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Koromfe - English/French/German Dictionary


This revised dictionary is the result of over 20 years' research on the Koromfe language. (For more on Koromfe and the Koromba, see my Burkina Faso page.) It is still very much "work in progress" as far as integrating the sound files is concerned, but the entries themselves are quite accurate.

My original Koromfe dictionary was published as:

John R. Rennison (1985) Dictionnaire koromfe (Dialecte de Mengao), koromfe-français, français-koromfe, utilisant aussi du matériel non-publié de Wilhelm Staude. Hamburg: Buske.

Unfortunately, the original dictionary contained many errors; my first two informants had lived outside the Koromfe-speaking area for several years, and I had (and still have!) trouble distinguishing nasal and oral vowels next to nasal consonants.

The revised dictionary also contains many additional entries, examples and refinements of the meanings of words. And I added English and German translations, in order to reach a wider readership and to allow the reader to benefit from the nuances of all 3 languages. The French usage is occasionally that of Burkina Faso local French. 


The system of transcription used in this revised dictionary is basically the same as in the 1985 original. It is a broad phonetic transcription, with just one concession to "phonemics": the spirantised allophone of /g/ is not noted separately. (/g/ is spirantised except word-initially, after nasals, between tense vowels, before /j/ and sometimes before /t/.) However, I have not collapsed the allophones [d] and [r] to a single grapheme because a) there are some loan words with initial [r] (which does not occur in native Koromfe vocabulary), and b) there is a [d] allophone of /l/ (resulting from dissimilation if /d/ or /l/ precedes it - immediately or with an intervening vowel, e.g. belde, a beledo from /belVl+e/ and /belVl+d+o/ respectively.

Vowels which appear only phrase-finally are given in parentheses; within phrases these vowels are either schwa or silent.

In example sentences, elided vowels are also given in parentheses. These are either a) the article a, which is a floating melody with no skeletal position of its own. (Phrase-initially it seems to dock on to the initial CV site - cf. Lowenstamm (1999) in Phonologica 1996.)

For the encoding used in the online dictionary see the notes page.

Finally, for those who don't yet know: Koromfe has no tones. (This has been very carefully checked!) Therefore no tones are transcribed. There is also no noticeable accent, although a) schwa is weaker than all other vowels, and b) word stems are less prone to attrition in faster speech than suffix vowels.

These pages were last updated on 2007-01-15 at 21:48 by John Rennison
Medieninhaber: John Rennison, Institut für Sprachwissenschaft der Universität Wien