African languages get their own soccer terms

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Pretoria - Government and various language experts have gathered for a three-day workshop in Pretoria to develop the African language equivalent for English soccer terminology.

The Department of Arts and Culture, the National Language Service (NLS), the Pan South African Language Board and language specialist from various universities are among those who will be developing a vocabulary of soccer terms for the country's 10 other official languages.

The Soccer Terminology Project will ensure that all South Africans are able to participate in the 2009 FIFA Confederations Cup and 2010 FIFA World Cup, by being able to use soccer terms in their mother tongue.

A booklet containing all the words will be published in August this year.

Hatu Machaba, Director of the Terminology Coordination Section of the National Language Service (NLS) at the Department of Arts and Culture said it was a step towards breaking all language barriers in soccer during the World Cup and beyond as well as promoting multilingualism in the sports domain.

"This terminology will also help those who have sight disabilities. They will be able to follow the matches in clear, descriptive language which is characterized by vivid terms."

She explained that in October 2008 they had about 800 English soccer terms which were cut down to 300 to translate. These are the words being discussed during the workshop.

The draft document currently has 41 pages of Setswana, isiXhosa, Sepedi and Tshivenda.

Following South Africans being given the opportunity to make their inputs, the Pan South African Language Board (PANSALB) will conduct the final quality control and verification check.

The department will then make the document available to South Africans, both online and in hardcopy form, said Ms Machaka.

She said the "mammoth task" was also an opportunity to showcase an expertise in indigenous African languages than can match that of developed nations.

The conference will conclude on Friday.

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