Kinship terminology in English–Zulu/Northern Sotho dictionaries — a challenge for the Bantu lexicographer

By November 17, 2016,
Page296-303
AuthorDanie J. Prinsloo, Sonja Bosch
TitleKinship terminology in English–Zulu/Northern Sotho dictionaries — a challenge for the Bantu lexicographer
AbstractThe lemmatisation and treatment of kinship terminology in general dictionaries, and in learners’ dictionaries in particular, is an established lexicographic tradition. However, due to the nature and complexity of kinship terminology in certain languages, comprehensive guidance is needed for the correct use of kinship terms especially for text and speech production purposes. In such cases the lexicographer plays an important role as the mediator between a complex kinship terminology system and the target user of the dictionary. The aim of this paper is to suggest strategies for the treatment of kinship terms in paper and electronic dictionaries with English as the source and Zulu/Northern Sotho as the target language. Zulu as well as Northern Sotho belong to the Bantu language family of Africa, and can be regarded as variations of the Iroquois type of kinship terminology system (Murdock 1949), a unilineal descent system which distinguishes between Father’s and Mother’s Kin.
In this paper, we firstly critically compare the kinship terminology structures of English and Zulu/Northern Sotho, and secondly evaluate the treatment (or lack thereof) in Zulu and Northern Sotho dictionaries. Given that in traditional paper dictionaries, it was not possible for lexicographers to do justice textually to the description of complex kinship terms, we suggest an innovative design for an interactive electronic dictionary with English as the source language and Zulu/Northern Sotho as the target that guides the user step-by-step through a sequence of selection processes utilising a decision tree algorithm, to the correct term. Such a design could result in a dynamic as well as a static system. Links to various types of corpora will not only ensure authentic examples, but also collocations and frequency of occurrence.
SessionLexicography and identity, indigenous languages
Keywordslemmatisation, kinship terminology, Zulu, Northern Sotho, decision tree algorithm.
BibTex
@InProceedings{ELX12-013,
author = {Danie J. Prinsloo and Sonja Bosch},
title = {Kinship terminology in English–Zulu/Northern Sotho dictionaries — a challenge for the Bantu lexicographer},
pages = {296--303},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the 15th EURALEX International Congress},
year = {2012},
month = {aug},
date = {7-11},
address = {Oslo,Norway},
editor = {Ruth Vatvedt Fjeld and Julie Matilde Torjusen},
publisher = {Department of Linguistics and Scandinavian Studies, University of Oslo},
isbn = {978-82-303-2228-4},
}
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