Help page

Find help to navigate the different sections of Oshinglish

What it's about

Oshinglish Online is a website built as a practice project for Python and Django. This website (or project, in Django speak) is aimed to be a one-stop site for information relating to Oshiwambo culture and language. The website comprises five main sections (or web apps, in Django speak), namely: Blog, Books, Dictionary, Events, and Editing. This help page provides guidelines and helpful information on how to interact with each application. To view this information, click on the headings below.

General guidelines

This website is meant to be built by a community of users and contributors; thus, it is important to have some guidelines, to which all users must adhere. These are general guidelines that apply across the whole site. App-specific guidelines are stipulated under the help section of each app below. The overall goal of Oshinglish is to build a site with reliable, educative and accessible content. Hence the following principles matter:

  • Kindness: This is a community driven site, so by all stretch make yourself useful to others. Be nice and helpful to fellow users, even when you share a different opinion from theirs. Give constructive feedback and only add value.
  • Originality: In adding definitions and examples, make an effort to be original and avoid copying directly from other sources. The same is expected (were possible) when providing idiom meanings.
  • Generosity: Be generous with your knowledge, and share what you know.

Oshinglish Dictionary

Oshinglish Dictionary is a multilingual dictionary of English and Oshindonga (read Oshiwambo). Considering that there is a fair share of English dictionaries online, the focus of this dictionary is Oshindonga (again, read Oshiwambo). Okay, let’s clarify the issue of Oshindonga vs Oshiwambo. Oshiwambo has about eight dialects (Oshindonga, Oshikwanyama, Oshikwambi, Oshimbaantu, Oshimbadja, Oshingandjera, Oshikwaluudhi, Oshikolonkadhi), but for the purpose of this application, one was chosen. The reasons being: one, for standardisation purpose (that is, to have a dictionary that is consistent in its content), and two, out of the two commonly used dialects in education (i.e., Oshindonga and Oshikwanyama), the web developer is more comfortable with the former. However, effort is made for words to be represented in various dialects through inclusion of synonyms. The good part, yet again, is that this site is by no means cast in stone. That is to say suggestions for changes and improvements are welcome.

While the focus of the dictionary is Oshindonga (you can continue reading Oshiwambo), English is an integral part of the dictionary by design. As a matter of fact, an English word is the first point of entry for every record in the database. This is both a design choice and a convenience matter, enabling the dictionary to be searchable using both English and Oshindonga words. To clarify this, the process of updating the database/dictionary with new entries follows the following pattern:

English word ==> Oshindonga word ==> Definition (& or Oshindonga Idiom) ==> Example

This means an English word needs to be entered first before its Oshindonga equivalent. An Oshindonga word (or words) is added as a translation (or translations) of the English word that already exists in the database. Once an English-Oshindonga pair is created, it can then be defined. Therefore, no definition can be added in the absence of the pair to be defined from the database. (At this point an Oshindonga idiom can also be added.) Once a definition exists, usage examples of that meaning can be added both in English and Oshindonga.

Following are detailed instructions on how to add and modify entries in the dictionary (NB: Only registered users are able to add and modify entries):

Adding English words

  • To add an English word click Add English Words on the menu.
  • English words should be unique, which means no more than one exact same English word can be added (you will soon understand why, hopefully). Thus, one way to check whether an English word already exists, apart from search it on the search page, is by attempting to add it. If it goes through, it never existed; if it exists, it will display a duplicate error message.
  • Enter the English word and choose the word case, that is, whether it’s a normal word, abbreviation, or proper noun. (This option allows the system to capitalise the word appropriately before saving it to the database. By default normal is selected). Click submit to save the entry.

Adding Oshindonga words

  • To add an Oshindonga word click Add Oshindonga Words on the menu.
  • Unlike English words, Oshindonga words don’t need to be unique. The same word can be entered more than once as long as it’s linked to different English words. Thus, pairs should be unique, no more than one exact same English-Oshindonga pair should exist. (To exemplify, the word “omweelo” can exist more than once in the following pairs: gate|omweelo & door|omweelo).
  • When adding an Oshindonga word, first choose the corresponding English word from the dropdown list (See why English words need to be entered first?). Enter the Oshindonga word, select the words case as described under English section above, choose the phonetics characteristics (if available), then click submit to save the entry.

Adding definitions

  • To add a definition click Add Definitions on the menu.
  • To avoid duplicate definitions, first ascertain that the definition you wish to enter does not already exist by searching the words you wish to define on the search page.
  • To add a definition first select the word pair you wish to define from the dropdown list (Tips: while on this page, the right sidebar will display random word pairs that have not yet been defined).
  • Once a word pair is selected, choose the part of speech of the definition (e.g., noun, verb, etc.). Depending on the part of speech selected, extra options, such as verb tenses or noun plurals in Oshindonga, will be displayed.
  • Next, you may add Oshindonga synonyms of the word you’re defining (this is where you can bring in the variants of that word from any other dialects).
  • Finally, add the English definition and the corresponding Oshindonga definition and click submit to save the entry.

Adding usage examples

  • To add a usage example to a definition click Add Definitions Examples on the menu.
  • To add an example, first select the definition you wish to exemplify from the dropdown list (Tips: while on this page, the right sidebar will display random definitions that have not yet been exemplified).
  • Once a definition is selected, add the English example and the corresponding Oshindonga example and click submit to save the entry.

Adding Oshindonga idioms

  • To add Oshindonga idioms click Add Oshindonga Idioms on the menu.
  • To add an idiom, first select the word pair that has an Oshindonga word that features in the idiom you wish to add.
  • Finally, enter the idiom and its meaning; then click submit to save it to the database.

Adding Oshindonga Phonetics

To be implemented later
  • To add Oshindonga phonetics click Add Oshindonga Phonetics on the menu.
  • Phonetic characteristics (pronunciations and phonetic transcriptions) live in a separate table (or model in Django speak) in the database, which is different from the table for Oshindonga words referred to above. This table is not linked to the English table, and thus it can be updated with Oshindonga words regardless of whether corresponding English words exist or nah. This table contains [unique] Oshindonga words with their pronunciations and phonetic transcriptions. These phonetic characteristics can then be made available to the Oshindonga words in the other main table/model by means of foreign key reference to this table.
  • Adding entries to this table involves…

Important conventions

For consistency sake, it is required that contributors observe the following entry conventions:
  • By convention, when entering new words (both English and Oshindonga), all ordinary/normal words will be saved in all small caps. Proper nouns are saved with the first letter capitalised while abbreviations are saved in all caps.
  • While the above formatting is, by large, applied automatically based on the word case option chosen, contributors should always strive to enter words with appropriate casing.
  • If you’ve ever been in an English class (of course, you have), you’ve probably heard that active voice is better than passive voice. So why not go for the better (where possible)? In both languages, that is. For example, "The boy kicked the ball." is apparently better than "The ball was kicked by the boy."
  • Start example sentences with a capital letter and end sentences with appropriate punctuation.
  • Definition entries in both languages should start with a lower case letter.
  • Start all English verb definitions with the word “to.” For example, the definition of kill might read, “to end the life of…” (or something like that, really). If you think this is a ridiculous definition, wait until you start entering some yourself. Start all Oshindonga verb definitions with the word “oku.” For example, the definition of dhipaga might read, “oku hulitha po omwenyo…” Smh…not even Oshindonga is easy.
  • Avoid simplistic, stock examples. Make an effort to provide context in examples. For example, if you are defining the word okalunda (or is it okandunda), “Ondi hole okalunda,” is of little help to someone who doesn't know what the word okalunda means, and they would have a hard time making out its meaning from that. A better revision of that example would read, “Molwashoka okwa li ta u lokwa, onda kutha okalunda kandje ha okaluudhe opo kandi mote/tute.”