Linguistic Variation in Shona with Special Reference to Monolingual Dictionaries
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This article focuses on the problems lexicographers of monolingual dictionaries face when dealing with a language characterised by differences associated with geographical variation. The article specifically seeks to explore problems with which Shona lexicographers are confranted when working on monolingual shona dictionaries. It does so by looking at some lexicographic aspects such as tone marking, sense ordering and treatment of synonyms and variants. Linguistic variation has always been a problem for writers of reference works, especially those normative in nature and function. The challenge is that of representativeness, that is, the production of the work which incorporates all the information it is supposed to provide. If the work fails to represent the language of the total population it is assumed to cover, then it is prone to criticism, usually by those whose dialect is not well represented. The article contains the writer's experience in the Afircan Languages Lexical (ALLEX) Project, at present the African Languages Research Institute (ALRI). The ALRI, accommodated at the University of Zimbabwe, has compilation of monolingual dictionaries for the indigenous languages of Zimbabwe as one of its major objectives. Although illustrative examples are drawn from Shona alone, it is, however, believed that the problems highlighted in this article may not be perculiar to Shona, but can also apply to other Bantu and world languages.
Additional Citation InformationChabata, Emmanuel."Linguistic Variation in Shona with Special Reference to Monolingual Dictionaries." Lexikos 13 (AFRILEX-reeks/series 13:2003):1-11
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