Original Articles

Challenges relating to standardization in the development of an isiXhosa spelling checker

Published in: South African Journal of African Languages
Volume 25, issue 1, 2005 , pages: 1–10
DOI: 10.1080/02572117.2005.10587244
Author(s): Jackie JonesDepartment of African Languages, South Africa, Kholisa PodileDepartment of African Languages, South Africa, Martin PuttkammerCentre for Text Technology, South Africa

Abstract

The development of an isiXhosa spelling checker revealed many deviations from the standard form of orthographic words. The purpose of this article is to highlight the major challenges relating to these inconsistencies at various levels of representation. On the orthographic level these included hyphenation, capitalization, use of apostrophes, abbreviations and old versus new orthography. Inconsistencies on the lexical level manifested in dialectal variations, neologisms and borrowings. On the morphological level the discrepancies were evident in prefixation and the pragmatic use of contracted forms. These idiosyncracies demonstrate the significance of the dynamic nature of language, which necessitates continuous revision of terminology and orthography by the highest statutory authorities, namely the National Language Bodies.

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