In this paper the writer examines problems the African Languages Lexical (ALLEX) Project (at present the African Languages Research Institute (ALRI)) encountered while tagging the Shona corpus. The problems to be highlighted include general problems which apply to more than one language as well as problems peculiar to Shona. The paper was inspired by the challenges the writer encountered when he took part in building the Shona corpus. An analysis of the problems that most corpus builders face shows that more problems are likely to be encountered when dealing with spoken corpora than with written corpora. The paper demonstrates that tagging is an important component of corpus building as it makes it easier for a researcher to extract relevant data. To utilise the benefits of a tagged corpus, the tagging should be thorough and accurate. Wellinformed decisions form an integral part of the tagging process since the utility of a tagged corpus depends largely on the input of the tagging process. This paper shows the need to take the tagging process seriously.
Keywords: allex project, computer, corpus, encoding, foreign word, lemmatization, lexicography, monitor corpus, part of speech, scanning, shona, slang, tagging, transcription, word