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Chimhundu: Adaptation and adoption in Shona

Dr Chimhundu's doctoral dissertation is here provided in a limited facsimile edition of 100 copies, to meet insistent demand for its wider distribution, coupled with a well founded fear (expressed by the University of Zimbabwe Library) that the two existing copies will be used and studied to the point of physical disintegration. A revised and updated version incorporating later research findings and policy developments is under preparation by Dr Chimhundu, and will in due course be published as part of the ALRI series of works on the African languages of Zimbabwe .

Adaptation and adoption in Shona was originally submitted as a dissertation for a doctorate of philology, which was awarded in 1983 by the University of Zimbabwe . The issues dealt with here have remained topical, and requests from individuals, teaching departments and libraries to have it published for wider circulation have been increasing, especially after

•  the Intergovernmental Conference on Language Policies in Africa ( Harare 1997)

•  the Report on the Formulation of a National Language Policy ( Zimbabwe 1998)

•  the Report of the Presidential Commission of Enquiry into Education and Training ( Zimbabwe 1998),

all of which have contributed to make an explicit Zimbabwean language policy a matter of general public demand.


This facsimile edition is a photographic copy of a copy of the original typewritten manuscript, as its appearance testifies. It should be regarded as a combined stopgap and salvage operation. If Dr. Chimhundu had written a pioneering study of a language from the industrialised West, this effort would not have been necessary, for the book would probably have run through many printings and editions already, and been generally available. It is a sobering thought to consider how much of the scholarship expended on the less documented languages of the world, probably never reaches its proper readership. The African Languages Lexical Project (ALLEX), a NUFU funded cooperation project between the Universities of Gothenburg, Oslo and Zimbabwe, regards it as a legitimate concern to make sure that this work, at least, is given a wider circulation.


Oddrun Grønvik

Academic Coordinator of the ALLEX Project at the University of Oslo


Oslo , July 2002