How to Read an Entry in this Dictionary


When you look in the dictionary, you will see many lines of words.  Some look similar to the example below:


haheri  (ille)   Ŋ) akieri  M) hahieri   L) haŋerio   n  star    haher   -i/   Ŋ) akier    

  1. M) hahier L) haŋer


Here’s what the words mean:


  • The word haheri in bold is called the ‘entry’.  All the words after it give information about this word.  All entries are listed in the agreed-upon spelling combining all dialects. They are listed according to the order of the Lopit alphabet letters.  See the Aphlabet for the list of letters in order.  Entries that are nouns in are the singular (only one). Entries that are verbs are the command to one person.
  • Next, the word (ille) ‘that (masculine)’ tells us the entry is masculine and can have masculine words describing it, such as ille ‘that’, lenaŋ ‘my’, lobo ‘certain’. Feminine entries have the word (inna) ‘that (feminine)’. Entries that are both masculine and feminine have (inna, ille). Plural masculine entries have the word (hullo) ‘those (masculine)’.  Feminine plural entries have the word (hunna) ‘those (feminine)’.
  • Next, the letters and word Ŋ) akieri in italics show the word is said akieri in the Ŋotira dialect.  M) hahieri  shows the word is said hahieri in the Lomiaha dialect.  L) haŋerio shows the word is said haŋerio in the Loloŋo dialect.  If a word is not listed for a certain dialect, you should assume it is said the same as the bold word (entry) in that dialect. See the Dialect Abbreviations below for a list of dialect abbreviations in this dictionary.
  • Next, the letter n in bold is the word category (part of speech) of the entry.  It shows us the word is a noun.  See the Word Category Abbreviations below for a list of all possible word category abbreviations.
  • Next, the word star is the definition of the entry, and shows its meaning in English.
  • The next word haher in bold is the plural of the entry. It is how to say more than one of the noun.  (Only entries that are nouns have a plural.)
  • Next, -i/ shows the suffix (ending letters) of the singular noun.  When the letters come before the slash (/), it shows the suffix is attached to the singular, as –i/ in haheri ‘star’.  When the letters come after the slash, it shows the suffix is attached to the plural, as /-a in feteha ‘fish spears’.  Some nouns have suffixes before and after the slash, as -ni/-k in marwani ‘old one’, marwak ‘old ones’.  Letters before a dash as hi-/ in hiyali ‘oil’ are prefixes (beginning letters). See Singular and Plural Nouns below for a list of the most common suffixes and prefixes.
  • Finally, Ŋ) akier  in italics shows the plural is said akier in the Ŋotira dialect.  M) hahier  shows the plural is said hahier in the Lomiaha dialect.  L) haŋer  shows the plural is said haŋer in the Loloŋo dialect.


Now look at another example entry.


yani1  (inna)   [yànì/yání]   n 1) tree (general)  2) medicine    yanii   tone/tone

yani2  M) iyani  L) yeni  v.t bring


  • There is a small number 1 after the entry yani1.  This means there is another word yani2  that has the same letters but a completely different meaning.  The word yani1  means ‘tree (general)’ and yani2 means ‘bring’.  The two words are not related, and just happen to have the same spelling.
  • (inna) shows the entry is feminine.
  • The letters [yànì/yání] inbetween [ ] show the pronunciation and tone of the singular and plural forms.  The singular and plural forms are separated by the slash (/).  They only differ by tone.  The singular yani [yànì] has Low tone and the plural yanii [yání] has High tone.
  • There are no dialect abbreviations or words.  This shows that all the dialects say the singular the same as the bold entry yani.
  • n shows the entry is a noun.
  • 1) tree (general) shows the first meaning of the entry.
  • 2) medicine shows a second meaning which is similar or related in some way to the first meaning. Since medicine often comes from trees, the meanings are related and thought to be from the same word.
  • yanii is the plural of the entry
  • tone/tone shows the only difference between the singular and plural forms is the tone.
  • There are no dialect abbreviations or words for the plural.  This shows that all the dialects say and spell the plural the same as the bold plural word yanii.



Now look at two other entries.


anyar  (tanyara be honest) v.inf  honesty

tanyara   v.i  be honest {anyar}


  • The words (tanyara be honest) show that anyar ‘honesty’ is related to the word tanyara ‘be honest’. The command verb tanyara ‘be honest!’ and the infinitive verb anyar ‘honesty’ come from the same word. The bold word tanyara between parentheses is also listed as a separate entry.
  • When you go to the entry tanyara, the word {anyar} is listed as a subentry between braces { }.  We don’t know the meaning of {anyar} by looking at the entry tanyara. To learn this, we must go to the entry anyar.


Now look at three other entries.


ho1  [hɔ̀]   {ha1/he1}   H,L) iko   prep  with (before o, u, w)

he1  [hɛ̀]   {ha1/ho1}   D,M) ho   L) iko   prep  with (before e, i)

ha1  [hà]   {ho1/he1}   D) ho   L) iko   prep  with (before a)


  • The words {ha1/he1} show that the entry ho1 ‘with’ is the same the entries heand haexcept that the spelling changes according to the vowel of the word after it. The word is spelled ho before hodotiti ‘man’ (ho hodotiti), he before hiŋohu ‘dog’ (he hiŋohu), and ha before habu ‘chief’ (ha habu). The word is listed as three different entries so that it can easily be found in the dictionary.


Now, look at one final entry.


hiram  (inna)   Bw (Latuka)  issue, problem, reason


  • The words Bw (Arabic) show this entry hiram is borrowed from Latuka. Other entries may be borrowed from English or Arabic.