Friday, June 10, 2016

Pioneer Limbum Dictionary Published

Yaounde, Cameroon—As part of efforts to promote the learning and standardization of the Limbum language, the “Limbum-English Dictionary and English-Limbum Index,” was published in 2015 by the Royal Museum for Central Africa, Belgium. The author, Francis Wepngong Ndi, a linguist, studied at the then University of Yaounde and in The Netherlands.

The 418-page work contains about 6,083 main entries, an index of over 5,900 English items and 7,500 Limbum items. There is also a pronunciation guide, the Limbum alphabet, consonants, vowels and tones, and alphabetical order of tones and rare contour tones.

The dictionary entries include headwords, phonetic forms, source language, parts of speech, meaning, plural forms of nouns and noun class information. Others are verbal extensions, variant forms, homonyms, multiple senses, sub-entry, notes, example sentences and cross references.

There is also a rich bibliography and appendices on orthography and Mbum place names.

According to Francis Wepngong, earlier versions of Limbum dictionaries were lexicons, and thus not elaborate. There was therefore need to go deep, analyze Limbum grammar and set standards for reading and writing the language, he explained.

The “Limbum-English Dictionary and English-Limbum Index” is the first elaborate Limbum book with new grammar findings and pronominal uses, the author points out. Parts of speech have been covered and names of animals, trees and insects common in the Grassfields region of Cameroon have been included.

The writing of the dictionary lasted from 2002-2015, with eight Limbum native speakers providing their inputs. Francis Wepngong Ndi says the work is intended for Limbum learners and researchers and those interested in other Grassfield languages.

The dictionary which is the first elaborate work on the language costs 17,500 FCFA, but the plans to acquire reprinting rights from the Belgian publishers for the work to be reproduced locally at cheaper cost.

Limbum has more than 750,000 speakers, mostly in Ndu and Nkambe Subdivisions of Donga-Mantung Division in the North West Region. The language consists of three significant dialects, with the differences being mainly phonological, thus not affecting intelligibility.

Culled from Cameroon Tribune

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