South African Journal of African Languages

ISSN: 0257-2117 (Print)
            2305-1159 (Online)
Publication frequency: 3 issues per year

Accredited with the DHET (SAPSE)


Official publication of the African Language Association of Southern AfricaCo-published with RoutledgeClick here for Open Access options on this journal


Aims & Scope

The South African Journal of African Languages is a peer-reviewed research journal devoted to the advancement of African (Bantu) and Khoe-San languages and literatures. Papers, book reviews and polemic contributions of a scientific nature in any of the core areas of linguistics, both theoretical (e.g. syntax, phonology, semantics) and applied (e.g. sociolinguistic topics, language teaching, language policy), and literature, based on original research in the context of the African languages, are welcome. The journal is the official mouthpiece of the African Language Association of Southern Africa (ALASA), established in 1979.



Dr Thulani Mkhize - Department of English Studies, University of KwaZulu-Natal, Pietermaritzburg Campus, South Africa

Assistant Editor

Prof. Gibson Ncube (University of Zimbabwe, Zimbabwe)

Editorial Committee

Dr JC le Roux (UNISA, South Africa)
Dr LP Phaahla (UNISA, South Africa)
Prof. LC Posthumus (University of Johannesburg, South Africa)
Prof. NS Zulu (University of Stellenbosch, South Africa)

Advisory Committee

Prof. Emeritus Ayo Bamgbose (University of Ibadan, Nigeria)
Prof. Herman Batibo (University of Botswana, Botswana)
Prof. Zubeida Desai (University of the Western Cape, South Africa)
Prof. Ruth Finnegan (Open University, UK)
Prof. Axel Fleisch (University of Helsinki, Finland)
Prof. Graham Furniss (University of London, UK)
Prof. Abiola Irele (Kwara State University, Malete, Nigeria)
Prof. Karsten Legère (University of Gothenburg, Sweden)
Prof. Sinfree Makoni (Pennsylvania State University, USA)
Dr Lutz Marten (SOAS University of London, UK)
Prof. Maarten Mous (University of Leiden, The Netherlands)
Prof. Carol Myers-Scotton (Michigan State University, USA)
Prof. Obododimma Oha (University of Ibadan, Nigeria)
Prof. Nicholas Ostler (Foundation for Endangered Languages, UK)


Prof. RN Madadzhe (University of Limpopo, South Africa)
Prof. DBZ Ntuli (formerly from UNISA, South Africa)
Prof. JC Roux (University of Stellenbosch, South Africa)
Prof. SM Serudu (formerly from UNISA, South Africa)

Latest Issue

Volume 40, Issue 1, 2020


Author(s): Inge Kosch
Pages: iii–iv


Kiswahili literature in crisis
Author(s): Rémi Armand TchokotheAfrikanistik II, University of Bayreuth, Germany
Pages: 1–10
‘Let us make Zimbabwe in my own name’: Place naming and Mugabeism in Zimbabwe
Author(s): Zvinashe MamvuraAfrican Languages Research Institute, Zimbabwe
Pages: 32–39
Name as a designate of culture in traditional and contemporary Yorùbá society of Nigeria
Author(s): John Olubunmi FalojuDepartment of European Languages, Nigeria, Opeyemi Yusuf FadairoDepartment of Linguistics, African and Asian Studies, Nigeria
Pages: 40–46
The role of multilingualism in an academic milieu at a selected South African university
Author(s): Morris Thembhani BabaneMER Mathivha Centre for African Languages, Arts and Culture, South Africa, Mzamani Johannes MalulekeDepartment of English, South Africa
Pages: 47–52
The inevitability of linguistic change: The motivation of borrowing English terms by Shona speakers
Author(s): Lettiah GumboMidlands State University, Zimbabwe, Davie E MutasaDepartment of African Languages, South African
Pages: 53–59
Cua language of Botswana: Resilience or a longer road to language loss?
Author(s): Andy ChebanneFaculty of Humanities, Botswana, Mawande DlaliDepartment of African Languages, South Africa
Pages: 68–75
African language use in the digital public sphere: Functionality of the localised Google webpage in Zimbabwe
Author(s): Phillip MpofuIndigenous Language Media in Africa, South Africa, Abiodun SalawuIndigenous Language Media in Africa, South Africa
Pages: 76–84
A copulative decision tree as a writing tool for Sepedi
Author(s): Danie PrinslooDepartment of African Languages, South Africa, Theo BothmaDepartment of Information Science, South Africa
Pages: 85–97
The planning and production of a corpus of Yilumbu: Progress of the building stage
Author(s): Paul A MavoungouDepartment of Language Education, South Africa
Pages: 98–105
Properties of the adjective category in Runyambo
Author(s): Lea MpobelaDepartment of Languages and Linguistics, Tanzania, Amani LusekeloDepartment of Languages and Literature, Tanzania
Pages: 120–129
Spell it the way you like: The inconsistencies that prevail in the spelling of Northern Sotho loanwords
Author(s): Sekgaila ChokoeDepartment of Languages, School of Languages and Communication Studies, South Africa
Pages: 130–138


Instructions for Authors


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Author FAQ


Instructions for Authors

The South African Journal of African Languages (SAJAL) publishes only original articles, book reviews and polemic contributions of a scholarly nature pertaining to African (Bantu) and the Khoe-San languages and literatures.

Contributions may be in any of the 11 official languages of South Africa and should not exceed 7 500 words, although review articles of up to 12 000 words will be considered. Articles in languages other than English must be accompanied by an abstract in English of up to 200 words as well as an extended English summary of 500–1000 words. However, for authors who prefer to translate their entire article into English, we will make the original African language manuscript also available online, as supplementary information, linked to the published English-language version.

Editorial policy: Submission of a manuscript implies that the material has not previously been published, nor is being considered for publication elsewhere. Submission of a manuscript will be taken to imply agreement to assign copyright of the final published material to the publishers, NISC (Pty) Ltd. Contributions are accepted on the understanding that the authors have the authority for publication and all co-authors have approved the publication of the material. In addition, contributions must conform to the principles outlined in Ethical considerations in research publication available for download below.  The journal has a policy of anonymous peer review and all articles will be submitted to at least two referees. The Editor reserves the right to revise the final draft of the manuscript to conform to editorial requirements. Manuscripts that are not properly edited will be returned to the author. 

All articles should be submitted by e-mail as both MS Word and PDF files to the Editor-in-Chief, Doctor Thulani Mkhize, at

Presentation: Manuscripts should be prepared in MS Word. The heading and the texts should be presented in 12-point Arial or Calibri font. The text should use 1.5 line spacing, with no extra line spacing, and should not include text columns, creative formatting or additional fonts. IPA characters should be in the Doulos SIL Unicode font or Charis SIL, which is available for download here. Headings should be formatted in sentence case – primary headings should be presented in bold, secondary headings in bold and italics, and tertiary headings in italics. Avoid footnotes, although endnotes may be used sparingly. The layout should conform to the following sequence: title page with title; author’s name(s); address(es); e-mail address(es); the name and address of the author to whom correspondence should be addressed; and the abstract. The article itself should commence on a new page and pages should be numbered. A recent issue of the Journal should be consulted for typographical conventions.

Title: This should be concise, but sufficiently informative for use in title lists, or in coding for information storage and retrieval. The title should not exceed 12 words.
Author(s): Should an author’s address have changed since the research was carried out, the new address must be given as a footnote.
Abstract: All articles must be accompanied by an abstract of no more than 200 words in the language of the article. Articles in languages other than English must also be accompanied by an English abstract (maximum 200 words). The abstracts should indicate the content of the article factually and concisely and should be suitable for separate publication andadequate for indexing. Avoid including references in the abstract.
References: References in the text should be cited as follows ‘Poulos and Msimang (1998) stated …’ or ‘… (Poulos & Msimang, 1998)’, when giving a reference simply as authority for a statement. In works by more than two authors the surname of the first author must be followed by et al. such as, ‘Prinsloo et al. (2004: 218) cite the following examples ...’ Page references to a book in the text should be given as ‘… (Brown, 1999: 40–51)’ or ‘Poulos and Msimang (1998: 420) suggest…’.

Only those publications referred to or quoted in the text should be included in the list of references. The sources must be presented alphabetically according to the authors’ surnames and chronologically under each author, with a, b, c, etc. when more than one reference per year from the same author(s) is involved, such as, 2005a; 2005b; 2005c. Examples of appropriate presentation style for different reference types are given below.

Book – Poulos G, Msimang CT. 1998. A linguistic analysis of Zulu. Pretoria: Via Afrika.
Chapter in a book – Furman N. 1985. The politics of language: Beyond the gender principle. In: Green G, Kahn C (eds), Making a difference. London: Methuen and Co. pp 59–79.
Journal article – Mulaudzi PA, Poulos G. 2003. The Musanda variety: The language of the ‘ruling community’ among the Venda people. South African Journal of African Languages 23(1): 37–45.
Dissertation/thesis – Roux JC. 1979. Labialization in Sesotho: The role of phonetic data in phonological analyses. PhD thesis. Stellenbosch University, South Africa.
Newspaper article – Smith J. 2000. The Blouberg mountains: Home of the Bahananwa. Pretoria News. 5 May 2000: 34.
Online publication – World Health Organisation. 2003. Fact Sheet No. 134: Traditional medicine. Available at: (revised in May 2003) [Accessed 23 July 2005].
Conference presentation – Mazrui AM. 1998. ‘The English language in the post-Cold War era: Africa in a comparative context.’ Focus address delivered at the 5th Conference of the International Association of World Englishes, University of Illinois: 5–7 November 1998.
Please also consult our guide Reference exemplars for authors available for download below.

Examples: Examples must be numbered consecutively as they appear in the text. The numbers should be parenthesised and placed next to the left-hand margin. Alphabetical numbering may be used in addition, where examples need to be contrasted or compared with each other.
(23a) pitšeng                                   ‘at the pot’
(23b) ka pitšeng                              ‘in the pot’
(24) Ema mo pele ga Katiba        ‘Stand right in front of Katiba!’
Note that the translated text is between single quotes.

Quotations: Short quotations in English that form part of a sentence appear between single quotation marks. Words in other languages must appear in normal print (not italics) and between single quotation marks. Longer quotations in English must be indented on both sides without any quotation marks. Quotations in other languages must appear in italics and be followed by an English translation in normal print, between single quotation marks. A quotation within a quotation should appear in double quotation marks.

Tables: Accompanying tables should be assigned chronological Arabic numerals and have short descriptive titles. Tables may include up to five horizontal lines but no vertical lines.

Figures: Figures must be numbered chronologically as referred to in the text using Arabic numerals. Authors should ensure that their figures conform to the style of the journal. Pay particular attention to line thickness, font and figure proportions, taking into account the Journal’s printed page size. Costs of redrawing figures may be charged. Please refer to Figure guidelines for authors: format, style and technical considerations available for download below. For digital photographs or scanned images the resolution should be at least 300 dpi for colour or greyscale artwork and a minimum of 600 dpi for black line drawings. These can be saved (in order of preference) in PSD, JPEG, PDF or EPS format. Graphs, charts or maps can be saved in AI, PDF or EPS format. MS Office files (Word, Powerpoint, Excel) are also acceptable but DO NOT EMBED Excel graphs or Powerpoint slides in a MS Word document, rather send the original Excel or Powerpoint files. More detailed technical information is given in Figure Guidelines for Authors.

Electronic reprints: Corresponding authors will receive an electronic copy of their final printed article for reprint use.

Page charges: A page charge of ZAR300 per page (for African contributors, excl. VAT for South Africa) or USD25 (for other contributors) is levied by NISC. Colour pages can be included by arrangement but will be charged at ZAR900/USD75 per page. Before final acceptance of articles authors must provide a written undertaking to pay the prescribed page charges. Authors who do not receive subsidies from their institutions may apply to the Editor to have their page charges waived.

Open access: South African Journal of African Languages is a hybrid journal which allows authors the option of publishing their article Open Access for a set fee. Further details are given on the Open Access at NISC page. 


Instructions for Authors

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Figure Guidelines for Authors

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Figure FAQs

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