Dictionary Entries explained


The first part of the entry gives the headword in bold, the part of speech, and the gloss in English and French (in italic). Following this, figures are given in parentheses for the number of present-day languages where reflexes of the reconstructed form have been attested, and the number of groups within Central Chadic represented by these languages. There are eighteen groups in total.

After the language statistics, there is an indication of the reliability of the reconstruction. This takes the form of a letter from A to E, with A being the most reliable. The level is determined according to the consistency of the data, the difficulty of the reconstruction, and the quantity of data available.

There then follows a commentary on the reconstruction, indicating where sound changes have taken place, how the reconstruction has been determined, and whether the word has come from Proto-Central Chadic, a later neologism, or is borrowed. Sound changes are categorised as ‘regular’ if they follow an established rule, ‘irregular’ if they go against an established rule, ‘sporadic’ if the change is common but not predictable (e.g. loss of *h), and ‘unestablished’ if the change has not been researched and it is not yet known if it is regular or not.

Beneath the header part of the entry there is a numbered paragraph for each group within Central Chadic where reflexes of the reconstructed form are attested. The proto-language for the group is given in bold, followed by the reconstructed form and its gloss in English and French.

The proto-form is followed by the data from each individual language, numbered 1.1, 1.2 etc. The language name is given in bold, followed by the author of the data source. Then the word form is given, along with the definition in English, French or both. This part of the data is as presented by the original author, except that the word forms have been normalised into IPA, and there has been some editing of the definitions. In some cases there is more than one reflex in a particular language, or there is more than one source, or more than one sense for the word. These additional forms are given as third level entries, e.g. 1.1.1 etc.