Lexicography: Notes on Xhosa Lore and Language (1909–1934)

UKZN Press
384 pages - 230mm x 150mm
Paperback / softback (9781869144043)
Digital download (9781869144050)

Robert Godfrey’s major contribution to Xhosa-language studies is his revised and expanded edition, published in 1915, of Albert Kropf’s classic Kafir-English Dictionary (1899). As a member of the staff of the Blythswood Institution, Godfrey edited the Blythswood Review, and in 1924, in preparation for a third edition of the Dictionary, he commenced an extended series of articles under the title Lexicography. Through these columns he invited his readers to supply him with the Xhosa names for birds and animals. The scope and range of the articles expanded, and he increasingly incorporated into his column quotations from pupils’ essays on Xhosa lore and language. Selections from these articles comprise Godfrey’s Bird-lore of the Eastern Cape Province (1941), now long out of print, and an article that Godfrey wrote on John Bennie (1934), but the articles as originally printed and as assembled here contain considerably more information, on a wider range of topics, and demonstrate the development of his knowledge. Godfrey’s contributions to the Blythswood Review contain invaluable knowledge on aspects of the domestic lives and language of the Xhosa-speaking peoples, much of it expressed in the Xhosa words of his informants, information on proverbs and riddles and taboos, on children’s games and bird-lore, on hlonipha words and the Xhosa words for flora and fauna, on the months of the year and place names, on Xhosa grammmar and the linguistic achievements of John Bennie, whose transcription of the Xhosa language became the earliest standard spelling system. Also included in this volume is an extensive collated list of lexical definitions intended for inclusion in the third edition of the Dictionary, which in the event was never published. Altogether, this collection of Godfrey’s articles constitutes a significant source of information on the folklore of the Xhosa-speaking peoples and the state of their language in the early decades of the twentieth century.

Preparatory to “Lexicography”
Part 1 Lore
Prefatory note
Chapter 1 Bird names and bird lore
Chapter 2 Children’s games
Chapter 3 Riddles
Chapter 4 Proverbs
Chapter 5 Taboos
Part 2 Language
Chapter 6 Historical sketch of Xosa lexicography
Chapter 7 Notes on vocabulary: additions to the Dictionary
Chapter 8 Hlonipa words
Chapter 9 Flora and fauna
Chapter 10 The year
Chapter 11 Place names
Chapter 12 John Bennie
Chapter 13 Grammar
Part 3 Reviews and reminiscences
Chapter 14 The Phonetics of the Zulu Language by Clement M. Doke, M.A., D.Litt.
Chapter 15 The late Rev. H.N. Bonar
Chapter 16 Reminiscences of Blythswood
Chapter 17 Bantu Studies for March
Chapter 18 Albert Kropf, “Preface to A Kaffir-English Dictionary” (1899)
Chapter 19 Robert Godfrey, “Preface to the Second Edition” (1915)
Chapter 20 W.G.B[ennie], “The revision of Kropf’s Kafir Dictionary” (1916)
Chapter 21 J.L., “A Kafir-English Dictionary, by Rev. Albert Kropf, D.D. Second Edition by Rev. Robert Godfrey, M.A.
Chapter 22 Lovedale Mission Press, pp. xxxii. and 525” (1916)