Firming up the Foundations: Reflections on Verifying the 248 Quotations in a Historical Dict ionary, with Reference to "A Dictionary of South African English on Historical Principles"

  • S Hicks


A Dictionary of South African English on Historical Principles (DSAEHist) is rooted in quotation evidence. It contains just over 8 000 South African English entries, with about 45 000 citations to support those words included as headwords in the dictionary. Using the legacy electronic format in which DSAEHist was typeset, the Dictionary Unit for South African English embarked on a digitising process of DSAEHist, during which it became clear that the quotations would benefit from a full review involving the verification of all quotations against their original sources. This article examines the evolution of the quotation verification project from its beginnings as an entirely manual exercise to its current use of software developed for the purpose. Some of the project’s achievements, such as antedatings and primary source identification, are highlighted, and challenges, such as unverifiable quotations and sometimes highly convoluted research paths, are described. In addition to this, the article looks at the necessarily systematic nature of quotation handling and the main types of considerations determining methodology (for example, lexicographic, bibliographic and typographic requirements). Keywords: Dictionary, South African English, Historical Principles, Verification, Quotation, Citation, Accuracy

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2224-0039
print ISSN: 1684-4904