Language is a vehicle through which gender sensitivity is expressed. According to (Wodak, 1997) gender concerns the psychological, social and cultural differences between males and females. Gender refers to the fact of being male or female while gender sensitivity is the state of being aware of what society thinks about of being male and female. IsiZulu words like ubuntu/humanity and abantu/people show respect to gender sensitivity because they address both genders without singling out or giving any preference to any gender in isiZulu. Early writings presumably influenced by traditional forms of words that have sexist connotations are now often replaced by terms that are neutral in gender. For instance, in the English tradition the use of the word Ms has increased instead of the traditional Mrs or Miss and chairperson instead of chairman. These labels that are used reflect social attitudes and shapes how social structures and relationships are perceived.
Benito Trollip is the SADiLaR reseacher in the field of the Afrikaans language. When it comes to research he is especially interested in the ways in which meaning is constructed in language.
“I tend to focus on compounds and other word-forming processes and the way people choose to combine form and meaning. There are endless possibilities when it comes to constructing meaning and language is a literal house of abundance when it comes to these possibilities,” says Mr Trollip.
He is also interested in legal aspects of research with regards to intellectual property rights, ownership and the distribution of data. As a SADiLaR researcher, Mr Trollip is always busy discovering new ways to bring language and the digital age together. At the current moment he is finalising a dataset and article on denominal adjectives in Afrikaans, of which eend-agtig 'duck-like' is an example. He has also worked with a graphic designer colleague of his on a short video on intensified adjectives in Afrikaans, of which hond-warm literally 'dog hot > piping hot' is one.
Muzi Matfunjwa is the SADiLaR researcher, specialising in the language of Siswati. Other areas of research that interests Mr Matfunjwa includes Digital Humanities, Linguistics and Sociolinguistics. Covid-19 did not come in the way of Mr Matfunjwa and his research and he is currently working on a few different projects.
“I am writing an article on the translation of collocations in the South African Constitution from English into isiZulu, Siswati and isiNdebele. I am also writing an article on the use of ParaConc to extract terminology for quadrilingual dictionary creation.”
Muzi does not focus primarily on the present, but looks for prospective future future projects to work on as well. For the next couple of months, he will finish his articles and submit them for publication.
When it comes to Digital Humanities, Mr Matfunjwa believes that it can provide advanced and contemporary research methods in African studies especially in African Languages, hence promoting research and providing resources for African languages.
My name is Mme Mmasibidi Setaka, I am a Sesotho Researcher at the South African Centre for Digital Language Resources which is a national centre supported by the Department of Science and Innovation (DSI). SADiLaR has an enabling function, with a focus on all official languages of South Africa, supporting research and development in the domains of language technologies and language-related studies in the humanities and social sciences. The Centre supports the creation, management and distribution of digital language resources and software which are freely available for research purposes.