Lexical Entries and the Component of Pronunciation in Tshivenḓa Bilingual Dictionaries

By November 17, 2016,
AuthorMunzhedzi James Mafela
TitleLexical Entries and the Component of Pronunciation in Tshivenḓa Bilingual Dictionaries
AbstractLexical Entries and the Component of Pronunciation in Tshivenḓa Bilingual Dictionaries Pronunciation is defined by Allen (1990) as the way in which a word is pronounced, especially, with reference to a standard. It involves a set of symbols, each of which always represents the same sound. Languages pronounce orthographic symbols differently. In some languages, orthographic symbols written identically are pronounced differently. Tshivenḓa is characterized by orthographic symbols which are written identically, but can be pronounced differently. These are orthographic symbols such as tsh, ts, tsw and pf. The same orthographic symbol can be pronounced as an aspirated sound or ejected sound. For example, the orthographic symbol ts can be pronounced as [ts'] in tsika (to press down) or [tsh] in tsimbi (metal). Poulos (1990) says that the actual pronunciation is determined by the words in which the orthographic symbols are used. Definitions of headwords in a dictionary consist of many components, for example word category, morphology, pronunciation, etymology, meaning and illustrative examples. The pronunciation element becomes a necessity for bilingual dictionaries because the addressees of these dictionaries may be learners of a foreign language. “Pronunciation is, after all, the integral part of the lexical item”, as Sobkowiak put it in 2003. Giving the meanings of words is often thought to be the main purpose of a dictionary. It should be also noticed, however, that “the dictionary also contains other areas of information useful to the user” (Underhill 1980). Knowledge about pronunciation helps in checking any spelling the user is not sure of. Almost all Tshivenḓa dictionaries are bilingual and are therefore learner's dictionaries. The compilers of the dictionaries did not include the component of pronunciation in the definition of lexical items. Therefore, learners of Tshivenḓa find it difficult to pronounce orthographic symbols which denote more than one phonetic sound. This presentation seeks to highlight the lack of pronunciation component in Tshivenḓa bilingual dictionaries and its effects on learners of the language. Three Tshivenḓa bilingual dictionaries will be used to illustrate some points in this regard.
Session4. Bilingual Lexicography
author = {Munzhedzi James Mafela},
title = {Lexical Entries and the Component of Pronunciation in Tshivenḓa Bilingual Dictionaries},
pages = {887-894},
booktitle = {Proceedings of the 13th EURALEX International Congress},
year = {2008},
month = {jul},
date = {15-19},
address = {Barcelona, Spain},
editor = {Elisenda Bernal, Janet DeCesaris},
publisher = {Institut Universitari de Linguistica Aplicada, Universitat Pompeu Fabra},
isbn = {978-84-96742-67-3},