Orature and Morpholexical Deconstruction as Lexicographic Archaeological Sites: Some Implications for Dictionaries of African Languages1

Francis Matambirofa

Abstract


Abstract: This article takes a multidisciplinary approach to African lexicographic practice. It has as its primary premise the assumption that without words there can be no dictionaries to compile and discuss. Owing to this fact, the article focuses on a specific strategy for collecting words which belong in a special category of their own, namely archaic or obsolete words. Such words are important because of the need to mark them as such in any general purpose dictionary. Most, if not all dictionaries of African languages seem not to have this category, giving the misleading impression that there are no such words in African languages. Apart from digging up archaic or what we have also referred to as artefact words, the article also argues that the words have a substantial and intrinsic etymological value. Thus they can be used in specialised etymological dictionaries of African languages or even in standard general dictionaries. The multidisciplinary aspect resides in the methodology proposed for the recovery of archaic words. It is considered necessary that disciplines such as oral literature, oral history, historical linguistics and to a limited extent theoretical linguistics and computational linguistics, and, symbolically, archaeology and lexicography itself, be brought to bear on the subject of inquiry. The article is also an attempt at working out a method which African lexicographers can employ as an instrument to dig up artefact words for etymological and other such purposes. Hopefully the method can be refined further.

Keywords: ORATURE, MORPHOLEXICAL, DECONSTRUCTION, RECONSTRUCTION, ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES, LEXICOGRAPHY, AFRICAN LANGUAGES, DICTIONARIES, DIACHRONIC, SYNCHRONIC, HISTORICAL LINGUISTICS, PROVERBS, RIDDLES, IDIOMS, ORAL TRADITIONS, MNEMONIC, ETYMOLOGY, ARCHAIC, SHONA, DEVERBATIVE NOUNS, VERB ROOT, SEMANTIC, ARTEFACT WORDS

Opsomming: Mondelinge literatuur en morfoleksikale dekonstruksie as leksikografiese argeologiese terreine: 'n Aantal implikasies vir woordeboeke van Afrikatale. Hierdie artikel het 'n multidissiplin?re benadering tot die leksikografiese praktyk in Afrikatale. Dit het as prim?re uitgangspunt die veronderstelling dat dit sonder woorde onmoontlik is om woordeboeke op te stel en te bespreek. Op grond van hierdie feit fokus die artikel op 'n spesifieke strategie vir die versameling van woorde wat tot 'n kategorie van hul eie behoort, naamlik arga?ese of verouderde woorde. Sulke woorde is belangrik vanwe? die noodsaaklikheid om hulle as sulks te merk in enige woordeboek vir algemene gebruik. Die meeste, indien nie alle woordeboeke van Afrikatale nie skyn nie hierdie kategorie te h? nie, wat die misleidende indruk wek dat daar nie sulke woorde in Afrikatale is nie. Behalwe om arga?ese, of waarna ons ook as artefakwoorde verwys het, op te diep, word daar ook in hierdie artikel geredeneer dat die woorde 'n wesenlike en werklike etimologiese waarde het. Daarom kan hulle in gespesialiseerde etimologiese woordeboeke van Afrikatale of selfs in algemene standaardwoordeboeke gegee word. Die multidissiplin?re aspek l? in die voorgestelde metodologie vir die terugvind van arga?ese woorde. Dit word as noodsaaklik beskou dat vakgebiede soos mondelinge literatuur, mondelinge geskiedenis, historiese linguistiek, in 'n beperkte mate teoretiese linguistiek en rekenaarlinguistiek, en, simbolies, argeologie en leksikografie self, aangewend word by die onderwerp van ondersoek. Hierdie artikel is ook 'n poging om 'n metode uit te werk wat leksikograwe van Afrikatale as 'n instrument kan gebruik om artefakwoorde op te diep vir etimologiese en ander doeleindes. Hopelik kan die metode verder verfyn word.

Sleutelwoorde: MONDELINGE LITERATUUR, MORFOLEKSIKAAL, DEKONSTRUKSIE, ARGEOLOGIESE TERREINE, LEKSIKOGRAFIE, AFRIKATALE, WOORDEBOEKE, DIACHRONIES, SINCHRONIES, HISTORIESE LINGUISTIEK, SPREEKWOORDE, RAAISELS, IDIOME, MONDELINGE TRADISIES, MNEMONIESE WOORDE, ETIMOLOGIE, ARGA?ES, SJONA, DEVERBATIEWE SUBSTANTIEWE, WERKWOORDELIKE STAM, SEMANTIES, ARTEFAKWOORDE


Keywords


ORATURE; MORPHOLEXICAL; DECONSTRUCTION; RECONSTRUCTION; ARCHAEOLOGICAL SITES; LEXICOGRAPHY; AFRICAN LANGUAGES; DICTIONARIES; DIACHRONIC; SYNCHRONIC; HISTORICAL LINGUISTICS; PROVERBS; RIDDLES; IDIOMS; ORAL TRADITIONS; MNEMONIC; ETYMOLOGY; ARCHAIC; SHONA; DEVERBATIVE NOUNS; VERB ROOT; SEMANTIC; ARTEFACT WORDS

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5788/11-0-838

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

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