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South African Journal of Science

On-line version ISSN 1996-7489
Print version ISSN 0038-2353


COCKBURN, Jessica J.; KHUMALO-SEEGELKEN, Ben  and  VILLET, Martin H.. IziNambuzane: IsiZulu names for insects. S. Afr. j. sci. [online]. 2014, vol.110, n.9-10, pp.01-13. ISSN 1996-7489.

We provide a tool for communicating about insects in isiZulu to facilitate research and knowledge sharing in the fields of indigenous knowledge, cultural entomology, environmental education and community extension involving isiZulu speakers. A total of 213 different names for 64 insect specimens were encountered among a sample of 67 respondents in 11 communities distributed across the province of KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa. This list includes 93 names that can be considered core isiZulu vocabulary and which are widely used to identify insects that are agriculturally, medically, domestically, culturally or ecologically common or significant. Substantial variation was found regarding the names for particular insects, especially between regions, suggesting dialectal differences between isiZulu speakers. Grammatical and social variation in names was also recorded. This study highlights interdisciplinary teamwork in the field of indigenous knowledge research and the influences affecting the standardisation of South African languages for technical and scientific work.

Keywords : traditional indigenous knowledge; cultural entomology; folk taxonomy; language policy; lexicographic standardisation; trilingual entomological dictionary.

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