For the nouns, the singular form is used as the main entry form.
pu (pl. sepu) n 9/10. dog.
For the verbs, the infinitive form with prefix is given. The prefix is separated from the stem by a space.
se tɔŋɔ̂ v. to read.
Often, there are words which are related in form but have unrelated meanings called homonyms. These are marked with a numeral subscript:
se chyaʼ1 v. to carve.
se chyaʼ2 v. to laugh.
atam1 (pl. etwɔm) n. 7/8. heart.
atam2 (pl. etwɔm) n. 7/8. trap.
The plural form is added for most nouns that clearly have the plural form.
efɛ̂ (pl. tefɛ̂) n. 5/13. cutlass.
akaŋ (pl. ekwaŋ) n. 7/8. bowl.
fenyi (pl. mnyi) n. 19/6a. knife.
Some nouns have two alternative plurals from different noun classes.
esə (pl. əsə, tesə) n. 5/6⁓13
eghɔŋ (pl. əghɔŋ, teghɔŋ) n. 5/6⁓13
The part of speech or word class to which each word belongs is indicated after the word.
amɔʼ num. one (for nouns of class 7).
ewîyn (pl. mwîyn) n. 3/6a. body.
se tàyn v. jump. Ghàs ə tàyn zaʼ mbàyn.
We have jumped over the fence.
Most Verbs in Mmen have a verbal extension which is added to the verb root to either indicate the intensity or manner in which something is done. The tone on the final ‘e’ of the extension is falling from High to Low. This is marked with a High-Low ( ̂) tone mark in the IPA but dropped in the Orthography because it is predictable to readers.
se chəle [sētʃɜ́lê] v. kick repeatedly.
se chəmte [sētʃɜ́mtê] v. grind (a small quantity).
se chyaʼse [sētʃʲáʔsê] v. cause to laugh.
se fɔyne [sēfɔ́ɲnê] v. sting repeatedly.
The low tone ( ̀ ) has been marked on the final ‘e’ of the verbal extension.
se chùmnè [sētʃùmnè] v. reject repeatedly.
se tùŋtè [sētùŋtè] v. fit many things together.
Some verbs have shwa (ə) at the end. Where this (ə) has a High-Low ( ̂ ), the tone is not marked in the orthography but marked in IPA.
se ngwuʼə [sēŋgʷúʔɜ̂] v. kneel.
On nouns, only the tone on the first vowel in a situation of a vowel cluster in the orthography is marked. In the IPA, tone is marked on all the vowels in a vowel cluster.
andɨ̂l embwɔ̀a [āndɨ᷇lēmbʷɔ̀à] (pl. endɨ̂l embwɔ̀e) n 7/8. fish dam.
This however does not apply to associative noun phrases where the associative marker has a low or falling tone.
zhwiə̀ ndom [ʒʷīɜ̀ndʊ̄m] (pl. zhiə ndomə) Lit. wife of husband. n. 1/2. bride.
The Mid-Low ( ̂ ) on ‘va’ ‘son of’ is not marked for it is quite predictable and readers will quickly adjust.
vaakɨ̀nyàm [va᷆:kɨ̀ɲàm] (pl. ghɔakɨnyàmə̀) n 1/2. colt.
After p, f and mb, the phonetic sound [ɣ] is written as ɨ in the orthography.
afɨəyn [āfɣɜ́ɲ] (pl. efɨəyn, tefɨəyn) n 7/4∼13. leg. B: fɨəynke. C: fɨəna.
apɨəyn [āpɣɜ́ɲ] (pl. mpɨəyn) n 7/6a. compound. B: pɨəynke. C: pɨəna.
fèmbɨə̂yn [fèmbɣɜ̂ɲ] (pl. m̀mbɨə̂yn) n 19/6a. name of a traditional dance belonging to women only.
For all the nouns, the noun class gender is given in the form of the usual Bantu numbering system. Mmen has the following singular/plural combinations or genders.
eghɔŋ (pl. əghɔŋ, teghɔŋ) n. 5/6⁓13
vayn (pl. əghɔyn) n. 1/2
fekâʼ (pl. mkâʼ) n. 19/6a
pu (pl. sepu) n. 9/10
akaŋ (pl. ekwaŋ) n. 7/8
endzɨs (pl. əndzɨs) n. 3/6
There are also many nouns without a singular/plural distinction. This is indicated with just the class number for the singular or the plural form when it is clearly in the plural form.
apfɨ̀ n. 7. epilepsy.
atsɨ n. 7. contribution.
mpfɨŋ n. 6a. flour.
endû n. 3. honey.
The initial prefix ‘ə’ which is used in the nouns in isolation has been dropped in nouns of classes 2, 6a and 19.
ghɔniə n. 2. my siblings
mchi n. 6a. ground
fenyi n. 19. knife
Some nouns have the A, B and most often than not, the C forms. The A form of the nouns is used as the citation form of the noun and as the second noun in an associative noun phrase. The B form is used as the subject of the verb in a clause. The C form is used as the object of a clause.
akaŋ (pl. ekwaŋ) n. 7/8. bowl. B: kaŋke C: kaŋa.
fekâʼ (pl. mkâʼ) n. 19/6a. tree. B: kâʼfe.
Free and other variants are indicated in the brackets after the headword:
sə̀f [sɜ̀f] (pl. sesə̀f) (Dial. Var. sɔ̀f ) n 9/10. maize, corn.
mngwɨl [mŋgwɨ́l] (Fr. Var. mwɨl) n 6a. oil.
Mmen has a good number of words that are borrowed from other languages like English, Pidgin, Kom, Kuk, Bum, and others. Some of these are indicated as follows in square brackets and sometimes followed by the word in the source language.
akwàlà (pl. ekwàlà) (from Pidgin: akwara) n 7/8. prostitute
kôghɔ̀ŋ (pl. sekôghɔ̀ŋ) (from Kom: kûghòŋ) n 9/10. 1) rumor. 2) slander.
akɔ̀lɔ̀ (from English: okra) n 7. okra.
mtsɔ̀ŋmbì (from Kuk: mtsɔ̌ŋmbi) n 6a. ground nut.
The meaning of the word is given after the part of speech in the form of one or several translation equivalents or by way of a descriptive expression.
mtɛ̂ n 6a. saliva.
se zhùm v. 1) peel. 2) strip.
In some cases, the literal meaning of the headword follows the definition.
lɨ̀ mə ko [lɨ̀mɜ́kō] v. be drunk Lit. wine has caught
Words often have more than one meaning which are related but distinct. Such distinctions are indicated by numbers followed by a closing bracket:
se chì v. 1) cry. 2) protect supernaturally.
ashi n. 7. 1) first. 2) front.
atu n. 7. 1) head. 2) master. 3) leader. 4) top, peak.
Some words are illustrated by way of a phrase or sentence. The sentence in Mmen is in bold characters followed by an English translation in normal characters.
se pfɨf v. ask, request. Shiŋə̀ kɛ ə te nə e pfɨfə nə o gha ghe ə tsɛ̂, ə zo pfɨfə nə "o ghayn ghe?̂" The time they use to ask what you are doing has passed, the question is "what have you done?"
apɨàʼa2 n. 7/8. tribute. Ə pɛ̂ kwu ndɔʼɔ ò fo pɨàʼa ò nə fo se zhîndɛ̂. If your father dies when you have not paid this tribute you will do it to the successor.
Cross references are used to refer back to the word from which a particular word is derived or to show some other relationship that holds between words.
ekoe1 [ékóē] cf. -ko. adj. raw (for nouns of cl 8). B: ekove.
An attempt has been made to indicate semantic relationship between some words such as synonyms and antonyms. The number after the synonym refers to the given sense.
tesâŋà. n 13. broom. syn. asəs.
se zuʼ v. heat. syn. se tɨ̀msè1
Each index item consists of three elements. The English word, the Mmen word (preceded by ‣) and the part of speech of the Mmen word (in italics).
hoe ‣ fə̀ n.
knife ‣ fenyi n.
Subscript numbers after the Mmen word refers to the corresponding homonym in the main dictionary.
tribute ‣ apɨàʼa2 n.