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The lexicographic treatment of the demonstrative copulative in Sesotho sa Leboa — an exercise in multiple cross-referencing

G de Schryver
E Taljard
M.P Mogodi
S Maepa


In this research article an in-depth investigation is presented of the lexicographic treatment of the demonstrative copulative (DC) in Sesotho sa Leboa. This one case study serves as an example to illustrate the so-called 'paradigmatic lemmatisation' of closed-class words in the African languages. The need for such an approach follows a discussion, in Sections 1 and 2 respectively, of the present and missing directions in African-language metalexicography. A theoretical conspectus of the DC in Sesotho sa Leboa is then offered in Section 3, while Section 4 examines the treatment of the DC in the four existing desktop dictionaries for this language. The outcomes from the two latter sections are then used in Section 5, which analyses the problems of and options for a sound lexicographic treatment of the DC in bilingual and monolingual dictionaries. The next two
sections proceed with a review of the practical implementation of the DC lemmatisation suggestions in PyaSsaL, i.e. the Pukuntšutlhaloši ya Sesotho sa Leboa 'Explanatory Sesotho sa Leboa Dictionary' — with Section 6 focussing on the hardcopy and Section 7 on the online version. In the process, the very first fully monolingual African-language dictionary on the Internet is introduced. Section 8, finally, concludes briefly.

Keywords: lexicography, paradigmatic lemmatisation, african languages, sesotho sa leboa (northern sotho, sepedi), demonstrative copulative, cross-referencing, corpus, monolingual dictionary, bilingual dictionary

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eISSN: 2224-0039
print ISSN: 1684-4904