A bilingual dictionary for a specific user group: Supporting Setswana speakers in the production and reception of English

  • DJ Prinsloo
  • U Heid


The aim of this article is to discuss the design of a new English to Setswana dictionary for two narrowlydefined target user groups of Setswana learners, i.e. Upper Primary (10 to 12 years old); and JuniorSecondary (13 to 15 years old). The dictionary is intended to be a guide to text and speech productionin the foreign language L2 (English) and the reception of English text and speech in L1 (Setswana). Ageneral consideration concerns the relationship between the treatment of English and that of Setswana.As English is to be treated as a priority, many more data types will be made available for English thanfor Setswana. Furthermore, we will assess the possibility of producing a bilingual learners’ dictionarywith rather imbalanced parts: for production in (and translation into) English, a detailed descriptionof individual items is needed, whereas for reception (and translation) from English, a large list oftreatment units is necessary, albeit with less elaborate descriptive detail. The design also aims at strongguidance through the mother tongue, Setswana. Two possible scenarios are considered, namely separatedictionaries for the two target groups or a single dictionary to serve the lexicographic needs of bothtarget groups. Socio-economic circumstances of most of the learners are such that buying more than onedictionary is not a realistic option, and they find themselves in a pre-dictionary culture with the resultantlack of dictionary using skills. The dictionary/dictionaries will be for paper dictionaries. The focus is onbilingualized (BLD) and extended bilingual (EBL) dictionaries as basic design options. We envisage animbalanced design where guidance in terms of both production and reception is focused on English. Ourdesign aims at the maximum utilization of the physical space in a paper dictionary with coverage of atleast 90% of both English and Setswana.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2305-1159
print ISSN: 0257-2117