Entries explained

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:


        doꞌde  lo doꞌdiot /-ot [H,HL/L,H] n  story


Here’s what the words mean:


  • The word doꞌde in bold is called the ‘entry’.  All the words after it give information about this word.  All entries are listed according to the order of the Mundari alphabet letters.  See the Mundari Aphlabet Order below for the list of letters in order.  Entries that are nouns or adjectives are the singular (only one). Entries that are verbs are the past form of the verb.
  • Next, the word lo ‘this (masculine)’ tells us the entry is masculine and can have masculine words describing it, such as lo  ‘this’, lio ‘my’, lügäŋ ‘certain’. Feminine entries have the  word na ‘this (feminine)’. Entries that are both masculine and feminine have lo, na. Plural masculine entries have the word kulo ‘these (masculine)’.  Feminine      plural entries have the word kune ‘these (feminine)’.
  • The next word doꞌdiot in bold is the plural of the entry. It is how to say more than one of the noun.  (Only entries that are nouns or verbal nouns have a plural.)
  • Next, /-ot shows the suffix (ending letters) of the plural.  When the letters come after the slash (/), it shows the suffix is attached to the plural, as /-ot in doꞌdiot ‘stories’.  When the letters come before the slash, it shows the suffix is attached to the singular, as -so/ in pataso ‘rope’.  Some nouns have suffixes before and after the slash, as -so/-at in bodoso  ‘expert’, bodoat ‘experts’.  Letters after a dash (-) as /-ot  in doꞌdiot are suffixes (word endings).  Letters before a dash as /ku- in kuama ‘mothers’ are prefixes (word beginnings). See the Suffixes of Singular and Plural Nouns below for a list of the most common suffixes and prefixes.
  • Next, we read [H,HL/L,H]. The letters H and L mean High and      Low tone. H,HL tells us the entry said by itself has High, High-Low tone in the singular doꞌde. The comma (,) shows the break between syllables of the word.  So the first syllable (do) of doꞌde has High tone, and the second syllable (ꞌde) of doꞌde has High-Low tone. The slash (/) separates the singular and plural forms. Then L,H tells us the plural doꞌdiot has Low tone on the first syllable (do) and High tone on the second syllable (ꞌdiot). There are a few entries which have the same letters and only differ by tone.  For these entries, the tone can help a speaker hear the difference between the entries.
  • Next, the letter n shows the word category (type of word) of the entry is a noun.  See the Word Category Abbreviations below for a list of all possible word category abbreviations.
  • The word story is the definition of the entry and shows its meaning in English.


Now look at another example entry.


kakat  na kakati /-i [L,L/L,L,H] n 1) door   2) clan, relationship of people


  • kakat is the entry and singular of the noun.
  • na shows the entry is feminine and can be described by feminine words.
  • kakati is the plural of the entry.
  • /-i shows the suffix in the plural of the entry kakati.
  • [L,L/L,L,H] shows the singular kakat has Low tone on the first syllable (ka) and second syllable (kat).  The plural kakati has Low tone on the first syllable (ka) and second syllable (ka), but High tone on the third syllable (ti).
  • n shows the entry is a noun.
  • Next, we read 1) door 2) clan, relationship of people.  These are two      definitions (meanings) of the entry.  1) door is the most common meaning.  2) clan, relationship of people are less common meanings.


Now look at another example entry.


sändük  na sändükän /-an Bw (Arabic)  n  box


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


Here are two other example entries.


koruk  lo, na korukan /-an  Bw (Bari)  Mundari:   guek n  raven, bird type

guek  lo, na guekan /-an [H/H,L] (Bw  koruk) n  raven, bird type


  • The words Bw (Bari) show this entry koruk is borrowed from Bari.
  • The words Mundari:       guek show the Mundari word for the entry is guek. It also shows you will find jam listed as another entry.  The word guek has the same part of speech n and the same definition raven, bird type as the Bari word koruk.
  • You will find the entry guek in a separate place in the dictionary from the entry koruk. For the entry guek, the words (Bw koruk) show there is a borrowed word koruk for the Mundari word guek. We donꞌt know which language koruk is borrowed from by looking at the entry guek. To learn this, we must go to the entry koruk.


Here is another example entry.


lübbä  [H,L] /p/ -ja v  be allowed


  • lübbä is the entry.  It is a past form verb.
  • [H,L] shows the first syllable (lüb) has High tone, and the second syllable () has Low tone.
  • Next, /p/ shows the final root letter of the entry is p even though it is written b when the suffix –ja is attached (b).
  • Next, -ja shows the suffix attached to the entry.  This suffix changes to – in lüb.
  • v shows the part of speech of the entry is a verb.
  • be allowed is the definition.


Now look at two other example entries.


jamet  na jametti -et/-etti vn.action  word  (jam talk, say, tell)

jam  [L] /m/ v  talk, say, tell jamet


  • The words (jam talk, say, tell) show that jam is the root (original, simpler word), and that the entry jamet comes from jam.  It also shows you will find jam listed as another entry.
  • When you go to the entry jam, the word jamet is listed as a subentry.  We donꞌt know the meaning of jamet by looking at the entry jam. To learn this, we must go to the entry jamet.


Here is one final example entry.


kür1  /r/ v  borrow


  • There is a small number 1 after the entry kür1.  This means there is another word kür2 that has the same letters but a completely different meaning.  The word kür1 means ‘borrow’ and kür2 means ꞌdig, cultivateꞌ.  The two words are not related, and just happen to have the same spelling.