SABC News - Nama dictionary launched to help revive language:Friday 30 September 2016

Nama dictionary launched to help revive language

Friday 30 September 2016 21:07

Ulrich Hendriks

Nama dictionaries will also be published for other languages as they develop.(SABC)

One of South Africa's indigenous languages which was once on the brink of extinction now has a dictionary.

A book containing the correct spelling of words in most of the dialects of the Nama language has been launched at Steinkopf near Springbok in the Northern Cape. It's hoped it will assist in preserving, promoting and developing the language.

Pan South African Language Board (PanSalb) Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Dr. Mpho Monareng says, “We’re giving a new language to the world. It is new in the sense of literate in the form of writing.”

The project to put the different words and dialects of the Nama language started almost three decades ago and will continue,  says Professor Wilfred Haacke, a contributor to the dictionary.

“What I’m working towards is expanding the comprehensive database for another revised edition to the main dictionary."

The new dictionary is in Afrikaans, which will reach more of its speakers.

It's a milestone for a language and culture once on the brink of extinction.

Dictionaries will also be published for other languages as they develop.

The contributors have made the dictionary easy enough for children to understand. With Nama poised to be re-introduced at schools within the next three years it will be one of the resources they can use.

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