Entries explained

How to Read an Entry in this Dictionary


When you look in the dictionary, you will see many lines of words.  Some look similar to the example below:


        bukutu  n  pot for sauce  ka bukutu


Here’s what the words mean:


  • The word bukutu in bold is called the ‘entry’.  All the words after it give information about this word.  All entries are listed according to the order of the Belanda Bor alphabet letters.  See the Belanda Bor Aphlabet Order below for the list of letters in order.  Entries that are nouns are in the singular form (only one of the noun). Entries that are verbs are in the incomplete form of the verb (following ‘be, is’).
  • Next, the letter n in italics shows the word category (type of word) of the entry is a noun.  See the Word Category Abbreviations below for a list of all possible word category abbreviations.
  • Next, the words pot for sauce is the definition of the entry and shows its meaning in English.
  • The next words ka bukutu in bold is the plural of the entry. It is how to say more than one of the noun. Only entries that are nouns have a plural form. The words ka, nying, or nyi before a noun show it is plural. Many nouns do not have a plural form.


Here is another entry.


caay  v.t  find, search for


  • caay is the entry.  It can follow ‘be, is’ as an incomplete verb.
  • v.t shows the word category of the entry is a transitive verb (an action that can have an object).
  • Find, search for is the definition.


Here is another entry.


kïc1  [kɪ᷆c]{kïy danɔ}n  orphan, orphanhood  ka kïc


  • There is a small number 1 after the entry kïc1.  This means there is another word kïc2 that has the same letters but a completely different meaning.  The word kïc1 means ‘orphan, orphanhood’ and kïc2 means ‘belly, stomach’.  The two words are not related, and just happen to have the same spelling.
  • [kɪ᷆c] shows the pronunciation in an alphabet used for all languages of the world. This is so that people who don’t know Belanda Bor can pronounce the word correctly. The tone mark above the vowel letter [ ɪ᷆] helps everyone see the difference in tone between kïc [kɪ᷆c] ‘orphan’ (with Mid-Low tone) and kïc [kɪ́c] ‘belly’ (with High tone).
  • The bold words between braces {kïy danɔ} show the modified form of the entry. When kïc comes before a word that modifies (describes) it, such as the possessor danɔ ‘person’, it becomes kïy.
  • n shows the word category is a noun.
  • orphan, orphanhood is the definition.
  • ka kïc is the plural form.


Now look at another example entry.


cak  [cák] n  1) milk   2) breast, chest


  • cak is the entry and singular form of the noun. There is no plural form.
  • [cák] shows the prononciation and tone.
  • nshows the entry is a noun.
  • Next, we read 1) milk 2) breast, chest.  These are two definitions (meanings) of the entry, where the definitions are related (similar) in some way.  1) tradition, milk is the most common meaning.  2)  is the next most common meaning.


Now look at this entry.


lɛb mac  (lɛb tongue, mac fire) n  flame  ka lɛb mac

lɛb  [lɛ́b] n  tongue {lɛb mac}


  • lɛb mac is the entry
  • The words (lɛb tongue, mac fire) show that lɛb mac ‘flame’ is made from the two words lɛb ‘tongue’ and mac ‘fire’. The two words joined together have different meaning than the meaning of either of the two words when they are separate. The bold words between parentheses lɛb, mac are also listed as separate entries.
  • When you go to the entry lɛb, the word {lɛb mac} is listed as a subentry between braces { }.  We donꞌt know the meaning of {lɛb mac} by looking at the entry lɛb. To learn this, we must go to the entry lɛb mac.


Now look at another entry.


alingba  Bw (Bviri)  n  eagle


  • The words Bw (Bviri) show this entry alingba is borrowed from Bviri. Other entries may be borrowed from Arabic or Zande.


Here is one final entry.


-e1  Spelling Variant  ye (s)he, him, her


  • The dash before -e shows the entry must always be attached to the end of a word such as kaade ‘he went’ in Ye ayeeng kaade ti yat. ‘He challenged and went under a tree.’ Sometimes entries have a dash afterwards such as a-. This means the entry must always be attached to the beginning of a word such as ayeeng ‘challenged’.
  • The small number 1 after the entry -e1 means there is another entry -e2 that has the same letters but a completely different meaning.
  • Spelling Variant  ye means the entry –e is another way of spelling ye ‘(s)he, him, her’. Ye is used after verbs with final vowel such as in Ye üꞌdaara ye ki ŋwec ‘He will defeat him in the race.’ The –e is attached to verbs with final consonant such as atuuꞌd ‘tied’ in Tɔ atuuꞌde ‘Death tied him.’