n Tydskrif vir Geesteswetenskappe - Enkele minder bekende Afrikaanse woordeboek-monumente

Volume 56 Number 2-1
  • ISSN : 0041-4751



Dictionaries reflect the actual use of a given language, they also contribute to the documentation and eventual standardisation of the language. This applies to dictionaries that have the language for general purposes as its subject matter, but also to dictionaries that focus on different languages for special purposes. The lexicographic practice of Afrikaans displays a comprehensive collection of dictionaries that represent a broad typological spectrum. This collection includes both better and lesser known dictionaries and dictionary types. As a container of knowledge, each dictionary can be regarded as a monument of the language treated in that dictionary. However, many dictionaries do not receive the recognition they deserve as practical language instruments, because their typological category puts them beyond the day to day dictionary experience of the majority of people. This paper pays attention to products from both the lexicographic practice and the field of dictionary research, also known as metalexicography, that have become monuments within the broad field of lexicography. Metalexicographic publications receive only scant attention. The primary discussion is directed at the lexicographic practice, with the main focus on the contribution of a few lesser known Afrikaans dictionaries. In this regard, two major classes are distinguished, i.e. community projects and innovative products. Within the first category, the attention is focused on a dictionary that displays the creativeness of members of the Afrikaans language community in the formation of neologisms. It is shown that although these neologisms may not become part of the standard variety of the language, they do emphasise the creative nature of Afrikaans - and this dictionary gives evidence of this word formation products. A second dictionary in this category represents a product with the genuine purpose to make people aware of a language that is becoming extinct and to reflect something of the people and the culture of this language. This community-driven dictionary has an innovative, genuine purpose, showing how members of the Jul'hoan speech community, as well as people from the English and Afrikaans speech communities, compiled a selection of core vocabulary items from the Jul'hoan lexicon, arranged in thematic categories that reflect important aspects from their daily life. The use of pictorial illustrations as guiding elements of the articles results in an interesting article structure and allows access from picture to word. The members of the speech community were not only involved in the planning and compilation of the dictionary, but their artists created the pictorial illustrations that reflect something of the world view of the community.

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