Compiling the First Monolingual Lusoga Dictionary

  • M Nabirye


In this research article a study is made of the approach followed to compile the firstever monolingual dictionary for Lusoga. Lusoga is a Bantu language spoken in Uganda by slightly over two million people. Being an under-resourced language, the Lusoga orthography had to be designed, a grammar written, and a corpus built, before embarking on the compilation of the dictionary. This compilation was aimed at attaining an academic degree, hence requiring a rigorous research methodology. Firstly, the prevailing methods for compiling dictionaries were mainly practical and insufficient in explaining the theoretical linguistic basis for dictionary compilation. Since dictionaries are based on meaning, the theory of meaning was used to account for all linguistic data considered in dictionaries. However, meaning is considered at a very abstract level, far removed from the process of compiling dictionaries. Another theory, the theory of modularity, was used to bridge the gap between the theory of meaning and the compilation process. The modular theory explains how the different modules of a language contribute information to the different parts of the dictionary article or dictionary information in general. Secondly, the research also had to contend with the different approaches for analysing Bantu languages for Bantu and European audiences. A description of the Bantu- and European-centred approaches to Bantu studies was undertaken in respect of (a) the classification of Lusoga words, and (b) the specification of their citations. As a result, Lusoga lexicography deviates from the prevailing Bantu classification and citation of nouns, adjectives and verbs in particular. The dictionary was tested on two separate occasions and all the feedback was considered in the compilation process. This article, then, gives an overall summary of all the steps involved in the compilation of the Eiwanika ly'Olusoga, i.e. the Monolingual Lusoga Dictionary. Keywords: lexicography, monolingual dictionary, theoretical framework, dictionary testing, euro-centred, bantu-centred, orthography, grammar, word classes, bantu languages, lusoga, uganda

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2224-0039
print ISSN: 1684-4904