Linguistic Variation in Shona with Special Reference to Monolingual Dictionaries*

Emmanuel Chabata,

Abstract


Abstract: 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 confronted 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 a 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 Afri-can Languages Lexical (ALLEX) Project, at present the African Languages Research Institute (ALRI). The ALRI, accommodated at the University of Zimbabwe, has the compilation of monolin-gual dictionaries for the indigenous languages of Zimbabwe as one of its major objectives. Al-though illustrative examples are drawn from Shona alone, it is, however, believed that the prob-lems highlighted in this article may not be peculiar to Shona, but can also apply to other Bantu and world languages.

Keywords: ALLEX PROJECT, ALRI, CORPUS, DIALECT, MONOLINGUAL LEXICOGRA-PHY, SHONA, SUBDIALECT, SYNONYM, TONE, VARIANT, VARIATION

Opsomming: Linguistiese variasie in Sjona met spesiale verwysing na een-talige woordeboeke. Hierdie artikel konsentreer op die probleme waarvoor leksikograwe van eentalige woordeboeke te staan kom wanneer hulle te doen kry met 'n taal gekenmerk deur verskille wat verband hou met geografiese variasie. Die artikel wil veral probleme ondersoek waar-mee Sjonaleksikograwe te doen kry wanneer hulle aan eentalige Sjonawoordeboeke werk. Dit word gedoen deur na 'n aantal leksikografiese aspekte soos toonaanduiding, betekenisordening en die behandeling van sinonieme en variante te kyk. Linguistiese variasie was nog altyd 'n probleem vir die skrywers van naslaanwerke, veral dié wat normatief van aard en funksie is. Die uitdaging is dié van verteenwoordigendheid, dit wil sê die totstandbrenging van 'n werk wat al die inligting bevat wat dit veronderstel is om te verskaf. As die werk in gebreke bly om die taal van die hele bevolking te verteenwoordig wat dit aangeneem word om te dek, dan is dit vatbaar vir kritiek, gewoonlik deur diegene wie se dialek nie goed verteenwoordig is nie. Die artikel bevat die skrywer se ervaring in die African Languages Lexical (ALLEX) Project, tans die African Languages Research Institute (ALRI). Die ALRI, gehuisves by die Universiteit van Zimbabwe, het as een van sy belang-rikste doelwitte die samestelling van eentalige woordeboeke vir die inheemse tale van Zimbabwe. Alhoewel verduidelikende voorbeelde slegs aan Sjona ontleen word, word daar egter geglo dat die probleme wat in hierdie artikel na vore gebring word, nie net eie is aan Sjona nie, maar ook geldig is vir ander Bantoe- en wêreldtale.

Sleutelwoorde: ALLEX PROJECT, ALRI, KORPUS, DIALEK, EENTALIGE LEKSIKOGRA-FIE, SJONA, SUBDIALEK, SINONIEM, TOON, VARIANT, VARIASIE


Keywords


ALLEX PROJECT; ALRI; CORPUS; DIALECT; MONOLINGUAL LEXICOGRA-PHY; SHONA; SUBDIALECT; SYNONYM; TONE; VARIANT; VARIATION

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5788/13-0-723

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

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