In my study of the Witu Metalanguage system, the Kewa dictionary is the most comprehensive of all the dictionaries I have seen, though not always drawn on for evidence and cited in my work. However, if more dictionaries like it had been produced we would have a much better understanding of the original Trans-New Guinea Metalanguage.

Its greatest value to me has been in researching it for parallel metalinguistic information. The combination of its anthropological with linguistic data in the dictionary has been valuable. Few dictionaries do this. The Kewa one is the best I know of and I am happy to now see it in this electronic version.

As an example of how I have used the Kewa dictionary: It has allowed me to see additional metalinguistic evidence embedded in the English to Kewa entry under ‘lightning’. But I could not have discovered the vital metalinguistic data simply from the webonary dictionary because discovering relevant linguistic and anthropological metalinguistic data is quite literally a mining process.  You never know in advance when you will find a seam or how far it will lead you.

I am hoping that Witus and non Witus will begin to find the Metalanguage embedded in their respective languages and cultures. The parallels found in Kewa and Witu should encourage students and show them the way to examine the dictionaries

Harland B. Kerr, Ph.D.