Not mere lexicographic cosmetics: the compilation and structural features of Isichazamazwi SezoMculo

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Stellenbosch University


University of Cape Town

This article offers a brief overview of the compilation of the Ndebele music terms dictionary, Isichazamazwi SezoMculo (henceforth the ISM), paying particular attention to its struc-tural features. It emphasises that the reference needs of the users as well as their reference skills should be given a determining role in all lexicographic decisions leading to the publication of a dictionary. Dictionary structure should, therefore, be conceived and evaluated in terms of its data constituents and the accessibility of these data. Accordingly, this article demonstrates that the structure of the ISM is not a case of mere cosmetics but a lexicographic mode of communication between the dictionary compilers and users who are participants in a lexicographic communication process. In this way, the article highlights some of the challenges encountered during the com-pilation of the ISM and the strategies the compilers employed to facilitate the communication pro-cess between the lexicographers and the users regarding dictionary contents and the arrangement thereof. From such a perspective, this article may provide useful insights for LSP lexicography in African languages, prospects of which are based on the increased need for knowledge acquisition and dissemination as well as the multilingual nature of African societies.