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Author Kiango, John Gongwe
Title Swahili dictionary design
Descript 189 p
Note Source: Dissertation Abstracts International, Volume: 53-11, Section: A, page: 3887
Sponsor: Clifford Hill
Thesis (Ed.D.)--Teachers College, Columbia University, 1992
This study is concerned with the methods of entering noun derivatives in Swahili dictionaries. Since the existing methods have different problems, this study searches for a more adequate method
Data were collected from the library and the field. With regard to the library study, a corpus of six selected verb entries from six traditional Swahili dictionaries was used to examine the methods used in those dictionaries in order to see their strengths and their weaknesses. The same six verb entries were also used to check semantic irregularity of noun derivatives in order to see whether the meanings of derivatives could be predicted from those of their component parts
The field study was designed to identify productive and unproductive noun-forming suffixes. A questionnaire with 144 noun derivatives generated by eight noun-forming suffixes and three noun classes was administered to language instructors. Another questionnaire with 48 noun stems without class prefixes was administered to secondary school students. The informants were asked to judge whether the derived nouns or noun stems are possible or impossible in the Swahili language
The following results were obtained in this study: First, three methods of entering noun derivatives in dictionaries were identified. These methods are: separate entries, no separate entries, and separate entries with cross-referencing. It was concluded that the method of separate entries with cross-referencing has fewer problems. Second, with regard to semantic irregularity, almost half of the meanings of derivatives cannot be predicted from the meanings of their component parts. Third, with regard to productivity of the noun-forming suffixes, it was found that only two noun-forming suffixes out of eight are productive. This suggests that not many derivatives could be generated by these suffixes
Based on the three results mentioned above, the method of separate entries with cross-referencing, which is free from the problem of retrieval, was adapted. However, this method is not consistent in listing derivatives under their base verbs or in linking different entries. Hence it was constrained in order to alleviate these problems. (The adapted method is described as a constrained separate entries with cross-referencing.)
School code: 0055
Host Item Dissertation Abstracts International 53-11A
Subject Language, Linguistics
Language, General
Alt Author Teachers College, Columbia University
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