Dictionary Entries explained


There are two kinds of entries in this dictionary. First there are primary entries. These contain complete information about a specific word. Then there are the other, secondary, entries. These are, for example, verb forms which are located alphabetically far from their base form. These entries contain only the part of speech and a cross reference to the base form. Here is an example:

du v. Voir : di (manger)


In each entry, the Waama word appears in bold characters; for verbs, the three verbal forms are indicated, separated by commas; for nouns, the singular and plural forms:

di, di, du v. manger

duubu, duuna n.bu/na le chat


The three verbal forms which are normally indicated are the following: the imperative form, the perfective form and the progressive form. Certain verbs also have an ingressive form ("to be on the point of doing something"). This form is indicated in last place in parentheses:

dɛɛbɛ, dɛɛbɛ, dɛbiri (dɛɛbɛti) v. suivre


Homographs are distinguished by their phonetic tones in brackets after the headword:

daaka [H.H], daaka, daakati v. verrouiller

daaka [B.H], daaka, daakati v. ravager, détruire


Sometimes, if a word is borrowed from another language, or if it is specific to a certain dialect, this information is indicated in parentheses:

fero, ferooda (emprunt du français) n.ò/bà le vélo, la bicyclette

buruuka, buruusu (tangamma) n.kà/su la chanson, le chant


Variants of a word are indicated by the label Var :

dakɔɔriku, dakɔɔrina Var. kɔɔriku n.ku/na l'école (f)


The part of speech of the Waama word (see the list of abbreviations) is indicated in italic:

For example: adv. = adverbe n.fa/yi = nom de la classe fa au singulier et yi au pluriel daande adv. un jour, une fois


The explanation in French of the sense of the Waama word is indicated in ordinary letters. If a word has multiple distinct senses, they are numbered 1) 2). If the different definitions are only nuances of the same sense, they are separated by a comma:

dɛɛka, dɛɛsu  n.kà/su 1) le bracelet 2) le mors de cheval

daafa, daasu n.fa/su le petit bois, le petit bâton


Complementary information, enclosed in parentheses, clarifies or specifies the French definition:

daadambu, daadanna n.bu/na le cabaret, la buvette (là où on boit la bière de mil)


Certain words, such as adjectives and ordinal numbers, for example, always appear in Waama with a class suffix. In these cases, we have chosen as headword one form, usually the form with the class suffix for human beings in the singular. The entry in question contains a table which shows the word in all its different forms:

dariwo adj. doux, agréable, tranchant



darima, darida



Most descriptive verbs have the same form as the corresponding adjective. In this case there is not a separate entry for the adjective and no table is included. For example, for sɔɔti v.descr. être bon, et sɔɔtiwo, adj. bon, the root has the same form. Therefore the two are combined into one single entry:

sɔɔti adj. / v.descr. être bon, être joli.

In contrast, daari v.descr. être doux and dariwo adj. doux are distinguised by the length of the vowel. Therefore there are two separate entries.


Pronouns in Waama can function as subject, as complement of a transitive verb or as modifier of a noun. So, de functions as direct object of a transitive verb:

N tambi sabare, n de pɛ n kpento. J'ai acheté un livre, je l'ai donné à mon père.

functions as an indirect object of a transitive verb:

N kpento takinde, n wò pɛ sabare dee n ta tambi. Mon père est venu, je lui ai donné le livre que j'ai acheté.

N et function as modifiers of a noun:

N kpento mon père

Bà bisu leurs enfants


A botanical or zoological classification appears in italics at the end of the entry:

bakambu, bakanna n.bu/na le pied-de-bœuf (un arbre dont on utilise l’écorce pour faire des cordes) Philiostigma tonningii


Example sentences are followed by their (more or less free) French translation:

daasan, daasambi, daasanti v. se remplacer, prendre son tour. Soosada daasanti bà̀ yete mandibu. Les soldats se remplacent pour la garde de leur maison.


The label « Voir » references either the base form (for verb forms, verbs or derived nouns) or else the components of a composed word:

du v. Voir: di (manger)

takun, takinde, takuntun v. venir Voir: taka (aller)

daacɛmbɛre  n.de/- la boisson de mil non fermentée Voir: daama, cɛmbɛ.