Towards a theoretical model for LSP lexicography in Ndebele with special reference to a dictionary of linguistic and literary terms

Nkomo, Dion (2008-12)

Thesis (MPhil (Afrikaans and Dutch))—Stellenbosch University, 2008.


This thesis discusses pertinent issues which should be taken into account in the production of LSP dictionaries in Ndebele. Special reference is made to a prospective Ndebele Linguistic and Literary Terms Dictionary, henceforth the NLLTD. The issues discussed include lexicographic planning, data collection, data processing, lemma selection, the provision of data categories and the utilisation of dictionary structures. The thesis demonstrates and emphasises the need for theoretical guidance in the execution of all lexicographic tasks. Two main theories are used to formulate a theoretical framework for this study. A general theory of lexicography developed by Herbert Ernst Wiegand is used to affirm the status of lexicography as separate from linguistics and other fields from which it draws theoretical and methodological insights. Lexicography is, according to Wiegand (1984), a scientific field concerned with the production of reference works on language. As a typical reference product, a dictionary is regarded as a utility tool with a genuine purpose. These two postulates of the general theory of lexicography enable lexicographers to carry out their tasks in a systematic and efficient way. The postulates are emphasised in the theory of lexicographic functions, which was developed by Danish lexicographers of the Aarhus School of Business, mainly under the direction of Henning Bergenholtz and Sven Tarp. Because of this, the theories are employed in a complementary way. Since lexicography is regarded by these theories as a separate discipline, it follows that the production of user-friendly dictionaries may not be guided exclusively by linguistic theories or other theories developed in disciplines with which lexicography comes into contact. It is important to reiterate this regarding terminological theories and special subject field theories in the case of LSP lexicography. The theory of lexicographic functions requires lexicographers to identify the target users of their dictionaries, and the situations in which the users may experience problems that may be addressed by means of lexicographic data. It determines dictionary typological choices, lemma selection policies, the provision of lexicographic data for individual lemmata, and the planning and utilisation of dictionary structures in a user-friendly way. The main motivation for the complementary use of the general theory of lexicography and the theory of lexicographic functions in this thesis was to ensure that efficiency is achieved on the part of the lexicographer carrying out his/her various lexicographic tasks and also on the part of the user consulting the final product. Although this is demonstrated in the thesis using the prospective NLLTD, the criticism of some published dictionaries indicates that their quality could have been improved if their production occurred under such a strong theoretical guidance. An attempt is also made to show that similar theoretical applications are definitely required in the production of LSP dictionaries other than the NLLTD in Ndebele and other languages.

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