Language resources for savvy speakers

Posted on 25/06/2019 · Posted in Dialogos, Our languages, Recent news, Research, Terminology, Writing tips

In April of this year, the comprehensive, multi-volume Afrikaans dictionary the Woordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal (the WAT) released its fifteenth volume, representing the second instalment for the letter S. It covers Afrikaans words from ‘skool’ (school) all the way to ‘Sri Lankaans’ (Sri Lankan). It also contains an addendum with new words from A to S – a much needed inclusion, since Volume I of the WAT (words from A to C) appeared in 1951. At the time, ‘amabokoboko’ (the South African national rugby team), ‘beurtkrag’ (load shedding) and ‘google’ were probably unthinkable. Work on the WAT officially began in 1926 and in 1929 Stellenbosch University assumed responsibility for the dictionary.

As of January, the WAT’s editorial team has been working on the third and last volume to cover S – work which should be concluded within the next two years if everything goes according to plan. More team members were appointed last year to enable the WAT to reach Z by 2029.

The WAT contains many more words and much more information than, for example, the HAT (Handwoordeboek van die Afrikaanse Taal – a one-volume dictionary). In fact, its purpose is to document Afrikaans vocabulary to the broadest extent possible. Consequently the WAT is an authoritative reference work for anyone who wants to be absolutely sure or for those researching Afrikaans words. It is also available electronically – even on mobile platforms. The Language Centre would like to congratulate the WAT on completing Volume XV (obviously we are enthusiastic WAT users).

Not everyone knows what language resources are available or where to find them. The Language Service has created a resource page for its language practitioners. This page is accessible to anyone and contains links to a large variety of e-dictionaries, word lists and terminology lists. The latest version of the Language Service’s own Afr/Eng Translation Equivalent List is also to be found there. The Language Service provides a professional editing and translation service for clients anywhere in the world. E-mail your request to Marguerite – we can help you in at least 15 languages!