Provisional

Kom English Lexicon

 

Boyo Division

North West Province

Republic of Cameroon

 

 compiled by

Randy JONES

SIL

 

2001


1. INTRODUCTION

2. THE KOM ALPHABET

3. ABBREVIATIONS

4. TABLE OF KOM NOUN CLASSES

5. TABLE OF POSSESSIVES

6. TABLE OF POSSESSIVE PRONOUNS

7. TABLE OF SUBJECT AND OBJECT PRONOUNS PLUS RELATIVE PRONOUNS

8. TABLE OF DEMONSTRATIVES


Introduction 

The Kom language (Itaikom) is spoken by over 150,000 speakers living in Boyo Division, located in the North West Province of Cameroon.  While slight pronunciation differences exist between some of the geographic areas of Kom, the essential unity and intercomprehensibility of the language is attested to by speakers from all areas.

This provisional Kom English lexicon has been compiled primarily for speakers of the Kom language, though it will also be of interest to non-speakers who desire to study or learn the language.  It is intended to serve several purposes in the further development of the Kom language.  Hopefully, the lexicon will stimulate interest in the use of Kom in its written form and will help all students of the language, both adults and children, as they learn to read and write Kom.  Further, the lexicon will serve as a repository of cultural terms and information which may otherwise be lost as the language evolves and develops over time.  Finally, the lexicon may be used as a reference source in standardizing the spelling of Kom words and terminology throughout the Kom region.

The Kom alphabet is in conformity with the General Alphabet of Cameroon Languages, which was adopted in 1979 by the National Committee for the unification and harmonization of the alphabets of Cameroon languages.

The lexicon contains over 4,000 entries and is an introduction to Kom words and phrases.  Inventaire Thmatique de 2000 Termes, published by SIL in 1987, served as a thematic basis for the initial collection of words.  Among the entries are some loan words from other languages such as English and Hausa.

Each lexical entry will include a part of speech and a brief definition in English.  Multiple definitions are numbered.  Additional information may also be given including such things as: variant spellings, plural forms of nouns, noun class genders, synonyms, antonyms, cross-references to related words, and more detailed encyclopedic information on trees.  Verbs are cited without the introductory infinitive particle s.  For example, s be  to say, is entered merely as be  v. say.

The Kom Alphabet, a list of Abbreviations, and a Table of Kom Noun Classes precede the body of the lexicon.  Following the body of the lexicon is an English Kom Index with over 5,000 entries.  For instance, the previous example of be  v. say, is reversed to yield, say  v. be.  In both cases, the part of speech refers to the Kom word.  Finally, a number of reference tables are included after the English Kom Index.  These concern possessives, demonstratives, and various pronouns, e.g., subject, object and relative ones.

The variant spellings are based upon alternative pronunciations.  Among the variants, words containing the sh sound have also been included, though phonologically, this sound is predictable as an allophone of s, occurring before palatalization, labialization, or high vowels.  It is included because many Kom speakers have requested it.

Thanks are sincerely expressed to the members of the Kom Language Development Committee (KLDC), and to those who participated on the Lexicon Subcommittee, in particular, Mr. LOH Pius who also assisted in the revision of the lexicon.  I am also grateful to the Ijim Mountain Forest Project for their Ethnobotanical Tree Survey that was carried out in 1992 by Chia Lawrence Nsom and Jeff Dick.  The detailed information from that survey has been included.  Finally, I want to thank my colleagues at SIL for their help in advising, formatting and printing the lexicon.

The KLDC is very grateful for the financial assistance that was provided by the URCO Foundation for the printing of this lexicon.

This lexicon has been developed under the auspices of the Ministry of Scientific and Technical Research.

The work of compiling a lexicon is never finished.  All who use it are invited to share their suggested additions and corrections with the KLDCs Literacy Committee.

 

Randy JONES


The Kom Alphabet 

A or

a or

abas

lizard

k

four

B

b

bo

bag

Ch

ch

chu

pound

D

d

dala

traditional gown

E

e

anse

file

F

f

fka

tree

G

g or

gel

carry on head

Gh

gh or h

ghel

people

I

i

ibi

kola nut

f

hoe

J

j

jva

river

 

du

sit

K

k

kel

basket for corn fufu

L

l

lo

lick

M

m

mlv

ants

N

n

nni

grandmother

Ny

ny

nyam

animal

al

crawl

O

o

ndo

house

k

arm

S

s

asa

corn

T

t

tem

clear with a cutlass

U

u

wul

person

UE

ue

akue

belt

V

v

vs

fire

W

w

wayn

child

Y

y

ayes

broom

Z

z

azue

nose

Low Tone1       

 

 

Falling Tone  

 

 

 

1  The Kom language has several tones or pitches.  However, in the current established system of writing, the tone on any given syllable
of a word is only marked if it is Low (`) or Falling to low ().  This lexicon does not include phonetic transcriptions of entries.

 


 

Abbreviations

 

adj

adjective

past impf

past tense, imperfect

adv

adverb

past rec today

past tense, recent, today

adv emph

adverb, emphatic

past today

past tense, today

adv intns

adverb, intensive

past ystrday

past tense, yesterday

adv simult

adverb, simultaneous

pl.

plural

Ant

antonym

poss adj

possessive adjective

asp compl

aspect, completive

poss adj logo

possessive adjective, logophoric

asp cont

aspect, continuous (imperfect)

prep

preposition

asp incompl

aspect, incompletive

pres

present tense

asp prog

aspect, progressive

pro

pronoun

assoc

associative marker

pro dem

pronoun, demonstrative

cm

centimetre

pro excl

pronoun, exclusive

cond

conditional particle

pro indef

pronoun, indefinite

conj

conjunction

pro logo obj

pronoun, logophoric, objective

conj coord

conjunction, coordinating

pro logo subj

pronoun, logophoric, objective

conj dev

conjunction, developmental

pro obj

pronoun, objective

dem adj

demonstrative adjective

pro poss

pronoun, possessive

dem intr

demonstrative introducer

pro recip

pronoun, reciprocal

excl.

exclusive

pro reflx

pronoun, reflexive

e.g.

for example

pro rel

pronoun, relative

exclm

exclamation

pro subj

pronoun, subjective

fut

future tense

quest marker

question marker

fut beyond today

future tense, beyond today

sg.

singular

fut dist

future tense, distant

s.o.

someone

fut today

future tense, today

s.t.

something

i.e.

in other words

Syn

synonym

impf

imperfect

v

verb

incl.

inclusive

v aux

verb, auxiliary

inf intr

infinitive introducer

v (imp.)

verb, imperative

interj

interjection

v (imp. intns)

verb, imperative, intensive

interrog

interrogative

voc

vocative

interrog pro

interrogative pronoun

3pl

3rd person plural

lit.

literally

3sg

3rd person singular

m

meter

(n 7/8)

noun class:  showing the singular form to be class 7, and the plural class 8

n

noun

(n 7/8)

noun class:  showing the singular form to be class 7, and the plural class 8

ncl concord

noun class concord marker

3pl

3rd person plural

ncl pf

noun class prefix

3sg

3rd person singular

ncl sf

noun class suffix

(n 7/8)

noun class:  showing the singular form to be class 7, and the plural class 8

neg

negative

voc

vocative

num

numeral

3pl

3rd person plural

num pro

numerical pronoun

3sg

3rd person singular

past dist

past tense, distant

(n 7/8)

noun class:  showing the singular form to be class 7, and the plural class 8

 


Table of Kom Noun Classes1 

Noun Class

Prefix (Suffix in Class 10)

Example

Meaning

1

-

b, wayn

father, child

2

gh-, -

ghb, woyn

fathers, children

3

-

lwe

bamboo (sg.)

4

i-

ile

bamboo (pl.)

5

i-

isa, ibi

corn (sg.), kola nut

6

a-

asa

corn (pl.)

7

a-

atam

elephant

8

-

twam

elephants

9

N-, -

ndo, kaf

horn, armpit

10

-s

ndos, kafs

horns, armpits

13

t-

tbi

kola nuts

19

f-

fnjam

axe

6a

m-

mnjam

axes

 

1 When a singular form of a word from one class is paired with its plural form from another class, these pairings are called double class genders.  There are several possible pairings in Kom: 1/2, 3/4, 3/6, 3/6a, 3/13, 5/6, 5/6a, 5/13, 7/6a, 7/8, 9/10, 19/6a.  For example, compare isa corn and ibi kola nut, class 5 for the singular forms.  Yet their plural forms are class 6 and class 13 respectively.