Reflections on the Proposed Ndebele-Shona/Shona-Ndebele Dictionary
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Abstract: The master plan of the ALLEX Project includes a Ndebele–Shona dictionary in its proposed dictionary projects. Bilingual dictionaries are common in Zimbabwe, especially earlier ones with the language pairs English–Ndebele/Shona and vice versa. The proposed Ndebele–Shona dictionary, however, raises some interesting challenges. It will be a different kind of bilingual dictionary in which English is not one of the languages, but two African languages, Ndebele and Shona form the language pair. In this article, it will be shown how different dictionary types for both Ndebele and Shona reflect the intentions of Zimbabwean language planners from different periods. A Ndebele–Shona dictionary, unimaginable to many, raises several questions, among others: Who needs such a dictionary? Who are the target users of such a dictionary? In addressing some of these questions, it will be attempted to show how the proposed Ndebele–Shona dictionary reflects the language planning needs of present-day Zimbabwe.
This article was presented as a paper at the Eighth International Conference of the African Association for Lexicography, organised by the Department of Germanic and Romance Languages, University of Namibia, Windhoek, Namibia, 7–9 July 2003.