Lloyd co-authors Xhosa Newspaper and Reader Lexicon

31 March 2003
DR JULIAN LLOYD of the Department of Linguistics and Southern African Languages and Literatures has recently co-authored a Xhosa self-study guide for advanced beginners or intermediate students, for American scholars.

An American publishing company, McNeil Technologies Inc, commissioned Lloyd three years ago to complete the editing process on Xhosa Newspaper Reader and Lexicon.

In an interview with Monday Paper, Lloyd said that he had enjoyed the challenge that the work had posed and felt that the end product would be very useful to students of Xhosa.

“This reader provides an advanced beginner or intermediate student of Xhosa with a variety of newspaper selections, complete with all grammatical and lexical information. It is intended for self-study, but could also be used in a classroom situation. It does not, however, replace conventional conversation learning courses,” he noted. Articles from the Xhosa newspapers, Imvo and Bona are used in the book.

“A strong memory of the project will always be the recognition of the vast amount of work that went into the project before it was passed to me for completion. I owe a good deal of thanks to others, who in the early stages of the project, assisted with the translations and the glossing process," Lloyd said.

“The publishers require that each reader include a descriptive grammar of the language, or be able to refer to a difinitive work in current circulation. The impending publication of A Linguistic Analysis of Xhosa, jointly authored by UNISA's Prof G Poulos and UCT's Prof Siswe Satyo, meant that this work could be selected to be the reference grammar for this reader.

"He is passionate about African languages and values opportunities where he can play a meaningful role in sharing his knowledge with students, a role which will be further strengthened by the pre-publication selection of his book,” Lloyd added.

According to Lloyd, the world of languages is incredibly challenging and forever changing. “My involvement in languages has changed my perceptions of languages. It has taught me to accept change,” he said.

Lloyd has been with the Department of Linguistics and Southern African Languages and Literatures for the past six years. He completed a doctoral thesis on grammaticalisation processes in Swahili and Xhosa.

He lived in East Africa from 1955 to 1964, first in Kenya and latterly in the Northern Province of Tanzania, where he acquired his knowledge and love of the Swahili language.

After a lifetime career in electronics he took a Bachelor degree in Xhosa and linguistics through the University of South Africa, and, upon retirement from work, an honours degree, followed by his doctorate, at UCT.

He now teaches Swahili at UCT and sometimes linguistics. He is also actively engaged in the development of multimedia courses in African languages. Current projects include courses for the training of health workers and those working in the legal profession.

“It is very basic work that touches on both language and culture. I believe that in order for health workers to perform optimally in the South African environment, they need to have a sufficient grasp of African languages to produce a case history of the patients they treat,” he concluded.

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