Reflections on the Proposed Ndebele–Shona/Shona–Ndebele Dictionary

  • S Hadebe


The master plan of the ALLEX Project includes a Ndebele–Shona/Shona–Ndebele dictionary in its proposed dictionary projects. Bilingual dictionaries are common in Zimbabwe, especially earlier ones with the language pairs English–Ndebele/Shona and vice versa. The pro-posed Ndebele–Shona/Shona–Ndebele dictionary, however, raises some interesting challenges. It will be a different kind of bilingual dictionary in which two African languages, Ndebele and Shona form the language pair. In this article, it will be shown how different dictionary types for both Ndebele and Shona reflect the intentions of Zimbabwean language planners from different periods. A Ndebele–Shona/Shona–Ndebele dictionary, unimaginable to many, raises several questions, among others: Who needs such a dictionary? Who are the target users of such a dictionary? In addressing some of these questions, it will be attempted to show how the proposed Ndebele–Shona/Shona–Ndebele dictionary reflects the language planning needs of present-day Zimbabwe. Keywords: bilingual dictionary, monolingual dictionary, ndebele, shona, ndebele–shona/shona–ndebele dictionary, language planning, language policy, language development, sociolinguistics, attitudes, reference needs, user needs

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2224-0039
print ISSN: 1684-4904