Mrs. Valencia Wagner is SADiLaR’s Setswana language researcher. She finds sociolinguistics, phonetics, phonology and digital humanities particularly interesting within the language of Setswana.
Currently she is working on the writing of articles and organising virtual workshops. Other projects that is currently consuming Mrs. Wagner’s time is focusing- and working on her PhD studies. She is also planning to write more articles within the next few months. Furthermore Valencia will be working on two projects:
The Setswana and IsiXhosa grammar portal
The speech data collection project
Upon asking her what she thinks about the contribution that Digital Humanities can make in the African context she had the following to say:
“Africa still has a limited exposure to various digital tools, resources & methodologies, therefore, many African researchers and scholars still rely a lot on traditional methods of conducting research. Digital humanities can transform traditional humanities by creating and integrating digital technologies into African research. Research that would have taken years to complete manually, will be much easier to undertake with the use of digital tools.”
She concluded by saying that these digital platforms could also help us to share information and grow our indigenous communities.
In today’s blog the importance and value of language in our current circumstances is discussed. The dual nature of language as a conveyer of information and a medium of encouragement form the basis of the discussion.
Ons leef tans in ŉ wêreld waaraan ons so in die bou daarvan gewoond moet raak. In ŉ tyd waarin mense min keuses het en hierdie keuses onder druk moet uitoefen. Baie mense moet deesdae meer gereeld (en uit noodsaak) aanlyn met mekaar kommunikeer. Videovergaderings en langer e-poskorrespondensies is aan die orde van die dag. Taal en die oordeelkundige (en vir sommige die ‘korrekte’) gebruik daarvan word deesdae al hoe belangriker. Ons moet leer hoe om in ons nuwe wêreld oor ons nuwe wêreld te praat.
Die vraag oor ‘korrekte’ taalgebruik is ŉ maalkolk waaruit ŉ mens nie vinnig ontsnap as jy eers daarin vasgevang is nie. Om dit te illustreer, kan ŉ mens kyk na gesprekke oor die koronavirus en verwante sake. Iets wat my opgeval het, is die gebruik van en debat rondom verskillende Afrikaanse weergawes van (state of) lockdown. Dit is verstaanbaar, aangesien die taalgebruik wat na hierdie virus verwys so akkuraat as moontlik behoort te wees om vir mense die korrekte inligting oor te dra. In hierdie opsig het die gepastheid van alternatiewe soos inperkingstyd / staat van inperking / grendeltyd al heelwat gesprekke tussen mense ontlok. Uiteindelik kom jou keuse van alternatief neer op enige keuse wat jy in die algemeen sou maak – jou persoonlike voorkeur en gesonde oordeel. Solank mense verstaan wat jy probeer sê, wat meer het jy nodig? Dit is nie ŉ streng taalkundige maatstaf om net op persoonlike voorkeur staat te maak nie, maar dis ŉ dapper nuwe wêreld en dalk word persoonlike voorkeur (sonder die benadeling van ŉ ander) al hoe belangriker.
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.
Mmasibidi Setaka is the proud Sesotho researcher at SADiLaR. She is passionate about her research into the digital sphere of this language as well as research area of lexicography.
As a researcher at SADiLaR, Ms Setaka is always working on a variety of different projects, but she is currently focusing her research on picture dictionaries. She also has a few projects that she is planning to work on in the future which includes writing articles about the different aspects of picture dictionaries, checking different methodologies and working out strategies to collect her research results, without making physical contact with the children whom the dictionaries are aimed for.
Since one of the main focuses of SADiLaR is to do research into languages within the context of Digital Humanities, this is also a big part of Ms Setaka’s research. When it comes to Digital Humanities, she states the following: “Digital Humanities brings different fields together thereby making collaboration for African scholars possible.”