SA’s first trilingual wine dictionary available online
SOUTH Africa’s first trilingual wine dictionary is published digitally because the pace of developments in wine biotechnology would quickly make it redundant in paper format, project manager Michele van der Merwe said on Monday.
The country has a large wine industry, with 3,527 primary producers and 831,2-million litres of wine produced last year, according to industry figures.
The free online dictionary consists of 3,500 terms in English, Afrikaans and isiXhosa. The last wine dictionary was published in 1973.
"We live in a multilingual country where an increasing number of isiXhosa speakers in the Western Cape are becoming involved in the wine industry," said Dr van der Merwe, who is employed by the University of Stellenbosch.
The project is an initiative of Winetech, the body that co-ordinates the allocation of funding in the wine industry, Anel Andrag, manager at Winetech, said on Monday. However, she could not divulge the extent of the funding for the dictionary.
"The dictionary is one of our technology transfer projects," she said. "South African Wine Industry Statistics (responsible for industry information and the certification of wine) helped us with the software and database development.
"The aim was to help newcomers to the industry. There are a lot of isiXhosa-speaking people coming to the industry."
The dictionary’s website says it seeks to develop isiXhosa "as an academic language in which tertiary-level students can communicate".
At the moment, the wine terms are listed in English, isiXhosa and Afrikaans, although the explanations are only in English. Dr van der Merwe said that the next stage would be translating the explanations into the other two languages.
For example, "grippy" — "krapperig" in Afrikaans and "burhabaxa" in isiXhosa — is "a wine-tasting term describing a wine with a rough mouth-feel".
"Pearl glands" — "pêrelkliere" in Afrikaans or "idlala kwiqunube" in isiXhosa — are the "natural excrement found on the underside of young grape leaves, petioles and shoots during early summer".
When asked whether having the dictionary online would mean it was only available to South Africans with access to computers, Dr van der Merwe said: "It is aimed at students at the university (Stellenbosch has a viticulture programme), and most of the students have access to the internet."
However, there was an option on the site to print a copy of the dictionary, she said.
"There are no plan to print a book. It is too expensive, and because of all the changes in technology and biotechnology it would be impossible to keep up with the new developments," she said.