The Ncham [bud] language group has about 160,000 inhabitants in Togo and more than 300,000 in other countries. Ncham speakers live in northwestern Togo and northeastern Ghana and in other places in both countries. Their main town in Togo is Bassar but speakers are also found in villages such as Kabou, Bangeli, Bitchabe, Dimori, Baghan and Kalanga. In Ghana, they are mainly found in Tatale, Kpasa and Kpandai. The people who speak Ncham, the Bichambi, use their mother tongue to speak to each other in a variety of contexts, including at home and at work. Some also speak French, Konkomba and Tem. Similarly, some speakers of Akaselem and Konkomba communicate with each other in Ntcham.
The linguistic classification is as follows: Niger-Congo, Atlantic-Congo, Volta-Congo, North, Gur, Centre, North, Oti-Volta, Gurma, Ncham. Alternative names of the language include: Basar, Basare, Basari, Basari, Bassar, Bassari, Ncam and Tobote. There are three dialects: Ntaapum, Ceemba and Dipiitil. This dictionary is based on the dialect Dipiitil, the dialect spoken in the town of Bassar where the supreme chief lives; this dialect is also spoken in the town of Kabou. This dictionary is the result of the work of the ACEB (Christian Association of the Churches of Bassar) under the auspice of SIL Togo-Benin.
This Dictionary contains approximately 5,500 words and 300 idioms with 2611 entries in French and 2370 entries in English. This dictionary represents many of the words and expressions commonly used in this language, but it is not all-inclusive. It should be noted that this dictionary is a first draft and that research is ongoing. Any contribution to ensure a finished product that will be acceptable to everybody is welcome.
The purpose of this dictionary is first of all to help speakers of the Ncham language to write their mother tongue. It can also be used by literacy programme teachers and students as a reference book on spelling. In addition, it represents a concrete step towards the standardization of written language.
This publication is a trilingual Ntcham-French-English dictionary with reversal entries, in the form of a glossary. This provides a reference document for foreigners of the Ncham language who wish to learn it, as well as for the Bichambi people who understand French but want to acquire a greater appreciation of the richness of their own language. In addition it is for the Bichambi who, having learned to read and write in their mother tongue, want to become literate in the French language.
However, we would like to point out that this publication is neither a complete Ncham-French dictionary nor is it a grammar. We give examples of sentences to help the reader better understand the nuances of each word. We have included the phonetic transcription with associated lexical tones of each entry in order to facilitate pronunciation.
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