This dictionary would not have been possible without the effort of many people over fifty years.
Here are my grateful thanks, first of all to God who enabled us all to persevere and trust we
would get this far.

My husband, Richard Neal Brinneman, a member of SIL International, arrived in Togo in early
1972. M. Ahianyo-Akakpo, director of the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique
authorized his study of the Lama language.

Mr. Békoutaré, director of the Bibliothèque Nationale du Togo, personally accompanied and
introduced Neal to the Lamba community in the northern town of Kandé and encouraged him in
the work.

M. Toro, former deputy to the “chef de circonscription” of Kandé, and Mr. Namandji Oyinka,
“chef supreme” of Kandé, welcomed Neal to their town and helped immensely in getting him

In the beginning, several Lamba men assisted Neal in his research. I want to especially thank Mr.
Antoine Cikparon of Gnandé and the late Mr. Modeste Sanki of Kandé. Over the years, several
other young men helped short-term with the analysis of the language and the compilation of the
vocabulary, including the late Mr. Dahoundé Tiitowa Otowa, who worked on this dictionary.

Neal was also very thankful to the personnel of the Catholic Mission of Kande, who shared their
research documents with him and helped him in various practical ways too. Neal’s dear friend
Mr. Rakota Akpao was always ready to help him in practical ways.

I, as an American member of SIL, had been working in the Godié language in Côte d’Ivoire
since 1972. After our marriage in June 1979, I joined Neal in Kandé and also devoted untold
hours on amassing words for the dictionary until 1993.

A young woman named Juliette Amessa, who helped us in the home, was the first to introduce
me to her language. Sweet memories and thanks!

I am grateful that in August 1987 Ms. Ruth Chatfield from England came to Kande for two
weeks to enter half of the 8,000 entries into the computer. Up until then everything was written
on tiny rectangular pieces of paper and kept in alphabetical order in two cardboard cereal boxes
cut off at the bottom! After Ruth’s departure, Neal typed in the rest of the dictionary.

In spring 1988, a French woman, member of SIL, arrived in Lomé and agreed to check all the
French in the dictionary. Merci, Françoise Carénas!

After the Lama New Testament was completed and we returned to the United States in January
1993, we continued to improve the dictionary over several years. In September 1996 at the
JAARS Center in Waxhaw, North Carolina, the dictionary was entered into Shoebox for
Windows, a new specialized software for dictionaries.

Around 2015 Neal was finally able to post the Lama-French-English dictionary on
(via FLEx software), SIL International’s site for minority language dictionaries.

Nevertheless, there remained much to improve, add, and render consistent. It was at this time
that I began working with Mr. Gaston N’fa from Kandé, uniquely by email, to assure that every
entry showed the correct spelling and tone, the part of speech, the class/pronoun of nouns, a
detailed definition, the semantic domain (especially for nouns), an example sentence where
necessary, cross references, and hundreds of subentries, as well as the French and English
translations. Several entries show also dialectical variants (Kadjalla and Défalé). Without the
collaboration of Gaston and the three gentlemen on the Bible translation team—Pastor Arakou
Adji, Mr. Medjamna Anam, and Mr. Gnelossè Joseph—this project would have never been
possible for us to complete, living so far from Togo. I thank them with all my heart for their
excellent work, their patience, and their persistence.

During the years from 2015 to 2018, Neal helped me especially with the technical requirements
of the project. I also very much appreciated the help of Mr. Steve White, a colleague of Neal’s in
Waxhaw, who often would create lists for me to help maintain consistency throughout.

Just before Neal’s death in May 2018, Mr. Kevin Warfel, our neighbor and member of the SIL
Lexicography team, offered to help me transfer the dictionary from Toolbox to FLEx, a necessity
for uploading it to This was an immense time-consuming undertaking for which I
am infinitely thankful. Anita Warfel, Kevin’s wife, handled the documents that needed to be
posted on the site, including all those under the Overview, the photo journal, maps of the Lamba
region, as well as the design of the header, the Lama keyboard, and more. Thanks, Anita!

I also want to thank my neighbor Ms. Pat Brien, also a member of SIL, who has had experience
over long years with a team creating a bilingual dictionary for a language in Papua New Guinea,
the Narak. She encouraged me greatly and gave me guidance in these recent years.

Carol Brinneman
August 2022
Waxhaw, North Carolina