This revision is based on the first edition of 1995 produced by Jean Ewane Etame. Before his untimely death on November 21, 2009, Papa Ewane worked tirelessly to improve the dictionary and left 80 pages of notes indicating necessary corrections and additions to the first edition. During a time of research, SIL linguist Kent Spielmann also introduced words and phrases into the database. Faced with the large number of additions proposed by Jean Ewane, I thought it desirable to ensure that this material not be lost. As a result, the vocabulary has increased from 2580 entries in the 1995 version to 3750 entries in this release. The French index has also increased from 3720 items to 4167.
Without direct contact with Mkaa’ speakers, there are still so many questions concerning the orthograpy, the designation of parts of the speech, the identification of the nominal class of certain nouns as well as the precise definition of a good number of words. As a result, this version should be considered as a work in progress that needs much improvement. In addition, many words and phrases have not yet been collected and are waiting to be added to this dictionary.
Robert Hedinger, February 2017
My wife and I met Mr. EWANE ETAME for the first time on January 21, 1994. During this brief meeting, we were impressed by the quality of the work he had done on the writing of mkaaʼ, without having previously had any training in linguistics. The vowels, the consonants and even the tones had been transcribed in a precise and remarkable way. All that remained was an update according to the General Alphabet of Cameroonian Languages, and the development of a certain number of spelling rules.
This lexicon truly is, considering the whole vocabulary and the codification of the Mkaaʼ language, the fruit of several years of effort. I would personally request that the Bakaka community express to the author of this work a hearty congratulations, especially since he did so without any material benefit.
This edition contains the basic elements of a classical lexicon, namely: the mkaaʼ headword, the grammatical category, one or more meanings, and, for nominals, the form of the plural as well as the total associations to the nominal classes.
This dictionary will be expanded later, by adding useful words that are not yet in it but which certainly exist, along with example sentences and their translation, idiomatic expressions, synonyms, antonyms, indications of the source language of borrowed words, the scientific names of flora and fauna, etc.
My second and final wish is that this lexicon by Jean EWANE ETAME serve to encourage the Bakaka community to appreciate at best the rich treasure of their language, and the need for them to participate in the development of its written form.