The value of indigenous knowledge systems in the development of Zulu medical terminology

  • L van Huyssteen


Language may be studied not only from a linguistic point of view, but also with regard to extra-linguisticfactors such as indigenous knowledge systems (IKS). These systems, broadly speaking, concern thelives, thoughts and culture of the people who speak a particular language. Zulu language development,for instance, can be enhanced by reverting to indigenous knowledge which is imbedded in the languageinstead of relying solely on linguistic methods of term creation. In this manner the speaker’s understandingof newly created terms will also be improved.In this article world view and taboo are two of the indigenous knowledge-related systems applied andexemplifi ed with reference to the development of Zulu medical (technical) terminology. Generally, aperson’s mother tongue offers him/her a framework for his/her perception of the environment or world(world view). Taboo, on the other hand, is an umbrella term referring to terms that are unsuitable for use in a specific social context.

Journal Identifiers

eISSN: 2305-1159
print ISSN: 0257-2117