Firming Up the Foundations: Reflections on Verifying the Quotations in a Historical Dictionary, with Reference to A Dictionary of South African English on Historical Principles

Sheila Hicks

Abstract


ABSTRACT: A Dictionary of South African English on Historical Principles (DSAEHist) is rooted in quotation evidence. It contains just over 8 000 South African English entries, with about 45 000 citations to support those words included as headwords in the dictionary. Using the legacy electronic format in which DSAEHist was typeset, the Dictionary Unit for South African English embarked on a digitising process of DSAEHist, during which it became clear that the quotations would benefit from a full review involving the verification of all quotations against their original sources. This article examines the evolution of the quotation verification project from its beginnings as an entirely manual exercise to its current use of software developed for the purpose. Some of the project’s achievements, such as antedatings and primary source identification, are highlighted, and challenges, such as unverifiable quotations and sometimes highly convoluted research paths, are described. In addition to this, the article looks at the necessarily systematic nature of quotation handling and the main types of considerations determining methodology (for example, lexicographic, bibliographic and typographic requirements).

OPSOMMING: Verstewiging van die fondamente: Gedagtes oor die kontrolering van aanhalings in 'n historiese woordeboek, met verwysing na A Dictionary of South African English on Historical Principles. A Dictionary of South African English on Historical Principles (DSAEHist) het ontstaan uit aanhalingsbewysmateriaal. Dit bevat net oor 8 000 inskrywings van Suid-Afrikaanse Engels, met ongeveer 45 000 sitate om daardie woorde te staaf wat as trefwoorde in die woordeboek ingesluit is. Deur die argaïese elektroniese formaat te gebruik waarin die DSAEHist geset is, het die Woordeboekeenheid van Suid-Afrikaanse Engels 'n digitaliseringsproses van die DSAEHist onderneem waartydens die duidelik geword het dat die aanhalings sal baat by 'n volledige hersiening wat die kontrolering van alle aanhalings in hulle oorspronklike bronne behels. Die artikel ondersoek die vordering van die aanhalingskontroleringsprojek vanaf sy begin as 'n algehele handtaak tot sy huidige gebruik van programmatuur wat vir die doel ontwikkel is. 'n Aantal van die projek se suksesse soos vroeëre daterings en primêrebronidentifikasie word uitgelig, en uitdagings soos onkontroleerbare aanhalings en somtyds hoogs verstrengelde navorsingsroetes word beskryf. Hierbenewens kyk die artikel na die noodsaaklik sistematiese aard van aanhalingshantering en die hoofsoorte oorwegings wat metodologie (byvoorbeeld, leksikografiese, bibliografiese en tipografiese vereistes) bepaal.

Sleutelwoorde: WOORDEBOEK, SUID-AFRIKAANSE ENGELS, HISTORIESE BEGINSELS, KONTROLERING, AANHALING, SITAAT, NOUKEURIGHEID


Keywords


DICTIONARY; SOUTH AFRICAN ENGLISH; HISTORICAL PRINCIPLES; VERIFICATION; QUOTATION; CITATION; ACCURACY

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5788/20-0-142

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ISSN 2224-0039 (online); ISSN 1684-4904 (print)

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