Bantu Lexical Reconstructions 3

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BLR contains 9820 records and was last updated on march 2003

The links

More round buttons appear for each record below the Label and the ID number in the MAIN View and in the NORMAL View.

Press the green button to display the whole set of related records in the NORMAL View.
Press the yellow button to display the related MAIN record in the MAIN View.
Press the grey button to display the cross-referenced records in the NORMAL View.

The fields

There are two search screens and two resulting views with somewhat different fields.
LABEL: This version of BLR introduces a classification of reconstructions into groups of related items, i.e., items considered to represent one PB root. This is achieved by labelling all reconstructions as either MAIN or by assigning some other label. All non-MAIN entries are referenced to some MAIN entry.
no label
MAIN Yellow These are the basic reconstructed etymons.
DER Green These are reconstructions which are DERived from a basic (MAIN) etymon. The derivation can be by affixation (e.g., verb extensions, nominalization, change of noun class, reduplication) or by semantic shift. In some cases, the decision which item is basic and which is derived, is somewhat arbitrary.
VAR Purple These are reconstructions which are considered to descend from another, more basic (MAIN) etymon. They show some VARiation in form for which no regular sound correspondence is known. Reconstructions derived from such variant forms are also classified as VARiants.
COMP Blue These are reconstructed compound items, containing more than one (mostly two) roots. COMPound items are linked to the MAIN etymon of their first element (and cross-referenced to the second element, see below).
INC Grey These are reconstructed items which are considered to be identical with some other reconstruction (MAIN, DER, VAR) and hence INCluded with it. The most common type goes back to when the BLR database was first typed: at that time, the authors decided to make separate entries for identical roots with more than one translation (e.g., 'woman' and 'wife').
REF Red X These are reconstructions which have been REFused. (For example, many different shapes have been proposed for the item 'head' which the authors of BLR consider to be invalid as reconstructions.)
ID: Each entry has its unique index number, or ID, similar to Guthrie's numbered "Comparative Series".
SRC ID: Each classified entry also has a reference to its etymological source, i.e., the index or ID number of its MAIN entry. In the case of a MAIN entry, the SOURCE ID and the INDEX are identical.
SOURCE: Non-MAIN items also display their SOURCE item and its tone.
PB: The reconstructed Proto Bantu form (in most cases a nominal stem or a verbal base) is represented in a phonetic font.

Guthrie's *j and *y have been merged into *j. The problems regarding *j/y/zero are far from being resolved. In addition, Guthrie's reconstructions with a long vowel preceding NC have all been refused.
TONE: The tone of the PB form is shown in a separate field, to escape different coding in different phonetic fonts and to facilitate searching. Tones are H(igh) or L(ow). With verbs, only the tone of the first vowel is reconstructed; with other kinds of words, an underscore represents a vowel without tonal reconstruction.
ENGLISH: English translations. Different senses are listed, the first one provisionally being considered as the primary one.
FRENCH: French translations.
GRAM: The grammatical category of the reconstruction. The major categories are V and N, minor categories are A and Id. N is generally followed by one or more numbers indicating the noun class. In many cases, such lists of noun classes refer directly to the attested variation rather than being proper reconstructions.
Distribution: The distribution of a reconstruction is presented in terms of Zones and Regions where reflexes are known to occur. INCluded and REFused items have no distribution.
Each reconstruction has its individual distribution of reflexes. MAIN items also show the cumulative distribution of all related reconstructions.
single: 36454648559598133178213319408624102526132643
cumulative: 10668578057708794110141152149111553118
single: 490765136020013963
cumulative: 5294153346939 
ZONES: There are several fields showing the geographic distribution of the attestations (as far as it is known). The basic one lists the zones (as established by Guthrie, with the addition of the lacustrine zone J = D40, D50, D60, E10, E20, E30); it is preceded by another field listing the number of zones (max=16).
REGIONS: There are two more fields showing the geographic distribution in a different way. The zones have been arranged in regions as follows: NW (Zones A B C), SW (Zones H K R), Ce (Zones D L M N), NE (Zones J E F G), SE (Zones P S). These Regions are shown in one field. Preceding it is a field showing the number of Regions; this number has been increased by 1 for items occurring in a western (NW, SW) and an eastern region (NE, SE) but having no known reflex in the central Region.
  MAIN records in the MAIN view also show the cumulative geographical distribution in terms of Zones and Regions for the reflexes of the whole group of related items.
REMARKS: Comments regarding the history or the status of the reconstruction; brief argumentation of difficult cases. Abbreviations: Et.: borrowing; Ido.: ideophone; Inv.: invariable; Neol.: neologisme; Rdb.: reduplication; Rfl.: reflexive.
HISTORY: This field gives an indication about the authors of the reconstruction. In the case of Guthrie, the number of the CS is included. When two authors are mentioned, the second one often is the one who has reconstructed the tone. The authors and their publications are identified by abbreviations:
  • Bq = Bourquin (1923)
  • Bq53 = Bourquin (1953)
  • Dm = Dimmendaal
  • Gr = Greenberg
  • Gt = Guthrie
  • Hb = Homburger (1914)
  • Hb25 = Homburger (1925)
  • Hf = Hoffmann
  • Mh = Meinhof et Van Warmelo
  • Ms = Meeussen (various publications)
  • Msms = Meeussen (manuscripts)
  • Tv = the team at the Royal Museum for Central Africa, Tervuren
XREF: There are two kinds of cross references; both are only shown in the MAIN View available for MAIN entries. (Non-MAIN entries have no cross references.)
  The first group of cross references shows all related records, each with its label indicating the kind of relationship.
  The second group of cross references, preceded by the words "See also:", shows items which are not (yet) considered to be related but which have a striking resemblance that may not be totally coincidental. This second group of cross references also shows the items occurring as second parts of compound words as well as those compounds which contain the present item as its second member.
CVT: When using the Search function (the [Search Main] or [Search All] links), a phonological skeleton grid for Consonants, Vowels and Tone can be used.