Starting with Xhosa English towards a spoken corpus
This paper describes the underlying motivation for the proposed structure and design of a corpus of Xhosa English, which aims ultimately to form part of a larger corpus of Black South African English (BSAE). The planned corpus will be exclusively based on spoken spontaneous Xhosa English, and full justification for this decision is provided in the paper. In particular the paper argues that the current South African English component of the International Corpus of English (ICE) cannot be regarded as representative of any particular variety of South African English, because of the wide range of Englishes spoken in the country (by mother-tongue speakers, Indians, white and coloured Afrikaans speakers and the speakers of South Africa's nine indigenous languages). In addition, the article problematises theoretical concepts such as deciding what “educated” or standard English is (in a multilingual country with a very complex socio-political history), and argues that some of the text categories of ICE and other spoken corpora are inappropriate for the planned Xhosa English corpus.
Keywords: ICE, private naturalistic conversation, South African English, Black South African English (BSAE), spoken corpus
Published online: 18 October 2002
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