Developing a Campus Slang Dictionary for the University of Botswana

Thapelo J. Otlogetswe, Goabilwe Ramaeba


This paper focuses on the study of slang on a university campus for a lexicographic project. The research was conducted at the University of Botswana, a campus comprising circa 16,000 students, most of whom are bilingual in Setswana and English, and a small population of foreign students. Very few studies and documentations of slang have been attempted in an African context (cf. Alimi and Arua 2008; Arua and Alimi 2009), in particular for lexicographic purposes. It is therefore hoped that this study will contribute to filling this paucity of literature. In general, university campuses are rich in slang since they consist of a closed group of persons. Slang is the use of informal words and expressions that are not considered standard in the speaker's language or dialect. It is not just informal but it is also considered a lower register of the standard language, therefore disapproved of by users of standard language. In addition to being common within a specific group, in this case a student group, slang is also general within an ingroup such as a gang or a clique. Because of it being proscribed, slang is usually absent from many African language dictionaries which are largely prescriptive in their documentation of the language (Otlogetswe 2006). In this paper, the design of a dictionary of campus slang is proposed that would capture the wealth of the slang of a linguistic community. The data used for the proposed dictionary was collected on the University of Botswana campus.


slang, setswana, campus, lexicography, dictionaries, jargon

Full Text:




  • There are currently no refbacks.

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

Creative Commons License CC BY 4.0

Powered by OJS and hosted by Stellenbosch University Library and Information Service since 2011.


This journal is hosted by the SU LIS on request of the journal owner/editor. The SU LIS takes no responsibility for the content published within this journal, and disclaim all liability arising out of the use of or inability to use the information contained herein. We assume no responsibility, and shall not be liable for any breaches of agreement with other publishers/hosts.

SUNJournals Help