What is the ALLEX Project?

ALLEX is an acronym for the African Languages Lexical Project, it seeks:

  • to provide the population of Zimbabwe with dictionaries and other language tools for the African languages used in the country.
  • to train Zimbabwean linguists at the University of Zimbabwe as lexicographers and practical language planners
  • to lay the foundation for a centre for lexicography and language planning for the native languages of Southern Africa, placed at the University of Zimbabwe
  • to improve research opportunities in lexicography, African languages and linguistics generally at all participating universities

ALLEX Project Organization

The ALLEX Project is a joint cooperative project between the Universities of Oslo and Zimbabwe, organized and financed under the NUFU agreement (Project nr 28/96 for the period 1996-2001 and 18/2002 for the period 2002-2006). The University of Gothenburg has also participated in the ALLEX Project from the start in 1992. As in all NUFU projects, the concept is that ALLEX should be a development project between equal partners, all of whom benefit from the co-operation.

Time Schedule

The ALLEX Project was planned as a project in four phases, each of which would result in publication of one or more monolingual dictionaries:

Phase 1 1992 - 1995

  • General Shona Dictionary: Duramazwi reChiShona
  • Corpus of spoken Shona (ca 1.2 mill words)

Phase 2 1996 - 1999 (running into year 2000)

  • General Ndebele Dictionary
  • Corpus of spoken and written Ndebele (1.3 million words)
  • Advanced Shona Dictionary
  • Corpus of spoken and written Shona (expanded to 2 mill words)

Phase 3 2001 - 2006

  • Scholar's Shona Dictionary (junior level)
  • Advanced Ndebele Dictionary
  • Dictionary of Musical terms (two volumes, one for Shona and on for Ndebele)
  • Dictionary of Linguistic and Literary terms (Shona)

Phase 4 2006 - and beyond

  • Scholar's Ndebele Dictionary (junior level)
  • General dictionaries for other Zimbabwean Languages Other projects, in order of priority From the initial, general dictionaries, which are stored as databases, it will be possible to develop dictionaries for special language, for special educational needs, and bilingual dictionaries.
  • Glossary of ZimSign with glosses in Shona, Ndebele and English · Glossaries of science and technical fields of knowledge
  • Bilingual dictionaries (e. g. Shona-Ndebele/Ndebele-Shona, Shona and Ndebele to and from English/French/Swahili/Chewa)