Wayuu dictionary entries consist of three main parts: a headword in bold followed by the abbreviation for the grammatical part of speech. Then the definition is given in English (blue type) and Spanish (red type). This may be followed by an italicized example sentence or phrase in Wayuu with a free translation of it in English (and occasionally in Spanish).
If a headword has more than one related meaning, called senses, they will be numbered. If all the senses function as the same part of speech, that is indicated before the first sense number. However, if any of the senses functions differently, then every sense is marked with its own part of speech following its sense number. Each sense then has its respective definition, as well as any examples and other lexical information.
In a few cases, two or more Wayuu words are spelled the same but with unrelated meanings. These are called homonyms and occur as separate entries with subscript numbers differentiating each headword.
In many cases, a Wayuu word may have alternate pronunciations, as used by different speakers or in different areas. These variant forms with their type are given, within parentheses, immediately following the headword. We have not attempted to identify the region or dialect to which the variants belong. For the reader who may search for a word that is a variant form, these may also be found as minor entries in their respective alphabetized location, each referring the reader to its main entry where the lexical information is found.
Another type of variation is when there are unusual or unpredictable inflected forms for Wayuu nouns or adjectives. A few nouns (and adjectives) are marked for gender-number. In this case, the masculine form is presented as the entry's headword, with the non-masculine and plural variants included within square brackets following thereafter. Another feature in play is the manner in which Wayuu nouns may be possessed. There is a sub-class of nouns that are obligatorily possessed (nposs). While in actual use these require a person prefix which references the possessor, we have chosen to cite these without such prefix in order to simplify their presentation. In the unusual case where such a possessed noun may be used without reference to a possessor, the noun is suffixed to produce its absolutive form. On the other hand, most other nouns, when possessed, take one of a set of three possessive suffixes in addition to the possessor prefix. When we have observed an unpredictable form in either of these cases, it is included as a variant in the entry, following the abbreviations abs. or poss. respectively. However, since we have not done a systematic inventory of the selection of these suffixes, the inclusion of these variants are by no means comprehensive. Like other variants, these may also be found as alphabetized minor entries unless their proximity to the main entry would render such separate entry unnecessary.
In some cases, two or more Wayuu words may share a lexical relation, based on meaning or function. When these relationships have been noted, the related words are cross-referenced to one another. An abbreviation of the label, in italics, for the type of relationship they share is presented and the related word or words then follow, separated by a colon. Often these lexical relations apply to a given sense of a word, in which case this information follows the definition and any examples. But when the relation is considered to apply to the headword itself, the related word or words (and type of relation) precedes the part of speech and definition. Some common types of these relationships are: synonyms, antonyms, and generic-specific such as types of trees or birds. Others may involve relations where several words comprise a limited set. For example, a gradation relation might designate a set of words expressing varying degrees of size or distance. A sequence might describe stages or states in a process, such as growth or maturity. And, time might relate distinctive points in the passage of time, such as times of day. General cross references, where no specific relationship has been noted, are marked by the abbreviation cf. In case the lexical relation applies to a specific sense of the cross-referenced word, the corresponding sense number is appended to the end of that word.
The Wayuu language also has a substantial number of complex forms, such as: words that are derived from other words, compound words, and idiomatic phrases formed from two or more other words. Here these are usually presented as main entries containing their full lexical information. The type of complex form followed by the word or words from which each is formed is included in parentheses, following the headword. A complex form may also be included as a sub-entry, with limited lexical information, under the entry for the principal word from which it is formed. This serves to demonstrate the relationship between the two. The sub-entry is formatted like that main entry except that it is bulleted from the left margin. Occasionally a complex form may relate to a specific sense of an entry, in which case it is presented at the end of that sense, bulleted and in bold type with similarly limited lexical data.
This dictionary also includes quite a number of affixes as entries. These can be recognized by the hyphen that precedes or follows the "headword". These are not independent words but rather are joined before (as a prefix) or after (as a suffix) to a suitable independent word and modify that word's meaning in the way indicated by the explanatory definition.
Browse English and Browse Spanish
These sections are not intended to be separate dictionaries. Rather, they are reverse indices generated from the database of the Wayuu-English-Spanish dictionary and present only limited information. Their purpose is to enable the user to search an alphabetized index of either the English or Spanish glosses that reference one or more corresponding Wayuu entries, which can then be accessed to find the full dictionary information there.
In each of these Browse sections, the English word (in blue), or Spanish word (in red) is followed by the Wayuu word or words. When the correspondence is to a specific sense of the Wayuu word, that is indicated by the appended numeral. These in turn are followed by the part of speech abbreviation of each Wayuu word. Often the English or Spanish word may be a key part of an English or Spanish phrase that corresponds to a Wayuu word. In these instances, the English or Spanish phrase is indented as a sub-entry of the key word, and its Wayuu equivalent follows along with its respective, Wayuu part of speech.
To easily access the full dictionary entry of the Wayuu word, merely click on that word, which serves as a link to take you to that individual entry.