Oxford University Press Southern Africa’s isiXhosa dictionary launched


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September 18, The Oxford University Press Southern Africa (OUPSA) launched their colloquial isiXhosa dictionary at Prana Lodge eChintsa East.

A four year program culminated in a dictionary that boasts a host of features. The Oxford School isiXhosa and English Dictionary “is the first of its kind to have been made with a collection of written texts”.

“The words were selected based on frequency in texts such as novels, textbooks, official documents and transcripts, ensuring that the dictionary reflects the language as it is really spoken today,” says OUPSA.

“The dictionary is also the first to include words from across the South African curriculum, such as life cycle, photosynthesis and vertex. The result is a modern, up-to-date dictionary that supports learning and teaching in subjects like Natural Sciences and Maths, as well as in the two languages,” says OUPSA spokesperson.

At the launch OUPSA managing director, Steve Cilliers, said; “Our ultimate goal is to support education and enable all South African children to fulfil their potential. This may seem like a big task for a dictionary to achieve, but our research indicates that having real dictionaries in class can help teachers stop being ‘walking dictionaries’ and enable them to spend more time on the subject they’re teaching.

“We feel confident that they can make a real difference,” he added.

“Oxford has done a good job by ensuring that we have a dictionary in our language which mustn’t have been easy. This dictionary will go a long way to promote indigenous languages and will open the gate for interaction in our languages,” said UDM leader, member of Parliament, Bantu Holomisa at the launch.

Language Policy Manager, Naledi Mbude- Shale on behalf of the ECDoE MEC, Mandla Makupula said; “We feel pride and gratitude that Oxford has taken the challenge to do the first bilingual isiXhosa dictionary.

“If education had to transform we want Oxford to be a part of that and we would like to welcome them on the train,” she said.

A grade 8, Stirling High School pupil said; “This dictionary will be very helpful for us learners because we will be able to also know what a certain word means in isiXhosa.”

600 copies of the dictionary were donated to the Nelson Mandela Institute for Education and Rural Development. NMI, Senior Language and Literacy Specialist, Ms Xolisa Guzula said; “We would like to thank Oxford for giving us these dictionaries. A donation of this kind would have cost us a lot of money, these are resources we need to use to teach our learners”.


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