VI, 186 pp.
1 map, 6 tables, 6 charts
Text language: English
The !Xun language, or as proposed by some researchers, the !Xun language family, consists of a wide variety of dialects that spread from central Angola to northern Namibia and northwestern Botswana. It is considered part of the Khoisan language family and as such shares some lexical and grammatical forms with other South African Khoisan languages. It is, however, unclear whether these similarities stem from a genuine genetic inheritance or merely are a product of language contact. In fact, intelligibility even among the !Xun speakers is fairly low. !Xun speakers of central Angola do not understand !Xun speakers of eastern Namibia and vice versa. Yet clearly defined language borders are not to be found. Therefore all 11-15 dialect forms, depending on the source, must be seen as part of a single, if complex, language.
The work presented here found its beginnings in the year 2000 in preparation of a forthcoming grammatical description of the northwestern dialect cluster done by the authors in the Eenhana District of northern Namibia. As such, the lexical and grammatical items will be intelligible to most !Xun speakers ranging from southern Angola to northern Namibia. Differences to southeastern varieties of the border region of Namibia and Botswana, however, are too pronounced to be of use in that dialect cluster. Of the dialects covered in this work, approximately 15,000 speakers are reported.
The dictionary is introduced with a short phonological overview of the rather complex vowel and consonant system. A short grammatical sketch detailing the noun class system and the isolating structure of the language follows. The !Xun-English part of the dictionary comprises of about 4,200 entries, the English-!Xun part of about 3,200 entries.