The lexical entries consist of Bongili words which are listed in this dictionary in alphabetical order. By following this order, compound consonants are not considered separate or separate letters.
The lexical entries of verbs only constitute their stems preceded by a hyphen to indicate that a prefix has been removed at this place. This is done in order to avoid a very long list of words beginning with bo- (the verb infinitive prefix). The reader will therefore have to look for a verb by considering the initial of the radical as the first letter.
Homographs are words with different meanings that have the same spelling. In this dictionary, homographs are indicated by a numerical index (1, 2, 3, …). However, the difference in tones is indicated in the phonetic transcription. But, when the pronunciation is the same, all the meanings of the word are grouped together in the same lexical entry and each meaning is indicated by a numbering (1), 2), 3) …).
shango1 [ʃáŋgó]: father
shango2 [ʃaŋgo]: new
Phonetic transcription indicates the pronunciation of the lexical entry. It is placed just after this entry. In the phonetic transcription the tones are indicated: the high tone by an acute accent on a vowel and the low tone is not marked. Nevertheless, the tone is not marked on the vowel of the prefix, nor on the final vowel of the verbs, because the tone on these vowels is variable according to the context of the sentence.
ekokolo [ekókóló]: shell, bark
boshango [boʃáŋgó]: paternal side, paternity
Pronunciation variants are the pronunciations of the same word attested in the language, either for the same variety or for another variety. In this dictionary we find the pronunciation variants in parentheses, just after the phonetic realization of the main entry. These pronunciation variants do not constitute entries in their own right.
akpi [akpí] (var:akwi): other, others
The abbreviation Pl: indicates the plural of the noun. This mark is placed just after the phonetic realization of the main entrance. When a word has a variant, it is placed after the variant. The form of the verb conjugated in the past is indicated by (past: ...) and is placed just after the phonetic realization.
mbwandé [mbwándé] Pl: bambwande
-lobe [-lobed] (past: -loba) v to speak
Word origin refers to the original language or etymology of the word. When a word is a loanword, the language of origin is indicated.
katini [katíni] (French orig.): bucket, canteen
The grammatical category of the lexical entry is indicated: noun (n), verb (v), adjective (adj), adverb (adv), verb phrase (loc v) , nominal phrase (loc n) etc. See the “List of abbreviations used in this dictionary”.
Bongili has twelve noun classes with prefixes that form binary oppositions. Each class of the singular is opposed to another of the plural. (The numbers 1, 2, 3 etc. refer to the noun class system devised by Malcolm Guthrie and others to describe all Bantu languages.) Both numbers which come just after the grammatical category and which are separated by a slash denote first the singular class number, then the plural class number.
itɔnɔ (Pl: matɔnɔ) n 5/6 pepper
The table below shows the different binary genres. Most human nouns and animal nouns beginning with a nasal are placed in gender 1/2. The symbol ø represents the zero prefix, which means that the nominal is not visibly prefixed, but the prefix is implied.
|Binary Genders||Class prefixes||Examples (sing./plur.)||French|
|1/2||mo-, ø-/ba-||mokoto bakoto
|3/4||mo-, mu-/mi-||mongaku mingaku
|canne à sucre
|3/10||mo-/ ø-||moshangu shangu||aubergine|
In this dictionary we find the following class pairs:
1/2, 3/4, 3/10, 5/6, 7/8, 9/6and 14/6
These are the main genders.
However, there are also a few rare nouns that form irregular pairs. These are the gender pairs:
5/4 dinɔ/minɔ dent(s)
7/6 ekolo/makolo pied(s)
9/2 njanga/banjanga camp(s)
9/10 ninga/ninga taille(s)
14/2 bola/babola ainé(s)
Some nouns do not fit into any binary opposition. These are the "mass nouns" (they often consist of the nouns of liquids and belong to class 6, e.g. mɛ water, malongo blood, matɛ saliva... ) and "specifics" (abstract class 14 nouns, e.g. bomɛmɛ stupidity, bolengi intelligence, boshuma gluttony...)
The meanings of Bongili words are given in French by their direct equivalents. If there is no direct equivalent, then a short descriptive sentence of the word that constitutes the Bongili entry is given.
kala [kalá] Pl: bakala n 1/2 1) species of tree whose sap is very bitter 2) very bitter bark of the kala tree, used for the preparation of certain herbal teas
Additional meaning refers to cognate or figurative meanings of the lexical entry. They are indicated in this dictionary by numbering 1), 2), 3) etc.
molimo [molímo] Pl: milimo n 3/4 1) spirit, soul 2) trance, ecstasy
The illustrative sentence shows how the lexical entry can be used in a sentence. Additional senses may have a particular or different use than the main sense.
1 brave, courageous Bana ba badyi bakuli. These children are brave.
2 tough, uncompromising, obstinate: Batita ba badyi bakuli mayɛlɛ twa. These old men are very uncompromising.
Synonyms and antonyms of the lexical entry are found after the French translation of the illustrative phrase. Synonyms are preceded by syn: and antonyms by ant:. Each additional meaning can have synonyms and antonyms.
-yɛnɛ see, watch syn: -tsheke
bomwɛ life ant: bowe
Subentries are either words that are derived from a lexical entry or phrases that contain the lexical entry. In this dictionary, subentries start on a new line and are in bold.
Mwana [mwána] Pl: bana n 1/2 1) (human) biological child, son, daughter
Mwana a bole young boy
Mwana a mwato young girl
Mwana a shuka last son, last daughter