Dictionary Entries explained


Each entry includes some or all of the following, which are noted in bold letters in each example:

1.1    Entry word

The entry word is given using the Nooni alphabet. The alphabet and orthographic conventions are explained in section 3, Nooni Orthography Guide.

finyo Pl.: mvunyom [LM.LM] n. 11/12. small knife.

kecaw2 Pl.: bicaw [LL.LL] n. 7/8. belt; a strip of leather or other material worn around the waist.

1.2    Plural form

Plural forms of nouns are given after the singular form:

kecaw2 Pl.: bicaw [LL.LL] n. 7/8. belt.

fitele Pl.: mvuntelem [MML.MML] n. 11/12. heart.

1.3    Tone

The phonetic pitch of words is indicated in square brackets following the entry, with the tone on singular and plural forms of the word separated by a full stop. Words occurring in a phrase are separated by a space. Contour tones (where the tone changes over one sound) are written with small letters.

kencaŋ Pl.: bincaŋ [LH.LH] n. 7/8. bush rat that lives in raffia trees and runs on vines or twines; capable of jumping or diving very far.

kpwe monlum [M LL] n. 9/10. painful death.

yvuw1 Pl.: yvúw [lm.M] n. 9/10. human hair.

1.4    Words with no singular or plural form

Certain Nooni words do not have a singular form or a plural form. They are recorded in the following way with one number for the noun gender:

bvutuw [Mml] n. 14. honey; the sweet, thick, syrupy substance produced by bees from the nectar of flowers.

mɛɛm [ML] 1) n. 15. palm oil derived from crushed palm nuts, used much in cooking.

1.5    Part of speech

For most words an indication of the part of speech (word category) is given in italics after the pronunciation.

bwe Pl.: bwé [lh.H] n. 9/10. dog.

die [HH] v. eat.

1.6    Noun class gender

Most nouns belong to a certain class or category based upon how the singular and plural forms are formed. The Orthography Guide explains the noun classes of the Nooni language: 1/2, 3/4, 5/6, 5/13, 7/8, 9/10, 11/12, 14/15, 16, 17, 18. Hyman (1981:7) notes “The numbering used for these classes is, unless otherwise indicated, to be interpreted as representing the noun classes carrying the same number in Narrow Bantu.” The noun classes are displayed in each entry in this way:

kecaw2 Pl.: bicaw [LL.LL] 1) n. 7/8. belt; a strip of leather or other material worn around the waist.

jise2 Pl.: ɛjise [MH.MMM] n. 5/6. eye; the bodily organ of sight.

1.7    Definition

Accurate definitions have been sought for each entry, with mother-tongue speakers typically expressing the meaning. Where appropriate in the Noni context, and where it was deemed to be helpful in further clarifying the meaning of a word, a definition may have been taken from or adapted from the All Nations Dictionary, All Nations Literature.

kecaw2 Pl.: bicaw [LL.LL] n. 7/8. belt; a strip of leather or other material worn around the waist.

tee3 Pl.: ɛtew [HM.MH] n. 5/6. stomach; the large muscular bag in the body where food is received after it is eaten and is partly digested before it is passed on to the intestines.

1.8    Different senses of a word

When a word has more than one sense or meaning, these are each given a number. An attempt has been made to order the senses of a word according to which are most familiar or most frequently used.

kumɛn [HH] v. 1) change oneʼs view of things. 2) repent of sin or wrongdoing; to be sorry for one’s sins and turn from sin. 3) replace. 4) turn.

kenlɛɛma Pl.: binlɛɛma [LMMH.LMMH] 1) n. 7/8. lies or deceit. 2) n. cheating. 3) n. flattery. 4) n. trickery.

1.9    Scientific names

Scientific names for certain Noni plants, animals, birds, insects, fish, and reptiles have been identified. These names are included in those entries in italics.

keguŋ Pl. biguŋ [LH.LH] n. 7/8. baboon; a large African monkey. Papio anubis.

2 Pl. yɛ́ [M.H] n. 9/10. water buffalo; a large cow-like animal. Syncerus caffer.

1.10   Illustrative sentences

Nearly 900 illustrative sentences or phrases are included in order to help the reader understand how the word may be used. In certain instances, more than one illustrative sentence is given to clarify usage or to show different senses of a word. An English free translation is included.

boo2 [HH] v. 1) give birth or put to birth. 2) deliver. Wan wvu fwɛ wvù bó boke wvun nu ɛ bó boke can ye le. This new child that has been delivered, is delivered in his hands.

diɛw2 Pl.: díɛw [LL.ML] 1) n. 9/10. word. 2) n. language. 3) n. noise or sound. 4) n. echo; the repetition of a sound caused by a reflection of the sound waves from a wall, cliff, or other surface. 5) n. gossip. Ɛ̀ nulo ɛ́ wo esee diɛw yin e? Can you tell me this word?

1.11   Variant forms of words

Variant forms of words indicate the various ways in which the same word may be pronounced or known in different Noni villages or areas. These words are noted at the end of the entry by the word Also:

nulo [HL] Also: e nulo, nɛlo, jalo, jilo (Djottin), calo (Din), celo (Upper). v. 1) can or could. 2) be able. 3) possible. 4) might or may.

Nyim Also: fonyim. [L] np. dry season; the months of December-March.

1.12   Homonyms

Homonyms are words which are spelled exactly the same but have different meanings. Homonyms include homographs (words that are written the same) and homophones (words that are pronounced the same). All homonyms are marked with a number after the word to indicate there is more than one word spelled that way.

bee1 [HH] v. 1) believe; to think of somone or something as true, honest, or trustworthy. 2) trust in, cling to, rely on someone or something. 3) accept or confirm or agree. 4) answer or respond. 5) should, carrying the sense of obligation when used with another verb. 6) allow. Inf.: keebee. Imp.: bee. Hort.: beŋè. Prog.: beŋe. P3: beŋɛɛ.

bee2 [HH] v. 1) cry or express much sorrow. 2) enter into a song as the second voice. Ɛ Kenjonciɛ bee lɛ, "Woy" wase ɛkfuŋ laa kɛ wen be ɛ see lɛ. Kenjoinciɛ cried out, "Oh!" and from outside said it was just as he had warned them. Inf.: keebee. Imp.: bee. Hort.: beelè. Prog.: beele. P3: beelɛɛ.  

1.13   Synonyms and antonyms

Some entries may include words with the same or similar meanings (synonyms) and opposite meanings (antonyms). Synonyms and antonyms are occasionally included to help the reader expand his or her understanding of the language. Wherever these are included in an entry, they are noted as synonyms or antonyms with the notation Syn. or Ant.

ge kpwe [LM] id. unexpected act, especially from a person who could hardly do such an act; this expression is used derogatorily. Wo nu ɛ ge kpwe ɛbɛn keelaa ghane ɛ̂ me le. You have really done an unexpected thing today to visit me. • Syn. yu bwe, yu keyoo.

ban1 [M] v. hate or detest; a very strong feeling of dislike. Inf. keeban. Imp. banɛ. Hort. banè. Prog. bane. P3. banɛɛ. • Ant. koŋ.

1.14   Borrowed words

Words used by the Noni people which are actually borrowed from other languages such as Lamnso’, Hausa, Fulfulde, and English are noted in the following way:

mutu Pl. bomutu [HL.LHL] (From English: motor) n. 1/2. motor vehicle. • Syn. ketɛntɛn.

bvuba Pl. bobvuba [LH.LLH] (From Hausa) n. 1/2. blouse.

1.15   Idioms

As with many African languages, Nooni is rich in the use of idioms. Idioms are included in the body of the dictionary as dictionary entries and a chart of Nooni idioms is included as an appendix in the back of the dictionary.

base jim [LH L] id. abandon someone or something. Base jim! Turn your back away!

jeŋ yuu [L HH] id. hunger is killing. Jeŋ yuu me. I am so hungry. • Syn. jɛŋ jɛwyi.

1.16   Ideophones

The Nooni language is also rich in its use of ideophones. An ideophone is a word that gives an idea by the sound of the word or the way the word is pronounced; it usually highlights or intensifies a way of doing something or shows the quality of something in a more intense or vivid way. Many are included in the dictionary and a chart of Nooni ideophones is included as an appendix in the back of the dictionary. In each entry the notation ideo. informs the reader it is an ideophone.

kokokoko [LLLL] ideo. going downward. Joo booke kokokoko. Water is flowing down.

bwakabwaka [LLLL] ideo. 1) disorderly or reckless conduct. 2) how someone moves crashing through an area. Wvú lɛne bwakabwaka. He is moving recklessly.

1.17   Verb forms

Six forms are shown in each dictionary entry of verbs:

  1. root or entry form koŋ          love
  2. infinitive form keekoŋ   to love
  3. imperative or command koŋɛ        love!
  4. progressive or ongoing kooŋke   loving
  5. progressive or ongoing command kooŋkè   be loving continually
  6. past koŋɛɛ      loved

Verb forms may differ according to their grammatical usage by the addition of a suffix or verbal extension. Common suffixes are noted in the Orthography Guide.

1.18   Subentries

A few words have subentries, entries derived from a main entry. They are indented to set them off from the preceding main entry.

yɛɛle [MML] adj. red in colour.

yɛɛle buŋŋ yellow as a banana or as the sun.

yɛɛle ghaŋŋ scarlet or dark red.

yɛɛle kaŋŋ yellow as blazing flames of fire.

yɛɛle luŋŋ red as coals of a fire.

yɛɛle luyluy red as vomit, as when one has malaria; yellow in colour.

yɛɛle ŋgaciŋgaci purple.

yɛɛle yayse fading yellow, almost pink in colour; bright; light.

2.1   English – Nooni index

The second half of the dictionary is an English-Nooni Index which includes more than 7600 English words. Entries are simply noted in the following way to indicate the English word, the Nooni equivalent and its part of speech:

afternoon ‣ ɛmvunsheeŋ adv.

garden egg ‣ yoŋ2 n.

Many English words have more than one Nooni word with an equivalent meaning:

manage ‣ cokɛn v. ‣ wowlɛn v.

attention, pay ‣ gɛɛ bvufee v. ‣ gɛɛ ŋkpwawcɛ v. ‣ lese bvufee id. ‣ lese ɛkolɛ v. ‣ nya bitem id.