PhD research: Theoretical underpinnings for a user-friendly, corpus-driven, semi-bilingual, digital dictionary of Swahili

January 2018 to December 2022
language use
digital product
Diachronic Corpus Linguistics
Research fields
Languages and Literatures

The Bantu language Swahili (or Kiswahili in the language) is the lingua franca of East Africa, spoken by up to 100 million first- and second-language speakers, especially in Tanzania and Kenya, but also in the neighbouring countries to their west and south. It is one of the most well-known African languages, and is taught at virtually every African-language department in the world. And yet, the existing lexicographic output is the result of a century-and-a-half-old craft rather than a modern science. The main goal of the present research project is to develop a theoretical framework for modern Swahili lexicography, which, out of necessity, will have to take the target user groups into account, will be based on actual language use (as seen in an electronic corpus), and will primarily ‘live on’ as a digital product.