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Translation and Meaning

New Series, Vol. 1


Edited By Barbara Lewandowska-Tomaszczyk, Marcel Thelen, Gys-Walt van Egdom, Dirk Verbeeck and Łukasz Bogucki

This book contains a selection of articles on new developments in translation and interpreting studies. It offers a wealth of new and innovative approaches to the didactics of translation and interpreting that may well change the way in which translators and interpreters are trained. They include such issues of current debate as assessment methods and criteria, assessment of competences, graduate employability, placements, skills labs, the perceived skills gap between training and profession, the teaching of terminology, and curriculum design. The authors are experts in their fields from renowned universities in Europe, Africa and North-America. The book will be an indispensable help for trainers and researchers, but may also be of interest to translators and interpreters.
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Marking Plural Forms in Tshivenḓa and the Study of Translation and Mass Nouns


Abstract: Tshivenḓa, one of the indigenous African languages of South Africa, is characterised by noun classes. Among others, the function of noun classes is to mark the singular and plural forms of nouns. African languages use the prefix to mark the singular and plural forms. However, not all noun classes reflect the singular and plural forms in Tshivenḓa because some represent mass nouns. As a result, translating mass nouns from languages such as English into Tshivenḓa has recently become a problem. Translators add the prefix to mass nouns to mark the plural form, which in turn distorts the meaning of words. This paper seeks to demonstrate to translators and the public that Tshivenḓa mass nouns do not have plural forms. Examples from Tshivenḓa will be analysed to illustrate this argument.

Keywords: African languages, curriculum, Tshivenḓa, mass nouns, noun class, neologism, prefix, translator training, morphology, grammar.

1. Introduction

Tshivenḓa, like other indigenous South African languages, is characterised by noun classes that are ordered in pairs. The main function of these noun classes is in fact to distinguish singular from plural forms. Unlike languages such as English, which mark the plural forms by making use of infixes and suffixes; indigenous African languages use prefixes to mark both the singular and the plural forms of nouns. However, the regular rule that forms plural and singular nouns does not apply to non-countable nouns. Newman (1990) observes that plural formations...

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