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Sesotho dictionary to be published
2008-04-15

 
Mr Motsamai Motsapi,  editor-in-chief.

A comprehensive bilingual Sesotho dictionary will be published in the 2008/2009 financial year, thanks to the efforts of the Sesiu sa Sesotho National Lexicography Unit hosted by the University of the Free State (UFS). ”Sesiu” is a Sesotho word meaning ”a reservoir for storing grains”.

According to the Editor-in-Chief of the Sesiu sa Sesotho National Lexicography Unit, Mr Motsamai Motsapi, the unit intends to continuously develop and modernize the Sesotho language so that its speakers are empowered to express themselves through Sesotho without any impediments, in all spheres of life.

The unit is one of the 11 nationally established Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) structures representing South Africa’s 11 official languages.

Their main objective is to preserve and record the various indigenous languages by compiling user-friendly, comprehensive monolingual dictionaries and other lexicographic products, and to develop and promote these languages in all spheres of life.

The Minister of Arts and Culture, Dr Pallo Jordan, has lamented the fact that it is virtually impossible to find a bookstore in any of the country’s shopping malls that distributes literature in the indigenous African languages.

The minister said the capacity to both write and read in one’s home language gives real meaning to freedom of expression.

Therefore the publication of this Sesotho dictionary should be seen in the context of the development of the indigenous languages, as encapsulated in both the minister’s vision and that of the Sesiu sa Sesotho National Lexicography Unit.

The pending publication of this dictionary is the culmination of years of hard work invested in this project by the Sesiu sa Sesotho National Lexicography Unit.

“I believe that slowly but surely we have made some strides, as we have produced a Sesotho translation dictionary draft in 2006 covering letters A to Z. We have also built a considerable Sesotho corpus. But we still have a mammoth task ahead of us, because the work of compiling a dictionary does not end”, said Mr Motsapi.

“All Sesotho speakers should be involved, as the language belongs to the speech communities, and not to certain individuals”, he added.

He said given the reality that the UFS is situated in a predominantly Sesotho-speaking province and is part of its general community, it will always benefit the university to be part of the efforts of the South African nation to address the past by ensuring the development of the Sesotho language.

The unit is located in the African Languages Department of the Faculty of the Humanities at the UFS, and collaborates closely with the Language Research and Development Centre (LRDC) at the UFS to further the development of the Sesotho language. It is funded by PanSALB.

Media Release
Issued by: Mangaliso Radebe
Assistant Director: Media Liaison
Tel: 051 401 2828
Cell: 078 460 3320
E-mail: radebemt.stg@ufs.ac.za  
15 April 2008
 

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