Hessel Visser. Naro Dictionary: Naro?English, English?Naro

Herman M. Batibo
2011 Lexikos  
Although this dictionary was not published by a well-established publishing house, its quality and usefulness rival those of seasoned publishers in the field of Khoesan studies, such as the dictionaries by Dickens (1994), Traill (1994) and Haacke (2002). This fourth edition of Visser's Naro Dictionary is a medium-sized dictionary of 240 pages, including 16 pages of appendices. The work is the result of more than 10 years of lexical compilation which resulted in several editions of the
more » ... , each of which was an expanded version of the earlier one. Thus, from a miniature version, it has grown into a sizeable high-quality work, in spite of the compiler's modest observation in his introduction that it is a mere "working document" and that it is still a "preliminary publication". The dictionary begins with initial information for the users, such as the status of the present dictionary in relation to the earlier versions, the structure of the entire dictionary, the representation of the various sounds and the marking of the prosodic features such as tone, nasalization and vowel depression. According to the compiler, the work on the dictionary was part of a broader project, the Naro Language Project, which included the preparation of primers, literacy materials, magazines, a Bible translation and other linguistic documents. The dictionary itself is divided into two main parts. The Naro-English part has about 5 500 entries, arranged in alphabetical order. Each entry begins with a headword in bold, followed by the corresponding phonetic transcription, in IPA symbols, in square brackets and the tone pattern in parentheses. The English equivalents are given either as single words or as paraphrases. In some cases, the variant forms, dialectal variation, corresponding part of speech, example phrases and idiomatic use of words are also given. In the case of fauna and flora, the equivalent scientific terms are often provided. Also in the case of loan-words, the language of origin is usually specified. The second part of the dictionary consists of about 9 000 entries in which the English headwords, in bold and in alphabetical order, are followed by the equivalent Naro words or phrases in the conventional Naro orthography, the IPA transcription in square brackets, and the tone patterns in parentheses. No other information is provided. According to the compiler, there are more entries in this part than in the Naro-English part, because of the fact that many of the Naro words have several English equivalents. Thus it became necessary to establish more English headwords for the fewer Naro lexical items. The 16-page appendices contain lists of specific lexical items referring to animals, birds, plants, pans and numerals as well as proper names used for men and women. From the above, it is clear that this publication meets most of the requirements of a good reference dictionary, containing essential features such as head-
doi:10.5788/14-0-712 fatcat:e6ab75zgrnbprfihee6o64ojgq