CHAPTER 3 ORTHOGRAPHICAL TERMINOLOGICAL STANDARDISATION PROBLEMS REGARDING ZULU
Introduction: An overview of standard orthographical and terminological development in the African languages, in particular Zulu
To initiate the discussion on orthographical standardisation issues, it may be appropriate to cite a definition of what orthography actually is: « Spelling, including letters (upper and lower case) and diacritics » (LANGTAG in DACST 1996:220). In this chapter, with Zulu as language of exemplification, spelling and letters in the upper and lower case are dealt with. Spelling deals with a number of linguistic issues such as old versus new orthography, writing conventions, notation and phonological trends in the language. Diacritics are not dealt with here since they are not part of the Zulu orthography as they are of other African languages such as Northern Sotho and Venda, for instance.
The concept orthography in the African languages is quite different from orthography in other languages of South Africa since it deals not only with spelling but also with terminology which is listed in the form of an addendum. It is for this reason that official orthographical publications, for instance, carry names of the following nature: IsiZulu terminology and orthography No. 4 (DET 1993). However, these two remain different concepts but are treated together in the same publication for the sake of convenience only.
The main agents of orthographical standardisation in the African languages played a major role in establishing a written standard for these languages, although they were politically stigmatised and often regarded as having done very little by some scholars, when they were still known as the Language Committees/Boards. At present the main agents of standardisation in the eleven official languages are the National Language Bodies (NLBs). The body responsible for Zulu standardisation, for instance, is known as the IsiZulu National Language Body (ZNLB).
However, the NLBs have the responsibility, under the auspices of the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB), to standardise the orthography of the African languages and develop these languages. It thus seems that the NLBs have inherited the traditional functions of the previous Language Committees/Boards. See also 188.8.131.52 for national standardisation.
The STANON Report (Calteaux 1996:42) puts standardisation in the African languages thus far in a realistic sociolinguistic perspective, rightfully pointing out some thought-provoking questions, of which one specifically reads: « Has the work on ‘standards’ done by the now disbanded Language Boards been looked at critically enough? » Needless to say, this question is discussed at length in this chapter, specifically as far as orthographical consistency is concerned, also with reference to technical terminology. The official orthographies referred to were prepared by the previous Language Committees/Boards under the auspices of Education Departments in the older dispensation, all of them containing Zulu terminology lists:
Department of Native Affairs (1957) Zulu-Xhosa terminology and spelling No. 1, Department of Bantu Education (1962) Zulu terminology and orthography No. 2, Department of Bantu Education (1976) Zulu terminology and orthography No. 3 and Department of Education and Training (1993) IsiZulu terminology and orthography No. 4.
It must be noted that the latest Orthography No. 4 is the one, for the sake of immediate reference and applicability, mostly referred to. It is also significant that the name IsiZulu is used for the first time in this type of official publication in order to indigenise the language.
To get an overview of orthographical standardisation in the African languages, the existing developmental tools such as orthographies including official terminology lists, grammars, dictionaries, published literature and technical (medical) leaflets distributed for primary health care, were investigated. Although other African languages are referred to, the language of exemplification is Zulu and the field mainly medical terminology. However, some terms of other fields are also included to offer a general perspective.
The Zulu health terms referred to or discussed in this chapter are those found or listed in the following official sources, i.e.
i) Department of Education and Training: IsiZulu terminology and orthography No. 4, henceforth abbreviated as DET 1993; ii) Draft List: Basic Health Terms compiled by the National Terminology Services (NTS), specifically by the Division of Biological and Agricultural Sciences of the Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, henceforth abbreviated as DACST 1997a); iii) Draft List: Sex Education compiled by the National Terminology Services (NTS), specifically by the Division of Biological and Agricultural Sciences of the Department of Arts, Culture, Science and Technology, henceforth abbreviated as DACST 1997b); iv) Leaflets on general health care issued by the Department of Health and v) A few commercial leaflets distributed in the primary health care sector (consult the list following the bibliography).
Orthographical terminological standardisation problems in Zulu
After investigating the standard orthographical and terminological Zulu sources mentioned in 3.1 above, problems in the process of orthographical standardisation, including technical terminology, were identified. These problems mainly relate to inconsistencies in the application and interpretation of orthographical rules in general and in terminology. Particular problem areas concerning the orthography reflected in the general writing style of Zulu writers/terminologists are: 1) old versus new Zulu orthography; 2) writing disjunctively or conjunctively; 3) the lack of accuracy in morphological notation; 4) capitalisation and 5) changing linguistic trends in the language which are not reflected in the orthography.
It is self-evident that in any type of publication, proper editing is of utmost importance. It is for this reason that editing is not discussed at length here but briefly referred to. If editing is not properly conducted, it may cause problems for the (un)informed user of terminology lists. In a single official publication such as DACST (1997a), for instance, quite a number of spelling errors, some of them glaring, were identified, e.g. umtwana ozalwe eseshonile instead of umntwana ozalwe eseshonile (stillborn baby); ukungasebenzi kahla kwenso instead of ukungasebenzi kahle kwenso (kidney failure); ukukhipha iqhanda instead of ukukhipha iqanda (ovulate); ukuvikela komphakathi ekuncoleni instead of ukuvikela komphakathi ekungcoleni (sanitation) and uklamba instead of ukulamba (starvation), etc.
If there is a spelling mistake as in the examples above, it means that a term cannot readily be used or referred to when needed. In some of the leaflets distributed by the local councils for primary health care, it is quite shocking to find a much worse situation of language neglect; a situation which is obviously not monitored by local authorities.
The identification of orthographical terminological standardisation problems in Zulu and possible practical solutions
The whole process of identification of orthographical terminological standardisation problems in Zulu, is discussed alongside the posing of solutions. The five identified problems, being old versus new roman orthography, writing disjunctively or conjunctively, the lack of accuracy in morphological notation, capitalisation and changing linguistic trends in the language which are not reflected in the orthography, need to be addressed since they can prevent terminologists from effectively fulfilling their task as language practitioners. In this chapter the aforementioned orthographical problems/inconsistencies in Zulu are identified by questioning the logic behind some rules formulated by the ZLC/B. Problems have to be addressed by offering a workable practical methodology that would enhance development in Zulu. This methodology is called a practical orthographical standardisation approach in this chapter. See also 1.5 for the nature of research. In its application recommendations to bring about adjustments and change in the orthography are put forward to language interest structures for discussion in order to remedy the situation. These recommendations may involve, for instance, the acknowledgment of certain phonological and morphological changes and trends in the Zulu language. After proper research into the language situation and after agreement has been reached, recommendations must be put in writing and be properly exemplified before submission to the national language authority PanSALB for final approval before implementation.
A practical orthographical standardisation approach, in which problems are identified and solutions posed, does not claim to be absolute or prescriptive but it will at least serve as an example for those concerned with orthographical standardisation and pave the way forward. Its aim is to guide language planners or terminologists, or to some extent, even train them, to be linguistically accurate and consistent, when dealing with orthographical standardisation issues.
However, even after orthographical problems have been identified and addressed through a practical approach, it will not mean much if these adjustments/changes are not made known by the ZNLB to all the concerned language interest structures in the educational and public sectors. The practical standardisation approach aims to solve the five identified orthographical problems in a logical linguistic manner.
Old versus new Zulu orthography
The expression ‘old versus new’ is used arbitrarily to indicate that the Zulu orthography has changed over the years; ‘old’ meaning orthography that used to be applied and ‘new’ meaning the current standard orthography.
In order to establish what is old and what is new orthography, the development of the Zulu orthography is traced , i.e. by investigating examples of Zulu words/phrases representative of old orthography and those representative of new orthography as they appear in the earliest and more recent grammars, dictionaries, terminologies and official orthographies of the ZLC/B (mentioned earlier in 3.1). These examples are then compared and orthographical variations/changes are presented in the form of a survey. Since many spelling problems in Zulu can be attributed to the fact that ‘old’ instead of ‘new’ orthographical rules are still being applied, it is necessary that inconsistencies regarding ‘old versus new orthography’ are pointed out. The ultimate aim of this presentation is to have the old orthography replaced with the latest orthography.
In the Nguni languages graphisation was characterised by orthographical change due to language development. In some of the earliest Zulu grammars and dictionaries phonetic symbols were used alongside roman symbols , e.g. [[  in u[ [a[ [a as in Doke & Vilakazi (1949) instead of b in ubaba (my/our father) for the bilabial implosive consonant. At present all languages in South Africa use the roman script and therefore this aspect need not be discussed any further. However, as the African languages developed, changes occurred in the orthography. It is interesting to note that the old orthography varies considerably from grammarian to grammarian. In the case of Zulu the most common changes are: dhl is replaced by dl, h is replaced by hh (for the voiced sound) and the lack of aspiration is replaced by the othographical inclusion of aspiration (h). Examples of old orthography are commonly found in older grammars and dictionaries. However, even if these old spelling rules are not applied any more, it is advisable to be aware of them since traces of the old spelling forms still occur in surnames and place names.
184.108.40.206 dhl is replaced by dl, e.g. -dhlala > -dlala (play)
Early grammarians such as Colenso (1882) and Samuelson (1925) use dhl instead of dl, in for instance, badhlulile (Colenso1882:7) instead of the current badlulile (they have passed). It may be worth mentioning here that in the earliest grammars no distinction was made between hl and dl and therefore Döhne (1857:29) gives the spelling -hlala for both ‘stay’ and ‘play’ instead of -hlala and -dlala respectively. The use of dhl in the surname Dhlomo (instead of Dlomo) also evidences traces of the old spelling forms.
220.127.116.11 h is replaced by hh (for the voiced glottal fricative), e.g. -hahama > -hhahhama (growl like a dog)
For many years the voiced glottal fricative, for which the phonetic symbol is [s s], was represented in the Zulu orthography by either h or hh. The orthographical rules governing this voiced glottal fricative were inconsistent and varied over the years, causing confusion, even today, as is evident in the examples that follow.
Samuelson (1925:14) is one of the early grammarians who distinguished between the voiceless fricative calling it a « soft H » and the voiced fricative, calling it « the baritone sound of the throat. » Doke (1945:16) recommends that there should be orthographical distinction between the voiced fricative hh and the voiceless fricative h. However, he was compelled to use a single h for both sounds as prescribed by the University Committees affiliated to the University of Natal.
The first three Zulu orthographies Zulu-Xhosa terminology and spelling No. 1 (1957), Zulu terminology and orthography No. 2 (1962) and Zulu terminology and orthography No. 3 (1976) ruled that the single h be used for both the voiceless and voiced fricative. Finally however, this rule was changed and, in the latest IsiZulu terminology and orthography No. 4 (1993), the voiced glottal fricative is written as hh, e.g. ihhashi (horse), similarly to Doke & Vilakazi (1972). The voiceless fricative is to remain a single h as in -hamba (go/leave).
18.104.22.168 The lack of aspiration is replaced by the orthographical inclusion of aspiration, e. g. -peka > pheka (cook)
The lack of aspiration is still one of the most common errors evidencing old orthography today. Aspiration (h) was not always orthograpically indicated after the plosives p, k and t in the earliest publications e.g. -peka > -pheka (cook); -kula > -khula (grow) and -tela > -thela (pour). However, even if these old orthographical rules are not applied any more, it is advisable to be aware of them since traces of the old spelling forms still occur in surnames like Kumalo instead of Khumalo, for instance. The lack of aspiration is a serious error because the distinction between these plosives with or without aspiration bring about differences in meaning, e.g. -thetha (scold) and -teta (carry on back). This is supported by Colenso (1905:ix) who exemplifies that roots which appear to be identical in spelling may differ in meaning e.g. tenga (sell) and -tenga (waver). The former word should, according to the latest orthography be spelt with aspiration, -thenga (sell). The inclusion of aspiration in speech is not a problem for Zulu speakers as they add it intuitively but it could be for non-mother-tongue speakers. Needless to say then, the pronunciation of mother-tongue speakers should be taken into account for the inclusion of aspiration in a word or newly coined term.
It must be noted that bh in a word such as -bheka (look/watch) is a delayed breathy voiced speech sound and not an aspirated plosive. However, it is conveniently dealt with here because breathiness is not manifested in the written form and the same word without the h can bring about change in meaning, e.g. beka (to put down). The b in the latter word is a voiced bilabial implosive and should not be confused with the breathy voiced bilabial plosive bh. Scholars of Zulu must be aware of the fact that Doke & Vilakazi (1949, 1972) in their monumental Zulu-English dictionary, write bh as b, e.g. -beka (look /watch ) , in order to distinguish it from the voiced bilabial implosive for which the phonetic symbol [[  is used, e.g. -[ [eka (put down).
In the earliest Zulu grammars aspiration is seldom indicated orthographically. There are those grammarians who do not indicate aspiration, those who are inconsistent and those who do indicate it. Roberts is one of the grammarians who does not indicate aspiration in his version of the Zulu-English Dictionary (1915). In Döhne’s Zulu-Kafir Dictionary (1857) and Grout’s Grammar of the Zulu Language (1893) no aspiration is indicated either.
Wanger (1917:3) is inconsistent as he does not always indicate aspiration in the orthography but states that it does exist in the pronunciation of words. At times Wanger (1917:2) indicates aspiration by means of a small superscript h, e.g. ukuphila (live). Bryant (1905:93) is also inconsistent as he does not always indicate aspiration in his examples of place names, e.g. after t in umHlatuze and uTukela. Yet elsewhere Bryant (1905:754, 760) writes place names with the aspiration included, e.g. uThukela and umHlathuze. After a period during which aspiration was not indicated or used inconsistently it was eventually recognised to the extent that it was indicated consistently orthographically. Grammarians such as Samuelson (1925), Doke (1945, 1984), Malcolm (1966), Van Eeden (1956), Ziervogel, Louw & Taljaard (1981), and TaIjaard & Bosch (1988) indicate aspiration, e.g. after t in uThukela (Tugela River).
The lack and inconsistency in the orthographical indication of aspiration found in Zulu grammars is also evident in well-known official place names which are seen on a daily basis on name boards on our public roads, e.g. Kyalami instead of Khayalami Mapumulo instead of Maphumulo Tokoza instead of Thokoza Tembisa instead of Thembisa. However, in some place names aspiration is indicated, e.g. eZakheni, Zwelethu and Phola.
Writing disjunctively or conjunctively
Another issue in the Zulu orthography is the question of writing disjunctively or conjunctively. In the disjunctive method of writing linguistic units are generally written separately from one another, e.g. si ya khulum a (we are talking), while the conjunctive method requires these units to be joined. This results in morphologically complex words (Wilkes 1985:148), e.g. siyakhuluma. The disjunctive method is generally used in the Sotho languages. However, the disjunctive manner of writing also occurs in Zulu, although Zulu is known as a language to which the conjunctive writing method applies.
Although the conjunctive writing method is currently used for the Nguni languages, the disjunctive method was applied by many early Zulu grammarians. The question of writing disjunctively or conjunctively also deals to some extent with old versus new orthography but in the strictest linguistic sense actually with word division. However, strict linguistic principles concerning word identification, such as phonological and syntactical considerations, as applied by Van Wyk (1958) are not discussed here since the written word (on face value) is dealt with in this chapter. Disjunctivism and conjunctivism do therefore, for the purposes of this chapter, refer to the writing system (orthography) and not to word division.
In older Zulu grammars and dictionaries either the disjunctive or conjunctive method of writing is generally applied. However, inconsistency in the application of the disjunctive or conjunctive method is found in some grammars. Furthermore, writers following the same approach do not always indicate word boundaries in the same manner (Wilkes 1985:149). In this regard, compare the following examples: ngi ya kuya (Döhne 1857:ixxvii) (I’m going to go) and Lizaku puma (Roberts 1899:67) (It – the sun – will come through).
Samuelson (1925:45) also displays inconsistency in the orthography of place names. He writes the locative prefix kwa- disjunctively from the noun, e.g. Kwa Dukuza (Stanger) and Kwa Zulu (Zululand). On the other hand, he also writes place names conjunctively (as they should be written) with the prefix forming part of the name, e.g. eMngeni and Umzimkulu.
The conjunctive method of writing is followed by Nguni grammarians such as Colenso (1905), Bryant (1905), Wanger (1917), Samuelson (1925) and Doke (1945). Wanger (1917:1) considers the conjunctive method of writing for Zulu as the least complicated. Bryant (1905:91) goes further by criticising those writers who want to apply European orthographical rules to Zulu. Bryant (1905:92) explains why the conjunctive approach is preferable: « …in the word wahamba, for instance, the particle wa- on its own would be meaningless and unintelligible by the Native mind. » Samuelson (1925:17), in agreement with the latter two grammarians, regards this method as correct since the ‘Zulu word’ constitutes in the Zulu mind « … a complete thought, under one controlling accent and enunciation conveying one undivided meaning. »
Doke (1945:33) follows the conjunctive approach based on the same reasons mentioned by Bryant (1905:23), namely that the non-isolatable parts be treated as formatives and not as parts of speech, defining the Zulu word as follows:
The complete word, … contains one and only one main stress; but when analysed, it is found that the resulting formatives do not possess any main stress, cannot stand alone, and therefore are not complete words (Doke 1945:33).
Even today the notion of the Zulu word is quite complex and is normally a phrase/sentence in other languages, e.g. Ngisazokubona (I shall still see you). Doke’s finding (as set out) above:
… had a profound effect on the writing system of especially the Nguni languages, where its acceptance led to the final adoption of conjunctivism (at the expense of disjunctivism) as the sole method of word division (Wilkes 1985:150).
Doke’s example of conjunctivism is also followed by later grammarians such as Van Eeden (1956), Ziervogel et al. (1981), TaIjaard & Bosch (1988) and Poulos & Msimang (1998).
Yet, even today conjunctivism is not followed throughout and deviations do occur, even in an official publication such as the Draft list: Basic Health Terms (DACST:1997a), e.g. iredi bladi seli (red blood cell) and iyelo fiva (yellow fever). It is quite obvious that the disjunctive manner of writing English was carried over to the almost similar Zulu words. Since there is no pronunciation problem these words could easily be written conjunctively as iredibladiseli and iyelofiva. Terminologists and lexicographers should constantly apply the conjunctive principle of writing in line with the orthographical rules of Zulu so as not to confuse the users of term lists and dictionaries.
The topics that merit discussion concerning the disjunctive or conjunctive manner of writing are the demonstrative pronoun and the use of the apostrophe and the hyphen.
TABLE OF CONTENTS
CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION
1.1 General introduction to the study
1.2 Background to the research problem
1.3 Statement of the research problem
1.4 The aims of the research
1.5 The nature of research in this study
1.6 Research methodology
1.7 Exposition of chapters
1.8 General scope of this study
CHAPTER 2 LANGUAGE STANDARDISATION AND ELABORATION OF THE AFRICAN LANGUAGES
2.2 Language planning
CHAPTER 3 ORTHOGRAPHICAL TERMINOLOGICAL STANDARDISATION PROBLEMS REGARDING ZULU
3.1 Introduction : An overview of standard orthographical and terminological development in the African languages, in particular Zulu
3.2 The identification of orthographical terminological standardisation problems in Zulu and possible practical solutions
3.3 A practical approach to solving orthographical terminological standardisation problems in Zulu
3.4 The way forward
CHAPTER 4 THE METHODS OF WORD-FORMATION THAT FACILITATE LANGUAGE AND TECHNICAL ELABORATION IN ZULU
4.1 Introduction: Corpus planning as part of language planning
4.2 Technical language
4.3 Motivation towards the standardisation of methods of word-formation in language and technical elaboration in Zulu
4.4 Methods of word-formation that facilitate language and technical elaboration
4.5 Culture-related aspects in Zulu language elaboration
CHAPTER 5 THE VALUE OF WRITTEN ZULU CORPORA IN SEMIAUTOMATIC TERM EXTRACTION FOR STANDARDISATION PURPOSES
5.2 The theory of corpus linguistics
5.3 The theory and practice of the compilation of a structured corpus
5.4 A proposed method for semi-automatic term extraction from a written Zulu corpus
5.5 Linguistic analytical and technical aspects in term extraction from a written Zulu corpus
5.6 Exemplifying a lemmatised terminology list
CHAPTER 6 THE VALUE OF ORAL CORPUS ANNOTATION FOR IMPROVING THE ACCEPTABILITY OF TECHNICAL TERMINOLOGY IN ZULU
6.2 The concept ‘oral corpus’
6.3 The compilation of a structured oral corpus
6.4 Frequency count in relation to corpus annotation
6.5 The value of oral corpus annotation for improving the acceptability of technical (medical) terminology
CHAPTER 7 CONCLUSIONS
7.2 Background perspectives
7.3 Orthographical terminological standardisation problems in Zulu Deficiency 1: Inconsistency in the formulation, application and exemplification of Zulu orthographical (terminological) rules
7.4 Deficiency 2: The lack of standardisation of the methods of word-formation that facilitate language and technical elaboration in Zulu
7.5 Deficiency 3: Overlooking the value of written Zulu sources in term expansion for elaboration and standardisation purposes
7.6 Deficiency 4: Overlooking the value of oral sources for improving the acceptability of technical terminology in Zulu
7.7 The contributions of this study
7.8 The limitations of this study
7.9 The way forward: applications and research
GET THE COMPLETE PROJECT
A PRACTICAL APPROACH TO THE STANDARDISATION AND ELABORATION OF ZULU AS A TECHNICAL LANGUAGE