
South Africa. PanSALB's mandate for establishing the NLUs implied several
responsibilities which would have direct implications for the production of
dictionaries. Since PanSALB identified "the compilation of a comprehensive
monolingual explanatory dictionary" as the eventual line function of each NLU
(Gouws 2003: 220), it was also its task to assist the NLUs with comprehensive
planning to facilitate the achievement of that function. Lexicographically
The Tshivenda–English Thalusamaipfi/Dictionary as a Product of Lexicographic Processes 311
speaking, the role of PanSALB was aptly summarised by Gouws (2003: 221)
when he wrote:
The task that awaits PanSALB is to define and describe the lexicographic process
to be used in South Africa.
PanSALB should realize the compelling need to devise a comprehensive plan
for the South African lexicographic process.
The task of defining the primary comprehensive lexicographic process as ar-
ticulated in the above quotations transcends the administrative and managerial
responsibilities of the NLUs. However, Kumalo (1999: 211) wrote at the time:
"PanSALB shall not impose itself on the units, but shall make it possible for
them to take responsible decisions relevant to their specific and individual
needs." It would appear that the formulation of the NLUs, particularly the sub-
suming of the objectives of the National Lexicography Units Bill and the estab-
lishment of the NLUs under PanSALB raised fears of conflicts of interests and
control. While these issues are relevant constituents of the theory of organisa-
tion, which is part of the general theory of lexicography (Wiegand 1984: 15),
they seem to have attracted more attention at the expense of the primary goals
for the establishment of the NLUs, i.e. empowering the multilingual nation
with relevant, functional and user-friendly dictionaries.
As a law, the PanSALB Act clearly outlined the objectives of each NLU:
The objectives of a unit shall be to initiate, maintain, continue, complete and
from time to time improve the compilation of the dictionary and other products
by:
(a) the continuous and comprehensive collecting, arranging and sorting, in a
lexicographically workable form, of the general vocabulary of the lan-
guage concerned;
(b) the editing, adaptation, and publication of the collected material accord-
ing to lexicographic principles in printed and electronic form; and
(c) the granting access to the language material and sources of the unit to
researchers according to the policy of the board.
The NLUs were to operate as Section 21 Companies, with each of them man-
aged by a National Lexicography Unit Board. The Constitution of the board
was also clearly defined, making provision for:
(a) a Chairperson appointed by the Minister;
(b) an Editor-in-chief […];
(c) a person appointed by the Minister who, at the request of the Minister,
has been nominated by a language body for the language concerned
referred to in […] the Pan South African Language Board Act, 1995 (Act
No. 59 of 1995), to represent such body on the board;
312 Mbulungeni Madiba and Dion Nkomo
(d) two persons appointed by the Minister, in collaboration with the African
Association for Lexicography (AFRILEX), on account of their interest in
and knowledge of lexicography;
(e) two persons appointed by the Minister in consultation with stakeholders
on account of their knowledge of the language concerned as linguists or
mother tongue speakers; and
(f) a person appointed by the Minister on account of his or her marketing
skills.
The functions and duties of the boards were listed in Chapter 2 of the Act, Sec-
tion (6). According to Subsection (1), a board shall in addition to its other func-
tions in terms of this Act:
(a) formulate the policy to be followed to achieve the objectives of its unit;
(b) govern and advise its unit in accordance with the resources at its disposal;
(c) decide from time to time about matters relating to the publishing, print-
ing and reprinting of the dictionary and products of its unit, including the
determination of the selling price and conditions of sale of products and
services of the unit; and
(d) determine from time to time the number of review, gift, working and
other copies of products of its unit to be made available free of charge.
From the foregoing, it is clear that through PanSALB, the government of South
Africa has attempted to play not merely a supportive but actually a directive
role as an agent of the country's primary comprehensive lexicographic process.
Yet it would appear that the process has not been comprehensive enough
because no further and adequate elaboration on the production of the relevant
lexicographic products has been offered. Perhaps the closest is the document
Regulations for the NLUs, which is equally found short of "solutions regarding
problems of dictionary planning and compilation" (Gouws 2003: 227). All that
could be established was that the NLUs and their boards became agents of the
secondary lexicographic processes and through their editorial staff, agents of
dictionary-specific lexicographic processes. In all this, metalexicographically
relevant pieces of information are missing which would be needed for a model
within which the established NLUs could operate. It has to be recalled that
prior to the establishment of the NLUs, some languages such as Ndebele had
no lexicographic history, experience or expertise to draw from. As part of the
primary comprehensive lexicographic process, prospective lexicographers had
to be trained from among the linguists of the respective languages. Gouws
(2003: 228) indicates that AFRILEX played an important role in this regard, but
Sue Atkins, after having offered training together with Michael Rundell at
SALEX 98, raises questions in a report (which Gouws substantially quotes) of
whether such efforts sufficiently equipped the NLUs for general and language-
specific lexicographic challenges.
The Tshivenda–English Thalusamaipfi/Dictionary as a Product of Lexicographic Processes 313
The South African lexicographic processes also needed to win the confi-
dence of the publishing industry. As indicated by Gouws (2001), the agents of
the comprehensive secondary lexicographic process and the dictionary-specific
lexicographic process should liaise with publishers regarding the publication of
dictionaries. This was recognised from the outset when the Nasionale Boek-
handel Group, the Oxford University Press (OUP) and the Southern Book Pub-
lishers were invited to the third National Language Services workshop which
sought to demonstrate the viability of the South African lexicography industry
as Beukes (1996) says:
If properly planned and positioned, the lexicography industry in South Africa
could — as is the case elsewhere in the world — generate handsome financial
benefits which could in turn play a significant role in the process of elaborating
the African languages.
Representing OUP, McCallum (1996: 123) dismissed the aim of the seminar as
"a somewhat narrow if not misleading view of lexicography" and argued that
while there was a genuine need for lexicographic practice in the African lan-
guages, certain dictionary types would be non-viable. It is perhaps in this
respect that traditional and new dictionary publishers now exist as competitors
rather than collaborators with the NLUs. As far as languages are concerned,
English and Afrikaans have continued to benefit, with a few commercially
viable dictionaries in the African languages being compiled by freelance lexi-
cographers. While this may seem regrettable, in the end it does not matter who
produces or publishes what, as long as users are provided with products that
may be efficiently used to solve the problems they face in their specific situa-
tions of use.
3. The TshivendaEnglish Thalusamaipfi / Dictionary
The Tshivenda National Lexicography Unit (TNLU) is one of the six NLUs that
were established in post-apartheid South Africa (Mongwe 2006: 11), while oth-
ers were simply reconstituted and named accordingly. Just like the other NLUs
with regard to the languages they work on, the function of the TNLU is the
compilation of Venda dictionaries. So far, the TNLU has produced only one
dictionary, namely the TETD. The TETD was published in 2006, five years after
the registration of the TNLU as a non-profit Section 21 Company in 2001
(Mongwe 2006). Although the writing of this dictionary was supported by
PanSALB, the TNLU should take all credit and responsibility for its quality.
Otherwise it would be very unfortunate if critical decisions regarding the con-
tents and design features were imposed on lexicographers by the stakeholders
whose role should be more managerial and logistic than practically lexico-
graphic. In this regard, albeit along the line function that was determined by
PanSALB for all the NLUs, the TNLU should have taken into account the fol-
314 Mbulungeni Madiba and Dion Nkomo
lowing in their formulation of the dictionary concept and compilation of the
TETD:
the available dictionary types in the language,
the unavailable dictionary types in the language,
the potential target users of various types of prospective dictionaries in
the language,
the lexicographic needs of the potential users of the prospective diction-
aries,
the prioritisation, but not total neglect, of certain users and needs over
others, and
the reference skills of the users of the prospective dictionaries.
It is within this set of rubrics that the TETD is evaluated in the following sub-
sections. Attention is given to its typology, its data categories and its structure
in view of the identified target users and their needs.
3.1 A typological perspective on the TETD
The TETD is presumably a bidirectional bilingual dictionary with two macro-
structural lists. The first list coordinates Venda lemmata with their English
equivalents while the second list coordinates English lemmata with Venda
equivalents. In this perspective, it appears better than Van Warmelo (1937) and
Van Warmelo (1989), whose unidirectionality makes them more useful only to
Venda speakers trying to learn English. It is outlined on the blurb that the
TETD "has been compiled to meet the needs of Tshivenda Home Language
learners, First Additional Language learners, Tshivenda students as well as
speakers of other languages". The two macrostructures, which are arranged
alphabetically, make the dictionary bi-/poly-accessible so that users have
options of starting their search path using either Venda or English macro-
structural entries. Prior to the TETD, one Venda dictionary having this advan-
tage is Wentzel and Muloiwa's (1976) Trilingual Elementary Dictionary which has
three macrostructures. In this way, the TETD clearly embodies the multilin-
gualism agenda of South African lexicography and the post-apartheid national
language policy. The availability of blurb texts in both Venda and English is
consistent with this idea.
The identification of Venda home language learners, first additional lan-
guage learners, Venda students as well as speakers of other languages as target
users suggests that the TETD was conceived as a learner's dictionary. This
observation is problematic, especially when the data categories provided in the
dictionary are considered (see 3.2). The limited lexicographic treatment of
lemmata can barely support language learning and other functions such as
The Tshivenda–English Thalusamaipfi/Dictionary as a Product of Lexicographic Processes 315
translation. In a similar way, the blurb also describes the TETD as an explana-
tory dictionary. What exactly this means is difficult to understand. According
to Hartmann and James (1998: 55), an explanatory dictionary "gives detailed
explanations of the meanings covered". As it will be shown in the next section,
this dictionary provides very limited treatment of lemmata in either macro-
structures which are themselves equally limited. In the comment on the mean-
ing slot, only equivalents and occasional brief paraphrases are provided so that
they barely provide the dictionary user with adequate explanatory assistance
regarding the lemmata. More details on this will be provided in the next sec-
tion, on the basis of which it will be determined whether the dictionary may
fulfil the functions which it purports to serve, and ultimately whether it marks
a major contribution to the development of Venda lexicography in which a
small number of dictionaries were already available.
Another aspect which is often used as a typological feature of dictionaries
is size, resulting in typological distinctions such as pocket or pocket-size dic-
tionaries, medium-size dictionaries, desk and multi-volume dictionaries. In
modern lexicography, size probably remains an important feature only in as far
as it is a function of the cost of dictionary production, cost price of the diction-
ary and convenience of being used in certain situations. Besides these consid-
erations, dictionary size would be superseded by the functional value of the
dictionary, which is determined by the availability and accessibility of data
categories from which relevant information may be retrieved. However, it may
be possible to correlate the size of a dictionary with its functional value within
the parameters of a specific type of a dictionary. The two macrostructures of
TETD together with a non-integrated (Gouws 2002, 2004) middle-matter add
up to only 172 numbered pages. Slightly more than half of this dictionary space
is allocated to the Tshivenda–English macrostructure while the remainder is
taken up by the English–Tshivenda macrostructure. Even where the smaller is
favoured for portability purposes, the functional value of the TETD may easily
be put in doubt when compared to some of its predecessors with the same
functions. Does the TETD provide more comprehensive assistance compared to
Van Warmelo (1989) within its size constraints? A more thorough analysis of
the TETD would confirm that it bears little, if any, significant improvements in
comparison with some of the available dictionaries in Venda.
3.2 Data and information categories
An evaluation of data categories and information which may be retrieved from
them is the best way of appreciating the functional value of a dictionary.
Within the theory of lexicographic functions, attention is given to the relations
existing between specific groups of users, the problems they encounter in cer-
tain situations, their information needs for solving the respective problems, and
the kinds of information that may be retrieved from the data types available in
a dictionary (Bergenholz and Tarp 1995, 2003; and Tarp 2008). It is, therefore,
316 Mbulungeni Madiba and Dion Nkomo
not enough for the lexicographer or the dictionary publisher for that matter, to
end with identifying the target users and functions of his/her dictionary in the
introductory or cover entries. Relevant data categories have to be included in
the dictionary so that the information which satisfies certain user needs may be
retrieved. When data categories are included without this consideration, the
dictionary is likely to become an object which represent less judicious copying
from its predecessors, together with their failures (Landau 2001: 23). In cases
where the dictionary is the first in the language, as is the case with the IsiNde-
bele NLU, the dictionary becomes an easily forgettable, if at all recognisable
object in a linguistic community. Unfortunately, the potential users of the dic-
tionary normally takes all blame for their lack of dictionary culture, yet such a
dictionary culture may only be cultivated by the availability of dictionaries
which solve the users' problems with reasonable ease. In this case, the TETD
had its forerunners. The evaluation of its data types will inevitably result in its
comparison with other Venda dictionaries. The focus will be on lemmata,
grammar (type of speech labels) and equivalents, the only consistently pro-
vided data types in this dictionary.
3.2.1 Lemmata
Although every dictionary contains lemmata, this type of data should not be
taken for granted. The lemmatised forms provide spelling information which is
useful for literary text production and text reception. For the dictionary to pro-
vide optimal support with regard to these functions, important questions will
concern the representativeness of the lemma entries. Firstly, was a corpus used
as a dictionary basis for lemma selection? Modern lexicography is either cor-
pus-based or corpus-aided, proper use of corpora usually resulting in repre-
sentative dictionaries which reflect language as it is used. Secondly, if a corpus
was used, was the frequency criterion or the predictability criterion adopted for
lemma selection? The frequency criterion ensures that dictionaries capture the
most frequent words, but for some users, e.g. adult native speakers, the most
frequent words may not be the most sought. The use of the predictability crite-
rion, especially in African languages, will save dictionary space by avoiding
predictable inflections and derivations. However, the ability to predict will
depend on whether the user is a native speaker with a good command of
grammar or a second language learner with a limited grammatical competence.
Thirdly, was lemma selection guided by policies which ensure that the lexical
structure of a language is captured by avoiding biases towards certain word
classes (such as nouns) at the expense of other categories? Ultimately, is the
lemma stock included in the dictionary appropriate for the users of the diction-
ary and its functions? In short, lemma selection needs to be carried out in a
very meticulous way so that the target users will find the words they look up
as punctually as possible.
With an average of 60 lemmata per page, spread over 89 pages of the Tshi-
The Tshivenda–English Thalusamaipfi/Dictionary as a Product of Lexicographic Processes 317
venda–English macrostructure, and considering the several less than half-
printed pages at the end of certain alphabetical stretches, the TETD's Tshivenda
vocabulary coverage is ±5 000 items. This may be suitable for additional lan-
guage learners, Venda students and speakers of other languages learning
Venda, provided it satisfies the other questions of balance raised in the previ-
ous paragraph. It is commendable that the lemmata represent different word
categories as well, although there seems to be a prevalence of nouns and verbs,
which is characteristic of the earliest dictionaries of which the lemma selection
was based on traditional methods. Another problem is that no information is
provided on whether a corpus formed the basis for the dictionary or not. For
example, if the frequency criterion, based on a corpus was used, indicating
frequency would guide non-native Venda learners on the vocabulary they need
to learn for basic communication purposes. This is done in the Oxford Bilingual
School Dictionary: Northern Sotho and English (De Schryver 2008). Furthermore, a
comparison of the English wordlists in the TETD and other bilingual diction-
aries compiled by other NLUs working on languages with more or less similar
levels of lexicographic development indicates that the hub and spoke model
suggested by Gouws (2003) for bilingual dictionaries was not employed. For
example, only 23 lemmata are common to both the first 60 lemma stretches of
the TETD and Dikixinari ya Xitsonga/English Dictionary. Thus, as the editors
also do not provide it, it is difficult to determine the dictionary basis of the
TETD. The provision of such information would indicate the appropriateness
of the dictionary for the four different types of identified target users. How-
ever, there seems to be a striking pattern when the Tshivenda–English section
is compared with Murphy's (1997) online Venda dictionary. When the letter Aa
alone is compared with the online dictionary, it is found that, with the excep-
tion of function words and loan words, all the lemmata in Murphy's dictionary
are entered and treated similarly in the TETD. It would not be wrong for the
TETD to have Murphy's and other existing dictionaries as its dictionary basis.
However, what is remarkable is the minimum effort that went into making the
TETD better than its predecessors, in line with the needs of the users the editors
identified.
Given that the TETD was compiled at a time when several dictionaries
existed in Venda, its vocabulary coverage may be far too limited for home lan-
guage learners, who may be assumed to be the primary users of the dictionary.
Of course, the TETD would have an advantage of containing contemporary
vocabulary, but this would suggest that certain words in the older dictionaries
would be excluded. Yet some such lemmata may be of cultural relevance to
most target users. This brings back the issue of dictionary size, and the fact that
the dictionary should have clearly prioritised certain users, either home lan-
guage learners or additional language learners, because it cannot equally sat-
isfy the needs of these totally different users. A dictionary for all is a dictionary
for none or, worse still, no dictionary at all, if the functional value of the dic-
tionary does not take precedence.
318 Mbulungeni Madiba and Dion Nkomo
3.2.2 Grammar
The main basis for the rejection of the suggestion that the TETD may be re-
garded as a learner's dictionary is that, in addition to its limited macrostructure
which makes it difficult for the dictionary to support vocabulary learning, very
limited grammatical information is provided as part of the microstructural
treatment. Only type of speech information is given. The table below presents
the most used type of speech labels in the dictionary.
Word class
(English)
English
Abbreviation
Word class
(Venda)
Venda
Abbreviation
Noun N dzina dzin
Verb V liiti lii
Adjective Adj l
i
taluli l
i
talu
Preposition Prep livhofhi livho
Adverb Adv lidadzisi l
i
da
Conjunction Conj litanganyi l
i
tang
Possessive Poss lisumbavhun
e
livhun
Type of speech information in the TETD
Type of speech labels represent important grammatical data provided in dic-
tionaries. In the TETD, type of speech labels serve to distinguish between
homographs, as is the case with the two lemmata represented by the form
anga. After the first lemma anga, lii informs the user that the lexical item is a
verb, while livhu indicates that the lexical item treated in the second lemma
anga is a possessive. Unfortunately, some of the grammatical markers used in
the dictionary articles are inconsistent with those supplied for guidance in the
front matter. For example, livhu is used to indicate that anga may be used as a
possessive equivalent to the English words mine or my, yet livhun is given in the
front matter as the abbreviation indicating possessives. Furthermore, gram-
matical markers are the only type of grammatical information the user finds in
the dictionary. How the treated words combine with others in speech or writ-
ing is not provided, especially for the help of additional language learners.
Example sentences, possibly derived from real texts, would have been useful. It
would have been better if a grammatical section was provided to furnish non-
native speakers with grammatical rules and guidance which may help them
when learning to speak or write Venda. Moreover, a combined explanation
giving the full form of a Venda symbol or abbreviation, together with its Eng-
lish equivalents with which non-native Venda learners may be familiar, as
attempted in the table above, would have been useful. Otherwise the user is left
struggling with the coordination of the symbols and abbreviations and their
full forms in the two languages. This is not only cumbersome but also discour-
aging for the user.
The Tshivenda–English Thalusamaipfi/Dictionary as a Product of Lexicographic Processes 319
3.2.3 Equivalents
In both sections of the TETD, equivalents are the main data categories provided
in the comment on meaning slot. Al-Kasimi (1977: 60) distinguishes two types
of equivalents that are normally supplied by bilingual dictionaries, namely
translational equivalents and explanatory equivalents. A translational equiva-
lent is "a lexical unit which can be immediately inserted into a sentence in the
target language". An explanatory equivalent is one "which cannot always be
inserted into a sentence in the target language" and it tends to approximate a
translational unit. Owing to linguistic and cultural anisomorphism between
English and African languages such as Venda, both translational and explana-
tory equivalents are provided in the TETD, the former for lexical items which
signify universal phenomena and the latter in the case of culture-specific or
context-dependent words.
In addition to translational and explanatory equivalents, the TETD also
treats the meaning of some lemmata by providing explanations in the target
language. These explanations are brief paraphrases or descriptions which seem
to be used in cases where there are no translational equivalents. They are used
either to clarify the explanatory equivalent or on their own in the comment on
meaning. A close look at the TETD shows that, although explanations are used
in both sections of the dictionary, they are more prevalent in the Tshivenda–
English section. The following are illustrations of the use of explanations as
data from which meaning can be retrieved in the dictionary:
aini … iron, an instrument used to make clothes smooth
dzengaila … restless, always on the go
founela … phone, make a phone call
davha … work party held by one who wants to have the land ploughed or
cultivated
mbongo food prepared from freshly harvested maize
shula … smear the floor with cow dung
In these examples, the TETD diverts from the dominant procedure of providing
meaning by exclusively using equivalents. Instead, brief explanations which
may be regarded as definitions are supplied. In the first three examples, iron,
restless and phone are provided as equivalents for aini, dzengaila and davha
respectively. However, the equivalents are supplemented by brief explanations
providing the meaning in more detail and accuracy. In the case of the first and
third examples, the explanations serve as meaning discriminators, because iron
and phone have other meanings as well, with the former also referring to metal
in general, while the latter may also be used as a noun.
With the fourth and fifth examples, the use of explanations to provide
meaning is quite different from the first three examples. In the latter, the expla-
nations are the sole data categories providing meaning. In such cases, the
explanations are provided because neither translational nor explanatory equiv-
320 Mbulungeni Madiba and Dion Nkomo
alents exist for the particular lexical items. The Venda lemmata refer to culture-
specific phenomena which are probably not known in English and therefore
have no English equivalents. Thus the adoption of brief explanations becomes
the best strategy for presenting meaning. Although the provided paraphrases
of meaning may not be easily inserted as translational equivalents for the
lemmata, the explanations are given in informative sentences, leaving the user
with an unequivocal idea of the meaning of lemmata. The problem, as stated
earlier, is that they are used sparingly and without a clear and consistent
policy. The TETD users, especially non-native learners of Venda, would actu-
ally wish that these explanations were provided in cases where lemmata are
polysemous or where at least two partly synonymous equivalents are provided
for lemmata. They would be an effective meaning discrimination strategy in
such problematics as described in the next paragraph.
Meaning discrimination is probably one of the most difficult tasks non-
native Venda learners have to contend with while using the TETD. The impor-
tance of meaning discrimination in bilingual dictionaries has been supported
by scholars such as Al-Kasimi (1977), Mafela (2005) and Yong and Peng (2007).
Al-Kasimi (1977: 67) notes that the need of meaning discrimination in bilingual
dictionaries arises when the user is "confronted with several words which he
cannot distinguish one from another". This is usually obtains owing to poly-
semy and synonymy. Therefore, as Yong and Peng (2007: 143) state, meaning
discrimination "helps to answer the question of which sense is to be taken in
the specific target language situation and guide the dictionary user towards the
right or appropriate target language equivalent". Because of the absence of
such help, Mafela (2005) criticises the earlier Venda dictionaries preceding the
TETD. Unfortunately, the TETD, which was published a year later, is also
lacking in this respect. The following examples illustrate how the TETD would
have been more user-friendly had effective meaning discrimination strategies
been employed.
pfa … hear, feel, taste, understand; spit
vhafuwi … farmers; Chief
tama … wish, admire, desire, be eager, envy, prefer, crave
Confronted with the above articles from the TETD, a non-native Venda learner
will find it difficult to choose the correct equivalent. In the first example, the
lemmata pfa and vhafuwi are polysemous and their English equivalents can
scarcely be used as synonyms. In the third example, the equivalents of the
lemma tama may be regarded as synonyms. However, they cannot be used
interchangeably in all contexts. All this indicate that the problems pointed out
by Mafela (2005) regarding Venda dictionaries still prevail in the TETD. This
suggests that in the compilation of the dictionary, adequate regard has not been
given to metalexicography and therefore the limitations identified in the pre-
ceding Venda dictionaries have been repeated.
The Tshivenda–English Thalusamaipfi/Dictionary as a Product of Lexicographic Processes 321
3.3 The TETD as a reflection of the South African lexicographic process
The TETD is a product of the lexicographic process through which a govern-
ment-supported initiative of developing the country's official languages saw
the establishment of NLUs for each language. For African languages such as
Ndebele and Tsonga, such an initiative would see the production of the very
first dictionaries. Yet in other languages such as Afrikaans, English, Xhosa and
Zulu, lexicographic work has been going on for quite a long time. The estab-
lishment of formal structures for lexicographic purposes has improved the exe-
cution of lexicographic works in these languages.
While no structures existed for Venda lexicography before the establish-
ment of the TNLU, there were at least a few lexicographic products on which to
rely. Details about the forerunners of the TETD are outlined in Mawela (1999),
Mongwe (2006) and Mafela (2008). These include Marole (1932, 1955, 1955a),
Marole and De Gama (1936, 1954) and Van Warmelo (1937, 1958, 1989). Very
little literature on these dictionaries is available. For example, none of these dic-
tionaries has any recognisable keyness in De Schryver (2009), in which no
names of Venda lexicographers are mentioned while 'Venda' and 'Tshivenda'
carry low keyness values. According to De Schryver (2009: 389), Venda (Tshi-
venda) together with Tsonga (Xitsonga), compared to the other official South
African languages, is not often discussed in lexicographic settings. It is only in
Lexikos 9, 15 and 18 where Venda lexicographic works are discussed. Of the
three articles, only Mafela (2005) discusses Venda lexicography in such a way
that the quality of future dictionaries could be improved. Unfortunately, it
appears to have been too late for Mafela (2005) to contribute to the quality of
the TETD. The analysis of the TETD indicates that it does not reflect recent
theoretical and methodological advances in lexicography. It cannot be con-
vincingly explained who the real users of the dictionary are and how they are
likely to benefit from consulting it, as it barely shows significant improvements
on the dictionaries already existing before its compilation. What is significant
though, is that this may not be regarded as the failure of the TNLU per se. The
dictionary may rightfully be seen as a reflection of a lexicographic achievement
of the comprehensive lexicographic process initiated through the establishment
of the NLUs following the demise of apartheid. It is remarkable that without
the words Tshivenda/Venda on its cover and front matter pages, the TETD is
more or less similar to the IsiNdebele/English Isihlathululi-magama Dictionary,
Sesotho sa Leboa/English Pukuntsu Dictionary and Dikixinari ya Xitsonga/English
Dictionary if the names of the languages treated in these dictionaries are omit-
ted. Not only their cover entries but also their front matter texts are identical,
providing very little information about the language, the procedures followed
at various stages of dictionary compilation, and, despite being called explana-
tory dictionaries, limited macrostructural representation and lexicographic
treatment of lemmata. This is disappointing because, before the establishment
of the NLUs, different needs were identified by the different language repre-
322 Mbulungeni Madiba and Dion Nkomo
sentatives at the 1996 lexicography meeting, which logically means that the
NLUs had to produce different dictionaries to satisfy the different needs
experienced in the respective languages.
The above situation has possibly changed the general perception about
government-planned lexicography, which was initially celebrated (Madiba
2002). This has seen the emergence of a parallel lexicographic process initiated
by publishers and undertaken by free-lance lexicographers. The obvious case in
point is represented by the Oxford bilingual dictionaries, namely the Oxford
Bilingual School Dictionary: Northern Sotho and English and the Oxford Bilingual
School Dictionary: Zulu and English, both edited by Gilles-Maurice de Schryver.
These Oxford dictionaries promise to be a great success not only because of
their more prestigious publisher, but also because of an unambiguous identifi-
cation of their target users and efforts of meeting the needs of these target
users, who are primarily school learners of either of the treated languages. Not
only have the dictionaries been recognised by the Department of Education as
useful language learning instruments, but the Northern Sotho and English dic-
tionary has also won the SATI (South African Translators' Institute) award for
outstanding translation dictionaries in 2009. This shows that the dictionaries
have not focused on specific users and functions at the neglect of others. These
dictionaries may also serve as useful translation instruments. However, it
should be reiterated that while these dictionaries are generally different from
and of better quality than those produced by the NLUs, the recognition of the
potential of lexicography in South Africa has created a favourable climate for
lexicographic practice, either by the NLUs or by commercial lexicographers. In
short, the South African lexicographic processes have seen an upsurge of lexi-
cographic practice, with dictionaries of varying quality being produced,
through governmental and commercial structures.
4. Conclusion
This article has attempted to add an important and over-due dimension to the
metalexicographic account of the South African lexicographic processes. This
dimension is the evaluation of the outputs of lexicographic practice since the
establishment of the NLUs about a decade ago. The establishment of the NLUs
remains a commendable idea which has undoubtedly improved lexicographic
practice in the country. Lexicographers who previously faced different chal-
lenges as they worked on languages with established lexicographic history
albeit within constrained frameworks found themselves working with the sanc-
tion of a democratic South Africa. On the other hand, formerly marginalised
languages, now have lexicographers working with other language practitio-
ners, albeit with more challenges owing to a lack of a favourable lexicographic
history in their languages. The net effect is that all of South Africa's official lan-
guages have at least one dictionary. While some of the dictionaries are likely to
fare unfavourably when subjected to dictionary criticism, they are certainly a
The Tshivenda–English Thalusamaipfi/Dictionary as a Product of Lexicographic Processes 323
step forward in the attainment of perfect dictionaries (Gouws and Prinsloo
2005: 42). The South African lexicographic community will gradually become
lexicographically informed owing to the dictionaries that have been produced
over the last decade and the lexicographers will certainly benefit from their
acquired experience. Ultimately, more and better dictionaries will hopefully be
produced. However, for this to happen, more insights are needed into the effi-
ciency of and challenges to the country's lexicographic establishment, espe-
cially the NLUs, so that its operations may be improved. More theoretical
insights are also required to support the lexicographic practice. For example,
Atkins (2002: 9) stresses that for devising tomorrow's dictionary it will be nec-
essary to pay attention to, among other considerations, "a clear idea of its users
and what they are going to do with it". This article has focused on one diction-
ary which seems quite problematic concerning this issue. It is evident that there
is room for improvement of the available products of the South African lexico-
graphic processes, especially given that the bilingual dictionaries such as the
TETD have to be considered as a step towards the production of comprehen-
sive explanatory monolingual dictionaries for the official languages.
References
Alberts, M. 1999. The Importance of a Business Plan when Planning a Lexicographic Project.
Lexikos 9: 188-197.
Al-Kasimi, A.M. 1977. Linguistics and Bilingual Dictionaries. Leyden: E.J. Brill.
Atkins, S. 1998. Some Discussion Points Arising from Afrilex–Salex'98. Unpublished Course Evalua-
tion Document. Pretoria: University of Pretoria.
Atkins, S. 2002. Bilingual Dictionaries: Past, Present and Future. Correard, M.-H. (Ed.). 2002. Lexi-
cography and Natural Language Processing. A Festschrift in Honour of B.T.S Atkins. Stuttgart:
EURALEX.
Bergenholtz, H. and S. Tarp (Eds.). 1995. Manual of Specialised Lexicography: The Preparation of Spe-
cialised Dictionaries. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
Bergenholtz, H. and S. Tarp. 2003. Two Opposing Theories: On H.E. Wiegand's Recent Discovery
of Lexicographic Functions. Hermes, Journal of Linguistics 31: 171-196.
Beukes, A.-M. 1996. Preface. Lexicography as a Financial Asset in Multilingual South Africa: 97-110.
Pretoria: Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology.
De Schryver, G.-M. 2009. Lexikos at Eighteen: An Analysis. Lexikos 19: 372-403.
De Schryver, G.-M. et al. (Eds.). 2008. Oxford Bilingual School Dictionary: Northern Sotho and Eng-
lish / Pukuntšu ya Polopedi ya Sekolo: Sesotho sa Leboa le Seisimane. Cape Town: Oxford.
De Schryver, M.-G. et al. (Eds.). 2010. Oxford Bilingual School Dictionary: Zulu and English / Isicha-
zamazwi Sesikole Esinezilimi Ezimbili: Isizulu NesiNgisi. Cape Town: Oxford.
Golele, N.C.P. 2005. Dikixinari ya Xitsonga / English Dictionary. Cape Town: Pumelela.
Gouws, R.H. 1996. A Sequence for Meeting Lexicographic Needs. Lexicography as a Financial Asset
in Multilingual South Africa: 97-110. Pretoria: Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Tech-
nology.
324 Mbulungeni Madiba and Dion Nkomo
Gouws, R.H. 2001. Lexicographic Training. Approaches and Topics. Emejulu, J.D. (Ed.). 2001. Élé-
ments de lexicographie gabonaise. Tome I: 58-94. New York: Jimacs-Hillman.
Gouws, R.H. 2003. Towards the Formulation of a Theoretically Motivated Model for the National
Lexicography Units in South Africa. Hartmann, R.R.K. (Ed.). 2003. Lexicography: Critical Con-
cepts: 218-246. London/New York: Routledge.
Gouws, R.H. 2004. Outer Texts in Bilingual Dictionaries. Lexikos 14: 67-88.
Gouws, R.H. and D.J. Prinsloo. 2005. Principles and Practice of South African Lexicography. Stellen-
bosch: SUN PReSS.
Hartmann, R.R.K. and G. James. 1998. Dictionary of Lexicography. London/New York: Routledge.
Kumalo, M.B. 1999. The National Lexicography Units — Existing and Prospective. Lexikos 9: 211-
216.
Landau, S.I. 2001. Dictionaries. The Art and Craft of Lexicography. Second Edition. New York/Cam-
bridge: Cambridge University Press.
Madiba, M. 2002. Lexicography Planning in a Post-Apartheid South Africa: What Government Has to Do
with it. Paper presented at 'A Gathering of Dictionaries' seminar, organised by the Dictionary
Research Centre at the University of Birmingham, 10 May 2002.
Mafela, M.J. 2005. Meaning Discrimination in Bilingual Venda Dictionaries. Lexikos 15: 276-285.
Mafela, M.J. 2008. L.T. Marole: A Forgotten Pioneer in Tshivenda Lexicography. Lexikos 18: 366-
373.
Mahlangu, K.S. (Ed.). 2006. IsiNdebele/English Isihlathululi-magama Dictionary. Cape Town: Pume-
lela.
Marole, L.T. 1932. Phrase Book for English and Venda. Sibasa: Marole Book Depot.
Marole, L.T. 1955. Afrikaans–Venda: Vocabulary and Phrase Book. Sibasa: Marole Book Depot.
Marole, L.T. 1955a. Phindulano: English–Venda Phrase Book. Sibasa: Marole Book Depot.
Marole, L.T. and F.J. de Gama. 1936. English–Tshivenda Vocabulary. Sibasa: Marole Book Depot.
Marole, L.T. and F.J. de Gama. 1954. English–Venda Vocabulary. Third edition. Sibasa: Marole Book
Depot.
Mawela, A. 1999. The State of Tshivenda Lexicography. Lexikos 9: 251-254.
McCallum, K. 1996. Oxford University Press. Lexicography as a Financial Asset in Multilingual South
Africa: 121-126. Pretoria: Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology.
Mojela, V. (Ed). 2006. Sesotho sa Leboa / English Pukuntšu Dictionary. Cape Town: Pumelela.
Mongwe, M.J. 2006. The Role of the South African National Lexicography Units in the Planning and Com-
pilation of Multifunctional Bilingual Dictionaries. Unpublished M.Phil. Thesis. Stellenbosch:
Stellenbosch University.
Murphy, M.L. 1997. Venda: CBOLD [online]. http://www.cbold.ddl.ishlyon.cnrs.fr/CBOLD Lexi-
cons/Venda.Murphy1997. [Accessed 11 January 2010.]
Tarp, S. 2008. Lexicography in the Borderland between Knowledge and Non-knowledge. General Lexico-
graphical Theory with Particular Focus on Learner's Lexicography. Lexicographica. Series Maior
134. Tübingen: Max Niemeyer.
Tshikota, S. (Ed.-in-chief). 2006. Tshivenda–English thalusamaipfi ya u talutshedza ya nyambombili/
English–Tshivenda Bilingual and Explanatory Dictionary. Cape Town: Pumelela.
Van Warmelo, N.J. 1937. Tshivenda–English Dictionary. Department of Native Affairs. Ethnological
Publications Vol. VI. Pretoria: Government Printer.
The Tshivenda–English Thalusamaipfi/Dictionary as a Product of Lexicographic Processes 325
Van Warmelo, N.J. 1958. Teo dza Tshivenda: Venda TerminologieVenda Terms. Coined for use in
schools by the Venda Language Committee. Department of Native Affairs. Ethnological
Series No. 39. Pretoria: Government Printer.
Van Warmelo, N.J. 1989. Venda Dictionary: Tshivenda–English. Pretoria: J.L. van Schaik.
Wentzel, P.J. and T.W. Muloiwa. 1976. Drietalige Elementêre Woordeboek/Trilingual Elementary Dic-
tionary: Venda–Afrikaans–English. Documenta No. 16. Pretoria: University of South Africa.
Wentzel, P.J. and T.W. Muloiwa. 1982. Thalusamaipfi ya nyambotharu yo khwiniswaho: Luvenda–
Luvhuru–Luisimane/Verbeterde drietalige woordeboek: Venda–Afrikaans–Engels/Improved Trilin-
gual Dictionary: Venda–Afrikaans–English. Pretoria: University of South Africa.
Wiegand, H.E. 1984. On the Structure and Contents of a General Theory of Lexicography. Hart-
mann, R.R.K (Ed.). 1984. LEXeter '83 Proceedings. Papers from the International Conference on
Lexicography at Exeter, 9–12 September 1983: 13-30. Lexicographica. Series Maior 1. Tübingen:
Max Niemeyer.
Yong, H. and J. Peng. 2007. Bilingual Lexicography from a Communicative Perspective. Terminology
and Lexicography Research and Practice 9. Amsterdam/Philadelphia: John Benjamins.
... Stellenbosch University and the University of Pretoria had already offered lexicography from Honours up to PhD for about 10 years. In a general way, the introduction of lexicography courses and programmes was a response to the need for academic guidance in the establishment and institutionalisation of the NLUs, as well as the activities of the NLUs in executing their mandate of producing dictionaries, which were identified as a necessary activity in the implementation process of the country"s multilingual policy (Alberts, 2011;Gouws, 2003;Madiba & Nkomo, 2010;Nkomo & Wababa, 2013). However, the form and extent of such curriculum responsiveness can be better understood through a closer look at how the courses were designed and how teaching and learning is being conducted through the implementation of curricula plans. ...
Article
Full-text available
Following South Africa’s democratic constitution, lexicography was identified as an important practice that would play an enormous role in the implementation of the country’s multilingual language policy. National Lexicography Units (NLUs) were established for each of the eleven official languages, including reconstituting the dictionary projects that existed for languages such as Afrikaans, English and isiXhosa. This consolidated the position of lexicography as an academic area of study at a number of South African universities. The African Language Studies Section of the School of Languages at Rhodes University introduced lexicography at Honours level in 2010. The present article reflects on the curriculum development processes associated with the teaching of lexicography at this particular university. It demonstrates how the knowledge that constitutes lexicography is pedagogised to develop courses that respond to the South African context.
Article
p class="AP">The lexicons of natural languages are not isomorphic. Reasons for the anisomorphism can be sought on three interrelated planes: language structure, extralinguistic reality, and conceptualisation. Simply put, the relevant differences may reside in the language, the world, the mind, or any combination of these. As a result, what goes under the name of lexicographic equivalence is a rather heterogeneous category. Growing awareness of this fact has resulted over the years in the creation of several tentative typologies of equivalence, one of which is presented below, together with a brief discussion of some strategies for dealing with imperfect equivalence. The remaining part of the article comprises a detailed analysis of a single problem encountered while preparing a new edition of a bilingual dictionary for Polish learners of English. The task at hand involved choosing a viable counterpart for a (Polish) semantic neologism from among a few (English) equivalence candidates. In the discussion, reference is made both to the metalexicographic categories introduced earlier and to such concepts developed by lexical (especially cognitive) semantics which may prove helpful in capturing the meaning differences between the source-language item and its competing target-language renditions. This micro-scale dissection of a single specimen demonstrates that we are still some way from being able to classify, let alone deal with, all the instances of imperfect interlingual correspondence that come our way. Persisting in the efforts to advance our understanding of the complex issues covered by the blanket term lexicographic equivalence thus seems crucial for improving the treatment of meaning in bilingual dictionaries. Die leksikons van natuurlike tale is nie isomorf nie. Redes vir die gebrek aan isomorfie kom op drie onderling verwante vlakke voor: taalstruktuur, die buitetalige realiteit, en konseptualisasie. Anders gestel kan die tersaaklike verskille in die taal, die wêreld, die verstand, of enige kombinasie hiervan aangetref word. Gevolglik is dit wat as leksikografiese ekwivalensie bekend staan 'n nogal heterogene kategorie. 'n Groeiende bewuswording van hierdie feit het oor die jare daartoe gelei dat verskeie tentatiewe tipologieë van ekwivalensie geskep is, waarvan een hieronder aangebied word, saam met 'n kort bespreking van sommige strategieë om onvolledige ekwivalensie te hanteer. Die oorblywende deel van die artikel bevat 'n uitvoerige ontleding van 'n enkele probleem wat teëgekom is toe 'n nuwe uitgawe van 'n tweetalige woordeboek vir Poolse aanleerders van Engels saamgestel is. Die betrokke taak het behels dat 'n lewensvatbare teenhanger vir 'n (Poolse) semantiese neologisme uit 'n paar ekwivalente (Engelse) alternatiewe gekies word. In die bespreking word verwys na sowel die metaleksikografiese kategorieë wat vroeër geopper is, as na konsepte in die leksikale (veral die kognitiewe) semantiek wat sou kon help om die betekenisverskil tussen die brontaalitem en sy kompeterende doeltaalvertalings vas te vang. Hierdie ontleding van 'n enkele voorbeeld op mikroskaal demonstreer dat ons nog ver daarvan is om al die gevalle van onvolledige intertalige ooreenstemming wat ons teëkom te kan klassifiseer, wat nog te sê van te hanteer. Om vol te hou met ons pogings om die komplekse vraagstukke te verstaan wat deur die oorkoepelende term leksikografiese ekwivalensie gedek word, is dit dus uiters belangrik om die hantering van betekenis in tweetalige woordeboeke te verbeter.
Article
Full-text available
In the history of lexicography, a lot has been said about dictionary users and their needs. This paper will focus on two theories that both share the postulate that dictionaries are tools made by human beings in order to solve specific problems. The first theory is developed by the German scholar H.E. Wiegand and it will be argued that his theory about dictionary use should be considered a linguistic reconstruction of information items in existing dictionaries. The other theory is the modern theory of lexicographic functions that takes all the theoretical and practical consequences of the basic postulate that dictionaries are utility products.
Article
Dictionaries often display a central list bias with little or no attention to the use of outer texts. This article focuses on dictionaries as text compounds and carriers of different text types. Utilising either a partial or a complete frame structure, a variety of outer text types can be used to enhance the data distribution structure of a dictionary and to ensure a better information retrieval by the intended target user. A distinction is made between primary frame structures and secondary frame structures and attention is drawn to the use of complex outer texts and the need of an extended complex outer text with its own table of contents to guide the user to the relevant texts in the complex outer text. It is emphasised that outer texts need to be planned in a meticulous way and that they should participate in the lexicographic functions of the specific dictionary, both knowledge-orientated and communication-orientated functions, to ensure a transtextual functional approach. Keywords: back matter, central list, communication-orientated functions, complex text, cultural data, extended complex text, extended texts, front matter, frame structure, knowledge-orientated functions, lexicographic functions, outer texts, primary frame, secondary frame
Article
: L.T. Marole is a pioneer in Tshiven ḓ a lexicography. He is especially known for the compilation of word lists and phrase books. Through his production of these lexicographic works, Marole has preserved some Tshiven ḓ a terminology which is now regarded as obsolete; for example, terminology regarding names of animals, parts of the body, kinship relations and sicknesses. This type of terminology could be useful to the present younger generation. Readers may learn much about Tshiven ḓ a culture from Marole's works. However, his works have not received recognition from Vhaven ḓ a dictionary users and compilers. The public is largely unaware of his works. This article aims at making the public aware of Marole's contribution to the development of Tshiven ḓ a lexicography, emphasising that this contribution should not be ignored as being insignificant. Keywords: LEXICOGRAPHY, TRANSLATING DICTIONARY, BILINGUAL DICTIONARY,LINGUISTICS, TERMINOLOGY, LEXICAL ENTRY, EQUIVALENT, TRANSLATOR, CULTURE,KINSHIP TERMS, ORTHOGRAPHY, CONTEXT, DATABASE, DIALECT Opsomming: L.T. Marole: 'n Vergete pionier in Tshiven ḓ aleksikografie.L.T. Marole is 'n baanbreker op die gebied van Tshiven ḓ aleksikografie. Hy is veral bekend vir diesamestelling van woordelyste en taalgidse. Deur sy produksie van hierdie leksikografiese werke,het Marole sekere Tshiven ḓ aterme wat nou as verouderd beskou word, bewaar; byvoorbeeld, terminologiebetreffende die name van diere, liggaamsdele, verwantskapsbetrekkinge en siektes.Hierdie soort terminologie sou nuttig kon wees vir die huidige jonger geslag. Lesers kan baieomtrent die Tshiven ḓ akultuur uit Marole se werke leer. Sy werke het egter nie erkenning gekry vanVhaven ḓ awoordeboekgebruikers en -samestellers nie. Die publiek is grootliks onbewus van sywerke. Hierdie artikel beoog om die publiek bewus te maak van Marole se bydrae tot die ontwikkelingvan Tshiven ḓ aleksikografie deur te beklemtoon dat hierdie bydrae nie as onbelangrikgeignoreer behoort te word nie. Sleutelwoorde: LEKSIKOGRAFIE, VERTALENDE WOORDEBOEK, TWEETALIGEWOORDEBOEK, LINGUISTIEK, TERMINOLOGIE, LEKSIKALE INSKRYWING, EKWIVALENT,VERTALER, KULTUUR, VERWANTSKAPSTERME, ORTOGRAFIE, KONTEKS, DATABASIS,DIALEK
Article
p>This paper deals with the importance of a business plan when planning a lexicographical project. A business plan is an aspect of a lexicographical process most lexicographers would like to ignore. It is, however, an important step towards the establishment of a dictionary project. The compilation of a dictionary is a time-consuming process and a costly business, and proper planning is of the utmost importance, whether a dictionary project is undertaken by an individual or by a team of lexicographers. Therefore a business plan is the ideal tool for proper planning before embarking on a lexicographical project. It also gives stakeholders an indication of the scope of the envisaged lexicographical project. Financiers require a business plan to authorise the financing of a project, and this also applies to a lexicographical project. This paper deals with the importance of and reasons for a business plan. It also covers aspects such as drawing up a business plan as well as its contextual requirements. Keywords: action plan; business plan; collaborators; critical success factor; empirical survey; end user; financier; goal; human resources; key service; key uncertainty; knowledge transfer; lexicographical practice; lexicography unit; mission; needs assessment; objective; opportunity; organisational structure; risk; situation analysis; stakeholder; strategy; vision Hierdie artikel handel oor die belangrikheid van 'n sakeplan by die beplanning van 'n leksikografieprojek. 'n Sakeplan is 'n aspek van die leksikografieproses wat liefs deur die meeste leksikograwe geïgnoreer sou wou word. Dit is egter 'n belangrike stap in die totstandbrenging van 'n leksikografieprojek. Die saamstel van 'n woordeboek is 'n tydrowende proses en duur saak en behoorlike beplanning is van die uiterste belang of die woordeboekprojek deur 'n individu of deur 'n span leksikograwe aangepak word. Derhalwe is 'n sakeplan 'n uitstekende hulpmiddel om behoorlike beplanning te doen voordat daar met 'n leksikografieprojek begin word. Dit gee aan belanghebbendes 'n aanduiding van die omvang van die beoogde leksikografiese projek. Finansiers vereis 'n sakeplan om die finansiering van 'n projek goed te keur en dit geld ook vir 'n leksikografieprojek. Hierdie artikel handel oor die waarde van en rede vir 'n sakeplan. Dit dek ook aspekte soos die opstel van 'n sakeplan, sowel as die inhoudelike vereistes daarvan. Sleutelwoorde: aksieplan; behoeftebepaling; belanghebbende; doel; doelwit; eindgebruiker; empiriese ondersoek; finansier; geleentheid; inligtingoordrag; kritieke suksesfaktor; leksikografie-eenheid; leksikografiepraktyk; medewerkers; menslike hulpbron; missie; organisasiestruktuur; risiko; sakeplan; situasieanalise; sleuteldiens; sleutelveranderlike; strategie; visie </p