DOI: 10.5176/2251-3566_L313.27

Authors: Miss K.S Mahlangu

Abstract: The problem challenging isiNdebele as a new written language is compounds. The challenge is found in compound nouns that are formed by three to four different parts of speech. Such compound nouns are written differently, there are inconsistencies in as far as the writing of these compound nouns is concerned. Some are written with a hyphen and some are without a hyphen. The question is whether to write them without or with hyphens, if with hyphens where should one put a hyphen?
Compounding involves the joining together of two independent words to form a new word. Cluver (1989:274) states that compounding is “by far the most productive word-forming process in the Germanic languages”. A combination of two or more elements or parts. Linguistically compounding means “ A word that consists either of two or more elements that are independent words”.
According to the revised orthography and spelling rules (2008:27), the hyphen in isiNdebele is used amongst other things to separate compound nouns signifying linguistic concepts. Language is never static, it is dynamic due to new inventions and new terms that are adopted in isiNdebele and as such affect compounding. There is a rapidly development of new terms coined on daily basis and there is also an influx of new terms that isiNdebele is experiencing which also affects compounding. Language standardization is definitely part of language management. Hudson as cited by Van Huyssteen (2003:26) sees standardization as a process of intervention by society in the normal development of language. As such isiNdebele lexicographers are faced with a
challenge in taking final decisions when dealing with the lemmatization of compounds, hence the inconsistencies.
Furthermore, this article will show all the inconsistencies found in compound words that are formed by three or more parts of speech.
The aim of this article is to try to minimize the inconsistencies that are found in compound nouns formed by more than three parts of speech and come up with an acceptable strategy in the use of hyphen when writing compounds. Finally this paper will contribute towards solving these problems by offering practical approach within the context of the written standard language. Also to assist lexicographers in being consistent in their entries of compounds.


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