A Dictionary of the Kisi Language

ISBN 978-3-89645-109-5

A Dictionary of the Kisi Language

With an English-Kisi Index

Author: G. Tucker Childs. Series edited by: Herrmann Jungraithmayr, Norbert Cyffer.

Series: Westafrikanische Studien Volume 22

24 pp. Roman, 524 pp.
1 b/w photo, 1 map, 2 graphs, 16 tables
Text language(s): English
Format: 160 x 240 mm
1110 g
€ 49.80

The Kisi language belongs to the Atlantic languages of the Niger-Congo language family and is spoken by more than half a million people. Geographically, the language is spoken primarily in the Republic of Guinea, where it functions as one of the national languages, but also in Sierra Leone and Liberia.

The book is the first comprehensive Kisi-English dictionary. The author gathered the linguistic material during several field studies during 1983–2000. Mostly it is drawn from the southern Kisi dialect. Following a short grammatical sketch, the 6,000 lexical entries are complemented by numerous examples illustrating their use and various meanings. An attempt was made to render the meaning of the numerous ideophones as closely as possible by providing extensive English paraphrases.

The individual lexemes are complemented with grammatical information, e.g. indicating membership to one of the seven noun classes, and detailing the origin of derived verbs as part of the subcategorization information. The language has lexical and grammatical tone, and vowel length is contrastive. Both prosodic parameters are reflected in the notation of the entries. An English-Kisi index allows for easy cross-referencing.

A full discussion of Kisi grammar is available by the same author, A Grammar of Kisi: A Southern Atlantic Language (Berlin: Mouton de Gruyter 1995).


[…] this extensive work is of major importance for anyone interested in the Kisi language and culture, but also for those involved in comparative studies of African languages.

Guillaume Segerer in Journal of African Languages and Linguistics, 26/2, 2005, pp. 210-211

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