Libmonster ID: UK-1412
Author(s) of the publication: M. R. URB

M. R. URB

Candidate of Philological Sciences

Institute of Asian and African Studies, Moscow State University

An event that has long been expected by specialists and teachers working with the languages of South Africa has taken place in Russian African studies.

We are talking about the "Zulu-Russian Dictionary"*, first published in Russia. This is the fruit of many years of painstaking and hard work of its compiler - Anatoly Demyanovich Lutskov, an Africanist, Candidate of Philological Sciences, senior researcher at the Institute of Linguistics of the Russian Academy of Sciences, an experienced teacher.

In our country, A. D. Lutskov is a unique and unique specialist in the Zulu language. Over many years of scientific and teaching activities, the scientist has made a versatile and profound contribution to the study of this language. He published a number of books and numerous scientific articles on African philology. It is enough to mention his work "Fundamentals of Zulu Grammar", published in 2004, which is the first and so far only systematic and detailed description of the grammar of the Zulu language in Russian African studies.

The author of the dictionary has shown himself to be a researcher who tracks the processes in the vocabulary of the Zulu language and has an academic approach. While working on the dictionary, he used texts of various genres as sources: periodicals, art works, folklore texts, etc. In addition, most of the material was collected by A. D. Lutskov during the years of work (1970-early 1990) as an editor and announcer in the African editorial office of the Radio Committee, where he conducted broadcasting in Zulu to South Africa. The author's teaching of the Zulu language at the Department of African Studies at the ISAA of Moscow State University was undoubtedly useful in creating the dictionary. Thus, the dictionary was created on the fertile ground of pedagogical practice and science.

"Zulu-Russian Dictionary" is intended for the widest range of readers-specialists in the field of African linguistics, teachers and students, translators, and all those who are interested in this language.

There are many reasons why such a dictionary should be published. Zulu is important to study not only as a subject of scientific research, but also as a means of communication, since it is the largest African language in South Africa, as well as one of the 11 state languages under the new constitution of the country.

In recent years, there has been a very active process of updating the vocabulary of the modern Zulu language. New layers of words and terms appear in the socio-political, economic and cultural spheres. Such changes make it necessary to reflect them in the reference manual.

On the other hand, relations between Russia and South Africa continue to expand, which naturally places high demands on language communication at all levels. In this regard, the training of highly qualified Afrikanists and translators with Zulu knowledge in the fields of diplomacy, science, culture, business and tourism deserves special attention in our country. The Zulu language ranks first among other African languages in terms of the total number of speakers in South Africa: 11 million people consider it their native language, another 15 million. they use it as a second language in everyday communication**.

Zulu, along with the closely related Xhosa, Swazi, and Ndebele languages, belongs to the Nguni group of the southeastern Bantu language family. The languages of this group in South Africa are spoken by about 40% of the country's Africans. The majority of the local Zulu-speaking population is concentrated in Kwazulu-Natal province, where it is the main means of communication. The peculiarity of the Zulu language is that it has long crossed the provincial boundaries in its use. In the large industrial and mining centers of the country (Mpumalanga and Gauteng provinces), Zulu serves as the language of interethnic communication and is widely used in a multi-lingual working environment.

The status of the Zulu language as a "state language", which was declared in 1994, significantly increased its role and prestige in the country, as well as expanded the scope of its use. It is the official language of the administration and the judiciary at the regional level. There is reason to believe that Zulu will become the third most important and widespread language in South Africa after English and Afrikaans.

In the education system, Zulu is the language of instruction in primary schools, in teacher training institutions, and in the leading universities of the country, Zulu is studied not only as a subject, but also scientific work is carried out to study it. Currently, Zulu has poetry and prose, popular science and nonfiction literature, periodicals, and research papers, mainly in philology. Artistic literature


* Zulu-Russian dictionary (with a short grammatical essay), approx. 20 thousand words (Isichazamazwi-isizulu - isirashiya). M., URSS, 2014. 288 p.

** South Africa has a population of over 53 million.

*** Afrikaans is one of the official languages of South Africa. For the majority of the white and colored population of South Africa and Namibia, it is the native language, with about 10 million speakers.

page 76

Zulu has a lot to do with folklore. Zulu television offers viewers regular newscasts and shows, while Zulu's Ukhozi FM is considered the largest radio station in Africa and attracts the largest daytime audience in the country.

Currently, Zulu is considered to be perhaps the most studied African language in South Africa due to its prevalence in the country and beyond, as, for example, its Ndebele dialect in Zimbabwe. Among the most serious and complete works on the description of the language, we should mention the works of the German linguist W. Bleek, one of the greatest experts on Bantu languages, the South African linguist, the British Africanist K. Doc, the Zulu poet, novelist and scholar B. Vilakazi, the Zulu writer and philologist S. Nyembezi, the South African linguists B. van Eeden, D. Ziervogel, D. Malcolm and others. etc. To this day, the most complete dictionary of the Zulu language is the Zulu-English Dictionary by K. Doc and B. Vilakazi, first published in 1949 and has gone through several editions. Under the auspices of the South African Language Board (Pan South African Language Board), established in 1995, serious lexicographic work on the Zulu language is carried out and a large volume of educational literature and Zulu dictionaries of various types (explanatory, bilingual, thematic) is produced.

All of the above factors emphasize the importance and importance of learning the Zulu language, which provides mutual understanding when communicating with native speakers of other Nguni languages, serves as a means of communication for representatives of other Bantu peoples outside their ethnic territory, and is intended to perform the functions of the state language in certain areas of public life.

Thus, the practical significance of A. D. Lutskov's dictionary is obvious both in the field of teaching, translation and research, and in strengthening cultural ties between Russia and South Africa, since it contains all the necessary ethno-cultural information about the Zulu people.

In the "Zulu-Russian dictionary" there are about 20 thousand words and phrases of the modern Zulu language with a detailed development of the meanings of Zulu words. It includes the most commonly used vocabulary from the main Zulu vocabulary pool, as well as a wide range of new vocabulary. The material is well illustrated with examples from Zulu literature and periodicals. Dictionary entries also provide an interpretation of proverbs, sayings, and phraseological units that play an important role in Zulu life. With the help of the dictionary, you can read texts of varying complexity and a wide variety of topics, excluding only highly specialized literature.

As a supplement to the main body of the dictionary, it contains a short Zulu grammar outline that facilitates practical use of the dictionary, and two appendices: information about Nguni languages and a list of ideophones. It is important to note that the high degree of selectivity of the material in the essay, consistency in its presentation and carefully selected language examples contribute to a better understanding of the grammar of the Zulu language.

Special attention should be paid to the appendix on the Nguni languages with a comparative analysis of the phonetic features of the languages of this group. Since the languages are closely related, this makes it possible to use a real dictionary to translate texts not only in Zulu, but also in Xhosa and Swazi, if you know the main phonetic differences between them.

Undoubtedly, the creation of the "Zulu-Russian Dictionary" is one of the creative achievements of A. D. Lutskov , a researcher and teacher.

As a theoretical literature, the dictionary is a valuable contribution to the study of the Zulu language. It is hoped that this work will find a lively response among specialists and will contribute to solving common problems of African linguistics. As educational literature, such a dictionary will serve as an indispensable tool for mastering the modern Zulu language and, in combination with the aforementioned book "Fundamentals of Zulu Grammar", will consistently ensure that the first most important African language of South Africa is studied at the university.

It is with great regret that this dictionary is being published at a time when the teaching of the Zulu language in our country has been discontinued. In this regard, I would like to express my hope that the Zulu-Russian Dictionary will mark the beginning of the resumption of full-fledged and systematic study of the Zulu language at the Institute of Asian and African Countries of Moscow State University and at the Russian Higher School.

* * *

In conclusion, it should be noted that A. D. Lutskov is not only a talented researcher, but also a writer. He is the author of the collection of short stories "Ordinary Africa" (Moscow, Solsmi-Press, 2004) and the novel "Once upon a Time in Africa" (Moscow, ACT - East-West, 2006). 4 other novels of his, which are a kind of "African" series, and they can be attributed to the category of "exotic detective", as well as several novels, have not yet been published. The novels are united by the fact that the action in them mostly takes place in Africa, and the main character is a Russian who, by the nature of his activity or by the will of fate, finds himself in extraordinary circumstances and is forced to overcome them in order to preserve his freedom, and sometimes even his life.

A. D. Lutskov's works of art evoke a "presence effect"in the reader. The author, a 1967 graduate of the Moscow State University's IVY Institute (he studied in the first Swahili language group), has been to Africa more than once. In the mid-1960s, he worked in Tanzania as a Swahili translator for a group of Soviet agricultural specialists; in 1965, he and Boris Baidakov, an English translator (from the Faculty of Philology of Leningrad State University), became the first of our compatriots to climb Kilimanjaro, the highest peak in Africa.

A. D. Lutskov writes in a truly fascinating way, with the involvement of many unusual details. He pays great attention to the vivid depiction of life on the Black Continent as a whole, the peculiarities of the mentality of Africans, their religious views and beliefs, customs and lifestyle, folklore, and the logic of their actions. The undoubted advantage of his literary activity is his excellent command of the word. He writes in simple yet imaginative Russian.

It is safe to say that any of the works of A. D. Lutskov will serve as a good additional material that precedes acquaintance with Africa and the study of African languages.


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