The utilisation of outer texts in the practical lexicography of African languages

Chabata, Emmanuel ; Nkomo, Dion (2011)

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CITATION: Chabata, E. & Nkomo, D. 2010. The utilisation of outer texts in the practical lexicography of African languages. Lexikos, 20:73-91, doi:10.5788/20-0-133.


In this article, an analysis of the utilisation of outer texts in recently compiled dictionaries of African languages is presented. The analysis is undertaken in the context of an upsurge of the compilation of dictionaries in the African languages. It is undertaken with a view to do a qualitative evaluation of the many new dictionaries of African languages that have come on the market in recent years. The point of departure is that prior to the recent lexicographic developments, the then available dictionaries were compiled in the context of the limited role the African languages played. It has been found that most of those dictionaries are limited in scope, perspective and function and hence less effective now that the languages are being assigned a greater social role. The evaluation of outer texts in modern dictionaries is therefore a way of measuring the extent to which lexicographic practice in the African languages is applying theoretical developments to produce better dictionaries.

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