The following comments are targeted primarily for Kamasau speakers, although linguists will find IPA equivalents of the sounds as well. Each entry may include the following items:
1. A key word appears in bold blue type. The verbs are listed under the third person masculine singular form, for example, nandi, ‘he comes’. For family terms like moyu, ‘(my) mother’, related terms are also included, for example, kumo, ‘his mother’ and numo, ‘your mother’.
Some words have a different spelling in square brackets, [ ], following the key word. This shows the way the word is pronounced. This is included where ‘ɨ’ and ‘nɡ’ occur. The letter ‘i’ in Kamasau represents both the sound /i/ and the sound /ɨ/. The letter sequence ‘ng’ stands for /ŋ/ [ng], as in singing, and also for /ŋg/ [ngg] as in finger. Some words have a voiceless vowel as an alternate form and these are written as [i̥ or u̥]
Some entries include a capital letter at the end of the word in the pronunciation guide. This shows that the vowel is spoken very softly, without using the vocal chords (voiceless), for example, chair [charI] /tʃɑɾi̥ /.
In some Ghini dialect entries, the letter ‘t’ represents a /t̪/ said with the tongue on the teeth (dental sound) instead of on the roof of the mouth. These are represented by [th]. For a further explanation of the sounds and the alphabet of the Kamasau Language see number 11 in this section, “Pronunciation Guide”, the Phonology section, or the Appendices.
2. Parts of speech are included in italics for teachers and students. Abbreviations for parts of speech are:
2a. After each noun, a gender is indicated if the gender is known. There are four genders of nouns, partly determined on the basis of biological gender. The genders are marked on the basis of the older generation of speakers. Younger speakers tend to limit speech to two genders. Some words can have different meanings depending on the gender used.
masc masculine gender: boys, men, male pig, dogs (generic)
fem feminine gender: girls, women, pigs (generic), female dog
neut neuter gender: puppies, unborn children
ling linguistic terms like talk, speech
Example: the word wuye is feminine if used for ‘rain’, masculine for ‘river’, and neuter for ‘tank water/standing water’.
3. The meaning of the key word is given in English. Some entries include a comment to make the meaning clearer. Collins Cobuild Essential English Dictionary was the key source in deciding on the English definitions. If a word has several English meanings, these are numbered and listed separately. If another Wand Tuan word is a synonym, or close in meaning to the entry word, the entry also indicates this. For example, chuqapi no vi it shrivels (See also mese namb, qo rip).
4. The meaning in Tok Pisin is included in most entries, following a semi-colon after the English definition. If not included, it was due to difficulty in determining an equivalent expression. This was especially true for types of plants and animals. Most Tok Pisin definitions were suggested by a committee of Wand Tuan speakers and reflect Tok Pisin as used by members of the Kamasau community. Tok Pisin spellings given in the Jacaranda Dictionary and Grammar of Melanesian Pidgin were followed as much as possible.
5. Dialect information is included after the entry word when the other dialects differ from the Segi dialect which is spoken in Tring and Wau villages. When the expression in any of the three dialects is the same as that used in the Segi dialect, information for that dialect is not listed separately.
“Gh:” stands for the Ghini dialect, spoken in Ibab, Wandomi, and Wobu villages. (See Map.)
“H:” stands for the Hagi dialect, spoken in Kenyari (Nyari) village.
“So:” stands for the Soigi dialect, spoken in Kamasau and Murai villages.
suwo n bamboo, a type that can be eaten; liklik mambu bilong kaikai
Gh: tuwo; H: huwo: So: singaw [sɨngaw]
6. Examples are given to demonstrate different areas of meaning. First the Kamasau phrase or sentence is given in italic type, then the meaning in English using regular type. For example:
Ex: Ni ngaim Maikel abo wundig. She rebuked her husband Michael.
7. Idioms and derived expressions are listed in bold type. If there are dialect variants of an idiom, the variants are labelled by dialect as described in number 5 above, and written in italic type. For example, under buany, ‘sugarcane’, is the following entry:
buany tuase: sugarcane type with a lot of very sweet liquid; waitpela suga
H: buany tuha; So: maqaw.
8. “Bible term” indicates a key biblical term which has been used in translating the New Testament, and gives the English meaning of the key term. These key terms are indicated as follows, for example:
Jisas wand puaq nindig (Bible term of wand puaq nand) Bible term. Jesus removes his sin, forgives him.
9. This dictionary includes pictures and photos to illustrate cultural items, to help identify types of plants, birds, and other animals, and to add interest. John August Womosa, a Kamasau-language speaker, did the artwork. The original printed dictionary (1996) also included some bird pictures from Birds of New Guinea by Bruce Beehler, Thane Pratt, and Dale Zimmerman. They gave permission to use black and white photo copies of birds from their book in that edition. We have retained the notation of the colour plate number and bird number, so that these could be looked up. These birds were not identified by an ornithologist, but by speakers of the language looking at the colour plates of this book. Their identification was confirmed by reading the descriptions of habits and ranges of the birds. They could not identify some birds with certainty. These may represent species that have not yet been classified. Scientific names have been added at the end of each bird, animal, or plant entry where known.
10. Under the browse function of this Webonary, you can go to the Browse English Reversal-Vernacular to see the English terms and look for a vernacular word. If you want to find a term in the Ghini, Hagi, or Soigi dialects, you can type that word under the pull down menu “search”. Type in the word you are looking for, press search, and it should take you to the term in the Segi dialect. You can also type in Tok Pisin or English terms to find their reversals or related terms.
11. Pronunciation Guide to the Kamasau Language Alphabet.