DICTIONARIES OF THE YOBE LANGUAGES
The major project of the Yobe Languages Research Project has been the production of dictionaries for the Chadic languages indigenous to Yobe State. There are seven dictionaries: Bade (Gashua dialect), Bade (Western dialect), Bole, Duwai, Karekare, Ngamo, and Ngizim. Each dictionary contains the following sections:
First editions of all the dictionaries except that for Duwai were published in 2004. These were really extended wordlists, with no examples of use and little grammatical information other than a grammatical category label, plurals for nouns and adjectives, and verbal nouns for verbs. All the dictionaries except for Bade (Gashua dialect) have been published in second editions in 2009. In addition to being significantly expanded in terms of numbers of head entries, the second editions come closer to being real dictionaries, with more refined English definitions, extensive examples of use, and grammatical and phonological information. Many corrections have been made to the 2004 versions, ranging from typos to outright errors in definitions or headword forms. Unfortunately, given lack of time and resources for the thorough proofreading and checking that would be necessary to eliminate all solecisms, many undoutedly remain. The editor welcomes all corrections and comments, which may be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
All editions of the dictionaries have been published in Potiskum, Yobe State, printed by Ajami Press for local sale and distribution. Print copies are essentially unavailable outside Nigeria, but the downloadable PDF versions are identical in content and formatting.
The links below will download PDF files of the dictionaries. The Language-English-Hausa Dictionaries include the introduction as well as the dictionary itself. The English-Language and Hausa-Language Wordlists are presented as separate files but are paginated continuing from the dictionaries.
To give a rough idea of the expansion in sizes of the dictionaries between the first and second editions, here are the raw numbers for headwords in the databases from which the dictionaries were compiled:
|2004 database||2009 database||No. added||% increase|
These figures represent the number of records in the respective databases, though not necessarily the number of distinct lexical items. For example, in Bole many words have alternate pronunciations with initial s- ~ sh-. These variants are not distinct words, but they have to be entered as separate records in the database because they would not be near each other in the alphabetical listing. All the languages have situations like this, but they probably do not account for more than 100-200 records for any language. On the other hand, there are many items that probably deserve separate lexical entries but that are not listed separately. This is particularly true for verbal nouns that carry meanings that are not fully predictable from the meaning of the verb and/or which would not fall next to the verb in alphabetical listing. For example, all the Bole-Tangale languages have CeCe verbal nouns for CaCa class B verbs. Not only would the verbal nouns not be alphabetized next to the verb, but they sometimes have idiosyncratic meanings. Very few of these are listed as separate entries, though dictionaries such as the Hausa dictionaries would give separate entries in comparable cases. In short, despite fact that some of the records counted in the figures above are "duplicates", overall, the numbers are probably considerable undercounts of the number of items found in the dictionaries that would merit separate entries but are "hidden" within records of related headwords.
A few new words that came up during work on Duwai were added to the Gashua Bade database, though a new edition of the Gashua Bade dictionary was not produced. Although no Duwai dictionary was produced in 2004, I had made a database of Duwai lexical material collected in the 1970's, which served as a baseline comparable to that for the other 2004 databases and which was the base to which items that appeared in the 2009 dictionary were added. The Ngamo dictionaries combine the Yaya and Gudi dialects. The numbers for both years comprise all records with a headword entry for the Gudi dialect (many of which also included a Yaya headword) plus all the entries for Yaya where there was no Gudi counterpart, either because a word of equivalent meaning was not collected in Gudi or the word in Yaya was so different from the Gudi equivalent that they appeared at different places in the alphabetical order. I did not work actively on the Yaya dialect in 2007-2009, so the added items are 100% from the Gudi dialect. Numbers for the Gudi dialect alone are 1791 in 2004 vs. 2841 in 2009 (1050 new Gudi items, a 58.6% increase), attesting to the very productive work done by the Ngamo team in assembling words. The Bole and Ngizim teams showed great resourcefulness as well in finding new items to add to their considerably larger starting base.