The Latege alphabet

The Latege alphabet consists of 25 letters:

a b d dz e f g i k l m n ny ŋ o p pf r s t ts u v w y

The Latege-French section of the dictionary is organized alphabetically according to the above order:

A few explanations of the Latege alphabet

The consonants b, d, f, g, k, l, m, n, p, s, t, v, w, y are pronounced as in French.

There are only five vowels in Latege: a, e, i, o, u. Here are some example words: kabelejambe (leg); bulabuli gûepe (wasp), kalogo chose (thing); obi chasseur (hunter); suka hache (ax).

For long vowel sounds, the letters are doubled: baanaenfants (children); kalaamapréparer (to prepare); mpwoomohuit (eight).

Vowel combinations consisting of different vowel sounds occur only at the end of the word, never within a word: mai chat (cat); kapia attraper (to catch). A syllable can only have one vowel sound, never two. Thus, mai is a two-syllable word while kapia is a three-syllable word.

A consonant used frequently in Latege but not found in French is the velar ŋ as in ŋaici (here); kanonoŋo - rompre (to break up) and kakumuŋaabattre (to tear down).

In Latege, there are also consonant sounds formed from two sounds pronounced almost simultaneously. These are pf: opfuesprit; pfubavol (flight), ts: tsitsegrillon (cricket); katsugabrûler (to burn), dz: dzirioeil (eye); kadzila - attendre (to wait), et ny: kanywaboire (to drink); nyamaviande (meat).

There are also consonants and combinations of consonants that are pronounced with a short nasal sound (n or m) preceding them. These pre-nasalized consonants are distinct, and should be carefully distinguished, from their non-nasal equivalent.  See the following examples:

me ampalaje sors (I leave) vs nde apalail sort (he leaves);

mbafeu (fire) vs bapalmier (palm tree);

ontumacommission (a task, commission) vs otumacoeur (heart);

ndumufrère (brother); ndigiami (friend); lantendechampignon (mushroom); cf. dapère (father); adoloargent (money); kadusudouceur (softness).

nkelechenilles (caterpillar larva, track) vs kelebruit (noise);

kayingasemaine (week) vs kayigaapprendre (to learn);

me amfulaje demande (I ask) vs nde afula -  il demande (he asks);

mpfurutortue (tortoise); mpfiragorille (gorilla); kampfulafeuille mangeable (etable plant); cf. opfulasel indigène (local salt); kapfucomportement; pfubavol (flight).

amvachiens (dogs) vs nde avail tombe (he falls);

ntsa – dans (in) vs tsaetagère (shelf);

ndziaétranger (stranger) vs dziaamour (love).

To read about the Latege alphabet and orthography in detail, see the Latege primer: Lalira, latende ma latege

A note on the use of accents in Latege accent marks in the dictionary:

In the normal Latege orthography accent marks do not occur. But, there are accent marks in the dictionary that play a different role than they do in French. Latege is a tonal language, and some words are differentiated by the tones on the vowels, for example between yúlù 'nez' (nose) and yùlú 'ciel' (sky). Here the accents mean: " ´ " high tone, and " ` " low tone.  Circomflex " ^ " means decending tone and " ˇ " means ascending tone.

Important note:

In Latege, the accent marks indicate the tone of the syllable, rather than the quality of the vowel as in French.