Original Articles

Beyond meaning in dictionaries: Teaching Ndebele grammar using Isichazamazwi SesiNdebele

Published in: South African Journal of African Languages
Volume 29, issue 1, 2009, pages: 30–42
DOI: 10.1080/02572117.2009.10587315
Author(s): Dion NkomoDepartment of Afrikaans and Dutch,


This article calls for a user-oriented approach in the provision of lexicographic information in dictionaries and the need for such an approach to be complemented by the optimum utilization of dictionaries. The point of departure is arguably going beyond meaning information on both ends of a lexicographic plane, namely lexicographers and dictionary users. More emphasis is usually given to meaning at the neglect of the importance of other information types. The focus of this article is on the provision of grammatical information in dictionaries. The author argues that the provision of grammatical information in Isichazamazwi SesiNdebele, a monolingual general-purpose dictionary, was a well-advised lexicographic procedure on the part of its editors. There being no comprehensive grammar textbook in Ndebele, the dictionary may be used in the grammatical studies of the language. However, it cannot be used, let alone criticized, as if it were a textbook of Ndebele grammar.

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