The lemmatization of copulatives in northern Sotho

  • D.J Prinsloo


For learners of Northern Sotho as a second or even foreign language, the copulative system is probably the most complicated grammatical system to master. The encoding needs of such learners, i.e. to find enough information in dictionaries in order to actively use copulatives in speech and writing, are poorly served in currently available dictionaries. The aim of this article is to offer solutions to the lemmatization problems regarding copulatives in Northern Sotho and to propose guiding entries for paper and electronic dictionaries which could serve as models for future dictionaries. It will be illustrated that the maximum utilisation of macrostructural and microstructural strategies as well as the mediostructure is called for in order to reach this objective. Prerequisites will be to reconstruct the entire copulative system in a user-friendly way, to abstract the rules governing the use of copulatives and to isolate the appropriate lemmas. The treatment of copulatives in Northern Sotho dictionaries will also be critically evaluated, especially in terms of frequency of use and target users' needs. Keywords: lexicography, lemmatization, copulatives, information retrieval, access structure, electronic dictionary, macrostructure, microstructure, cross-referencing, mediostructure, dictionary, African languages

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2224-0039
print ISSN: 1684-4904