Notes on use

Video explaining the search functions

Text explaining the search functions

The dictionary is contained in its own database and is therefore not searchable with the site search in the masthead of the site. This means that to search the dictionary, you must use the separate dictionary search. There are basically two modes by which you can search the dictionary: simple and advanced. Without specifying any further options, the search is set to simply look up the exact term you enter into the text box in both Ayeri and English. An asterisk (*) serves as a wildcard — searching for k* will return all dictionary entries where the Ayeri word or the English word begins with the letter k. You can also list all entries in the dictionary by just searching for “*”, though that may take a while, since there are over 2,700 entries in the database. If the term you entered can’t be found, a list with suggestions for similar dictionary entries is returned instead, if any can be found. Note that in any case, your browser needs to have JavaScript enabled in order to use the dictionary!

The advanced part of the search will be shown if you click the “hamburger” button (≡) and then change to the “Advanced Query Options” tab. Here, you can adjust in which fields to search and according to which criteria for a more refined search. Checkboxes activate or deactivate the individual options. You can search for a string of text (to be entered into the text field at the top) within the fields:

Ayeri words
Ayeri headwords
English words
English translations of Ayeri dictionary entries
Pronunciation of the Ayeri word in IPA (without slashes or brackets)
Some additional information
Ayeri examples
An example sentence that shows you how a word is used in Ayeri
English examples
The English translation of that example sentence
Entry ID
The consecutive number of an entry in the dictionary (enter a number, not a word into the text box)

It is important to note that combining multiple search options will chain them internally with “AND”, and also that the PHP/SQL script behind the search form cannot decompose compounds or analyze inflected words and will not necessarily suggest similar entries in those cases. Thus, if you can’t find something (e.g. uncommon, laughed), try a more basic form of the word (common, laugh), just as you would in any print dictionary. Not as in Google Translate and not like in a phrasebook either. Moreover, capitalization may matter – except for names, entries are usually registered with a lowercase initial. Besides, since this is a dictionary, whole phrases aren’t typically included as keywords in the dictionary and can’t be decomposed into their constituent words either. You may want to try adding the “English examples” option in that case, though, and maybe also add asterisks in appropriate places.

The text field may also contain a regular expression if you define it by activating the respective search option (Regular Expressions). For example, if you want to search only for text strings that end in tree, you may want to search for “^.*tree$” with the “Regular Expressions” and “English words” options on, since we’re looking for an English word. ^ signifies the beginning of the line, .* matches any number of characters that may be following, and $ is the “end of line” delimiter. Instead of searching for “k*” as described above, you can of course also list all Ayeri entries that begin with k by searching for “^k.*$” with the “Regular Expressions” and “Ayeri words” options enabled.

It is also possible to search by From Date, i.e. entries that were entered from a certain date in the past onwards, and by To Date, i.e. entries that were entered previous to a certain date. These two can be combined to search within a specific time range, e.g. only March 2015 (From: 2015-03-01; To: 2015-03-31).

Another pair of filters you can add are “Part of speech” and “Tag”. Both options present you with a dropdown menu where you can choose the respective item to filter your search by. Part of speech lets you limit your search to a certain part of speech, e.g. nouns, verbs, or adjectives. Tag works the same way, but lets you search within the specified semantic field. Note, however, that only a small number of entries is tagged so far.

There are also options to list either all Ayeri words or all English words in the dictionary according to their first letter, which is basically like browsing a print dictionary.

Moreover, you can initiate the simple word search (i.e. searching for both English and Ayeri words automatically) directly from the URL bar of your browser by appending ?w=‹search term› after the URL, e.g. By appending ?i=‹Entry ID› instead, you can link to a specific entry, e.g.

In most cases, the “English words” search option accepts both American and British spelling. English infinitives are saved in the database without the ‘to’, but some verbs may include a preposition or a “so.” (“someone”) as a part of their entry. Thus, in order to search for “climb”, enter either climb*, or alternatively, ^climb with regular expressions enabled as described above, since the English definition is saved as “climb down” rather than just “climb”.


This is a list of abbreviations you may come accross in the dictionary and elsewhere on the site.

1, 1st person
2, 2nd person
3, 3rd person
A, actor; agent
a, animate
abbr, abbreviation
adj, adjective
adp, adposition
adv, adverb
agr, agreement
AGT, agent
art, article
CAU, causative
colloq, colloquial
conj, conjunction
DAT, dative
def, definite
euph, euphemism
expr, expression
F, focus
f, feminine
FUT, future
GEN, genitive
HAB, habitative
i, inanimate
ifx, infix
IMP, imperative
INAN, inanimate
indef, indefinite
INS, instrumental
int, interjection
IRR, irrealis
LOC, locative
m, masculine
MOT, motion
mpl, mass plural
n, neuter, noun
NEG, negation
npl, no plural
OBL, oblique
P, patient
part, particle
p, plural
PAT, patient
pfx, prefix
pl, plural
pr, pronoun
PROG, progressive
PST, past
PTCP, participle
q, question
REL, relativizer
s, singular
sfx, suffix
sg, singular
T, trigger, topic
TOP, topic
v, verb
vlg, vulgar

Glossing mostly follows the Leipzig Glossing Rules.

Pronunciation Key

The pronunciation given uses the International Phonetic Alphabet, IPA. University of Victoria has an interactive page where you can listen to model recordings of the sounds. Note that the transcription used in the dictionary is rather broad, also the affricates [ʧ ʤ] are given as /kʲ/, /tʲ/ and /ɡʲ/, /dʲ/, respectively, for historic and native spelling reasons. Large and by, stress falls on second-to-last syllables, but this position is usurped by syllables with long vowels, diphthongs, or those ending in /ŋ/. Stress is dynamic, that is, essentially based on loudness.

Ayeri employs these letters in its customary Latin transcription:

A Ā B C D E Ē Ə G H I Ī J K L M N O Ō P R S T U Ū V Y.

Note the absence of the letters ⟨F⟩, ⟨Q⟩, ⟨W⟩, ⟨X⟩, and ⟨Z⟩. The following tables list the speech sounds used in the language and their associated spelling. The example words given only represent approximations for speakers of English in some cases. The consonants are as follows:

SoundEnglish ExampleAyeri Example
p[p] as in spongeapan [ˈa.pan], ‘wide’
b[b] as in bigban [ban], ‘good’
t[t] as in stayatas [ˈa.tas], ‘brain’
c[ʧ] as in chaircān [ʧaːn], ‘love’
d[d] as in daddykada [ˈka.da], ‘thus’
j[ʤ] as in jobajān [a.ˈʤaːn], ‘game’
k[k] as in skinmaka [ˈma.ka], ‘bright’
g[ɡ] as in guestluga [ˈlu.ɡa], ‘among’
m[m] as in motherkamo [ˈ], ‘same’
n[n] as in nightbino [ˈ], ‘colour’
ng[ŋ] as in bangkanga [‘ka.ŋa], ‘milk’
nk[ŋk] as in banklinkān [lɪŋ.ˈkaːn], ‘test’
v[v] as in victoryavan [ˈa.van], ‘soil’
s[s] as in singpaso [ˈ], ‘sweet’
h[h] as in housetahi [ˈta.hi], ‘favourable’
r[r] as in prayergaran [ˈɡa.ran], ‘name’
l[l] as in lucknilan [ˈni.lan], ‘thought’
y[j] as in yetkoya [ˈko.ja], ‘book’

Note that /r/ is usually a tap behind the tooth ridge (speakers of American English take letter as an example, or Spanish pero) rather than the retroflex approximant [ɹ] sound of English. /l/ is also commonly not the ‘dark l’ of English, i.e. [ɫ] or [lˠ], but a plain, alveolar [l]. Furthermore, the voiceless plosives /p t k/ are usually not aspirated, so ideally there is no little puff of air after them. The letter ⟨g⟩ represents ‘hard g’ [ɡ] consistently; ‘soft g’ [ʤ] is represented by ⟨j⟩. /h/ has a tendency to assimilate in frontness to adjacent vowels, decisive is the vowel that follows, if there is one. Thus, /h/ may be realized as [x] before back vowels and [ç] before front vowels.

As for the pronunciation of vowels, note that approximating these with the sounds of English is especially tricky in some cases in the following table: in English, tense vowels are often diphthongized, however, this is commonly not the case in Ayeri.

SoundEnglish ExampleAyeri Example
i[i] as in FLEECEbari [ˈba.ri], ‘meat’
[ɪ] as in KITgindi [ˈɡɪn.di], ‘poem’
e[e] as in FACEkema [ˈ], ‘stripe’
[ɛ] as in DRESSmenyo [ˈmɛ], ‘quarter’
[ə] as in COMMAmine [ˈmi.nə], ‘affair’
a[a] as in PALMapin [ˈa.pɪn], ‘luck’
o[o] as in GOATkodan [ˈko.dan], ‘lake’
[ɔ] as in NORTHyong [jɔŋ], ‘male’
u[u] as in GOOSEgumo [ˈɡ], ‘work’
[ʊ] as in FOOTmisung [mi.ˈsʊŋ], ‘secret’

The tense vowels [a e i o u] can also be long. This is indicated with a macron – that is, a ‘dash’ – over the letter: ⟨ā⟩ [aː], ⟨ē⟩ [eː], etc. Tense and lax vowels are large and by in complementary distribution: tense [e i o u] tend to occur in open syllables, their lax counterparts [ɛ ɪ ɔ ʊ] in closed syllables (cf. a survey of Ayeri dictionary entries). For /a/, there is usually no contrast, but the vowel is always realized as a low central vowel [ä] in both open and closed syllables. There are also a number of diphthongs apart from the plain vowels. These are [ɛɪ aɪ ɔɪ ʊɪ aʊ], spelled ⟨ey, ay, oy, uy, au⟩ respectively.