Listen to terms, phrases in 7 languages with new audio-visual dictionary
The Pan South African Language Board (PanSALB) launched the language activism month campaign today in Pretoria and has partnered with Briza Publications to develop an audio-visual dictionary.
It is the only dictionary that links key words and phrases to detailed full colour illustrations and incorporates technology where readers can listen to the pronunciation of terms and phrases in seven different languages.
Briza Publications Manager Christo Reitz said the unique educational tool will assist in the teaching and learning of vocabulary and phrases from the target language.
He said they were in the process of incorporating all the languages and said the dictionary was available for purchase on their website www.briza.co.za and in various book stores in the country.
One of the languages included in the dictionary was N/UU, the oldest surviving San language currently with only four remaining fluent speakers.
One of the last fluent speakers Katrina Esau who was at the launch said that she was happy to be part of the project where she is the voice translating in N/UU.
PanSALB acting CEO David Maahlamela said the hegemony of English posed a great threat to the survival of many languages therefore making it crucial to preserve linguistic diversity but also ensuring that a sense of pride was instilled in indigenous languages.
“We as the South African Language Board realised that there are various challenges the country was facing linguistically and one of them was already addressed through the public hearing that were helped the previous years and a report thereafter showing how our departments are still slacking in terms of implementing the enabling tool called the Use of Official Act,” he said.
He went on to say that it was not a one-sided challenge and said that some people opted to divorce their languages which had nothing to do with the government and had much to do with individual preferences.
Maahlamela said the campaign was centered on the International Language Day, a Unesco public observance day which takes place on February 21. He said various activities will be held throughout the month and will be aimed at encouraging the use of the mother tongue.
“As we celebrate our linguistic and cultural diversity and multilingualism, it is important that we continue reflecting on the Republic's use of all official languages and other languages as enshrined in the Constitution including so called dialects,” he said.