Kope is one of five closely-related dialects spoken in the delta region west of Baimuru in Gulf Province of Papua New Guinea. The other dialects are Urama, Gibaio, Fomomoto (Era Maipu'a) and Anigibi. While speakers of the five dialects can all understand each other, there is no name used by the speakers for the entire language. Linguists have called the language Northeast Kiwai.
Work on this dictionary was begun by John and Debbie Clifton in the 1980s, accompanied primarily by Gibson Ivei and Ima'e Gi'a. Robbie Petterson worked on the dictionary from 2005 to 2015, when he handed it over to Hanna Schulz. In 2015 John Clifton rejoined the team. Since 2015, numerous Kope speakers have enthusiastically contributed to the growth of the dictionary. The main contributors have been Ka'eai Neiho, Ikupu Gigimai and Samson Aumarie, but many others have also contributed.
There is still much work to do, but we, the compilers, have decided to publish this work-in-progress, in order to document the work we have done so far, and to give Kope speakers outside the community an opportunity to participate in the project. Our ambition is to publish early and often.
John and Debbie Clifton, Robbie Petterson and Hanna Schulz