The Department is currently involved in a DAAD-funded project: Scientific e-lexicography for Africa. Its main partner in this endeavour is the University of Hildesheim, Germany. The main aim of this project is the preparation of electronic dictionaries for Southern Africa. Electronic dictionaries are of particular relevance for South Africa, because of its multilingual nature. Publication of printed dictionaries is not always viable for these languages, but as electronic media become more and more widespread, they are increasingly explored as vehicles for dictionaries. For further information, please see http://www.uni-hildesheim.de/iwist-cl/projects/sela/. One of the aims of the SeLA project is the development of software tools and other Human Language Technology resources for the African languages, which are rather under-resourced in this regard. One of the tools which has been developed within this collaborative framework is a hierarchical part-of-speech ontology which can be used for describing and storing the morphemic units of Sepedi and isiZulu in a single relational database. The design of the ontology is such that it can make provision for any of the African languages. For further information, please visit the SeLA website at http://www.uni-hildesheim.de/iwist-cl/projects/ontology. Within the SeLA project the spadework was done for the compilation of support tools assisting dictionary users of English / Sepedi dictionaries with complex grammatical structures such as the verbal moods, the kinship system, copulatives, etc. These support tools perform as online decision tree strategies where the user of an electronic dictionary is guided through such grammatical structures by means of a decision tree. So, for example, the user is aided by a step by step writing tool to create sentences in Sepedi. Consider in this regard the online relative builder at http://www.uni-hildesheim.de/iwist-cl/html/phpMyAdmin/Sepedi-relative/index.php. Support tools for users of electronic dictionaries are regarded as one of the future trends in e-lexicography. It also includes strategies to link processed and unprocessed corpora with electronic dictionaries, cf. videos of presentations by Prinsloo, Bothma and Heid as well as, Bothma, Heid and Prinsloo at http://eki.ee/elex2013/videos/.
Staff members regularly attend national and international conferences to present their research results. Their research results are published in accredited national and international journals. The department currently has 3 NRF rated researchers. Prof Danie Prinsloo has been a recipient of the prestigious Exceptional Achiever’s Award since 2000 up to 2014. This award is conferred based on the quality of research output and national and international scholarly standing.