The Oxford multilingual dictionary to encourage bilingualism in schools

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Through Murphy nganga Jul 13, 2021

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Cape Town – In order to help children develop their language skills in their mother tongue, Oxford University Press South Africa has published the second edition of the Oxford First Bilingual Dictionary to address the challenges students face due to a lack of understanding of vocabulary and grammar in their mother tongue.

While most students are forced to acquire an additional first language in the basic phase, our multilingual culture also includes students who struggle to adapt to English as a language of learning and teaching.

First grade teacher Nosiphiwo Ntlemeza said that in most schools, the lack of resources to teach in the mother tongue was the main problem.

“I have noticed that the Xhosa students in the schools I have taught are very similar in the sense that they are so ashamed to use or speak in their mother tongue and it prevents them from learning and understanding more of their language. culture and especially not embrace their language.

“The main problem with this is that schools do not have enough Xhosa resources, such as books and posters, which would put more emphasis on the language. For example, why can’t non-Xhosa teachers learn the basic Xhosa language or vocabulary that they can use in the classroom or install in the classroom. Currently in my school I have to teach Afrikaans and I know little Afrikaans but luckily I am able to teach the required basics but nevertheless I think this dictionary will benefit our children and our non-Xhosa speakers in all of them to learn the language and these are dialects, ”Ntlemeza said.

Oxford University Press South Africa editor-in-chief Linda Roos said the program specifies that the vocabulary should come from the environment familiar to the child.

“To ensure that children acquire, apply knowledge and skills in a meaningful way to their own lives, the curriculum states that a child’s vocabulary should come from their daily environment in order to facilitate vocabulary building. and to deepen his understanding so that the child can become actively and critically literate and not simply learn to repeat sounds by rote.

“Research has shown that a bilingual dictionary is the best for promoting vocabulary understanding. This means that the dictionary will help increase a child’s ability to read and write as their vocabulary, comprehension, and mastery of grammar increases.

“The dictionary will also provide plenty of opportunities for asking questions, telling and listening to stories, playing language games, playing scenarios and practicing conversations,” Roos said.

The Oxford First bilingual dictionary is now available in Zulu / Xhosa / Afrikaans / Sesotho sa leboa / Setswana / Sesotho English. The thematic dictionaries spreads provide the basic high-frequency vocabulary children need to start speaking, while the rich color illustrations provide further opportunities for vocabulary development, storytelling, and language games.

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