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Innovative book on isiZulu orthography launched

Ukuvamisa Imithetho Yokubhala Nobhalomagama LwesiZulu Lonyaka wezi-2021 – IsiZulu Standardisation, Spelling Rules and Orthography – a groundbreaking book on isiZulu orthography, translation and interpreting techniques and terminology processes – was launched by UKZN’s University Language Planning and Development Office (ULPDO) and the Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) on the Zoom platform.

Speaking at the launch, the Deputy Vice-Chancellor for Teaching and Learning, Professor Sandile Songca, said language was an important tool that was linked with identity. "This project strengthens the university’s resolve to intellectualise isiZulu fully," he said.

Edited by Honorary Associate Professor at UKZN and a member of IsiZulu National Language Body (IsiZulu NLB) Professor Mandla Maphumulo, who has published numerous literary works, the new book includes chapters on spelling rules and orthography, writing symbols, phonetics, capitalisation, place names, editing and proofreading.

The book deals with language usage problems in the media, especially isiZulu words that are easily confused with other words, and the unnecessary use of borrowed words instead of existing ones. Topics include the history and beginning of the development of isiZulu spelling rules and orthography and the role of isiZulu academics and missionaries in isiZulu writing.

The work further explains the technique for creating new terms and rules for translation, interpreting and writing of dictionaries.

Acting CEO of PanSALB Xolisa Tshongolo emphasised the role language plays in social cohesion. "Language is life," he said.

Songca, who also serves as the Chair of the University Language Board, thanked everyone who had contributed to Ukuvamisa Imithetho Yokubhala Nobhalomagama LwesiZulu Lonyaka wezi-2021, a revised and improved version of an earlier edition.

Programme Director and Acting Director of the ULPDO, Dr Lolie Makhubu-Badenhorst, said the launch coincided with the celebration of International Mother Language Day (IMLD), which had the theme: Fostering multilingualism for inclusion in education and society.

The online audience was treated to poetry by bard Nokulunga Majola, also known as Inyosi kaMajola.

The book is available through the publishers UKZN Press, and also from bookstores and PanSALB.

Words: Raylene Captain-Hasthibeer

Editorial contacts
Nkosinathi Bhekani Dlamini [email protected]