Dictionary Entries Explained

Each entry has at least a Kemedzung word or phrase and a translation in English. This can include several different senses (meanings of the word). Some words also give other information. The following things are inside the word list:

Entry word

The entry word is given using the Kemedzung alphabet. Spelling rules are explained on page vi. Nouns are written in the singular and verbs in the imperative (command) form. For adjectives the noun class prefix is not given, only the stem of the word. A hyphen (-) after a word indicates the word is a prefix. An asterisk (*) before a word indicates this is the stem and a noun class prefix needs to be added.

For example:

bangə 1) turn (to the side) 2) dodge an animal or person 3) shift (with) 4) bend

ba- continuing

*faa new


Homonyms are words which are identical in spelling but have different meanings. These are marked with a small number after the word to indicate they are different words:

fiɛ1 pl. fiɛ. palm rat

fiɛ2 two


Sometimes it is indicated when a word has derivations. This is indicated by der. (the abbreviation for derivation) and followed by the derivations. A derivation can refer to the word it comes from by der. of (short for derivation of) and followed by the main word.

diɛ pl. diɛ́. word (der. diɛ miuŋkpaŋ)

diɛ miuŋkpaŋ 1) agreement 2) in collaboration with (lit. one word (der. of diɛ)

Plural form

For some nouns the plural is given. That is indicated by pl. (the abbreviation for plural) and looks as follows:

dzo pl. dzó. 1) mountain 2) hill (der. dzo fəntɨŋ, der. dzobɨŋ)


The English translation is given as at least one word, sometimes there is more information. If a word/phrase is followed by (P) it means it is Pidgin. If it says (idiom) it means it is an expression. If it says (ideophone) it means the word is an ideophone.

gbogbo peanut, groundnut (P)

gwɨ koso humble (idiom) (lit. take body low)

booo whiter (ideophone)


When a word has more than one sense (meaning), the meanings are each given a number. The different senses have not been ordered according to which ones are most familiar or most frequently used.

bɔnɔnɨ2 1) the same 2) in line with

Example sentences

Some entries have an example sentence, or sentences, to help understand how the word may be used:

4 pierce. Nna mboko kɨtɨ. I am boring a hole in a stool (which is still being made)

Borrowed words

Words used in Kemedzung which are actually borrowed from other languages such as English, French, Fulani, Hausa and Lamnso’ are noted in the the following way:

lujɛ sickle. From Hausa: lauje

Scientific names

Scientific names for certain animals, birds and trees are included in the entry in italics:

fulu2 black plum tree, produces small edible fruits. Vitex doniana

Literal meaning

Sometimes the literal meaning of a word or phrase is given: (lit. stands for literal)

miɨ wu nɨŋ 1) farmer 2) servant 3) officer (lit. person of work)