A simple entry should have at least five parts. First is the Pacoh headword in an orthography somewhat similar to Vietnamese. This begins each entry and is shown in bold type. Second is the phonetic form of the headword in IPA symbols in square brackets. Third is a grammatical part of speech abbreviation in blue. (See the List of Abbreviations where these are expanded). Fourth is the English definition of the Pacoh headword. This is usually composed of one or more English words that can be used to describe the Pacoh meaning. These are separated by commas and ending with a semicolon. Sometimes, further explanation is given that serves to expand the definition. Fifth is the Vietnamese definition, usually just one or more glosses in italic type followed by a period. (Ideally every entry should contain a Vietnamese definition, but many are still lacking.)
In the first example given above, only one meaning is known for the Pacoh word, ng–êp. Many words, however, have multiple meanings. These multiple meanings are called senses and they are ideally indicated by sense numbers within an entry. Each sense begins with a number followed by a dot. The various senses in an entry have distinct meanings, but they are all related in some way. That is why they are given numbers and listed under a single Pacoh headword. (In this dictionary many senses have not been distinguished by separate sense numbers. They have either been lumped in a single sense or given separate entries. Much improvement is still needed.)
You will notice that some headwords are immediately followed by a small lowered number. The lowered number is used to distinguish homonyms. Homonyms are words that have the same spelling but are unrelated in meaning. (In the following example, cháp2 is a borrowed word from Vietnamese.)
Words that represent things are called nouns and are indicated with N. as their part of speech. As with most languages of Southeast Asia, plurality is not marked on Pacoh nouns. Whether a noun represents singular or plural things may be determined by context or by addition of a quantifier, such as ngéq ‘all’. For example, mpuông is glossed as ‘roof’, but it could just as well mean ‘roofs’.
Sometimes a Pacoh headword will have a slightly different sound or spelling dependent on the speaker who uses the word. These are called variants. If a variant is known it will be listed immediately after the headword and is preceded with the label ‘VAR.:’.
Dialect variants are handled differently from other variants because this dictionary primarily represents the Tal–ay dialect (pl), but many words from other dialects are included. If no dialect is indicated, the word is almost certainly used by Tal–ay speakers, but may also be used by speakers of other dialects although not labeled and perhaps not known. If an entry is different from Tal–ay speech, it will be labeled by pa, pc, pk, or even pi, as in the mbár ‘tiger’ example. In such a case, the Tal–ay word will be indicated, such as, pl dial.: r–ai. Other dialect words may also be noted, such as, acóiq; pk dial.: cula.
a) Example sentence and English translation.
Example sentences often help to clarify a definition and to distinguish between senses.
b) Lexical Relations: Antonym, Synonym, Compare
If an entry contains other words labeled ANT:, SYN:, or See:, one can jump to those words and find that they are also referenced back to the entry one jumped from. Note that abeng ‘small branch; twig’ has a reference to akeq ‘branch’, and akeq refers to abeng.
c) Lexical Functions
There is a long list of Lexical functions, as shown in the Abbreviations list, such as nominalizations, causatives, reciprocals, causative-reciiprocals. Many of these are also linked, like synonyms, but many are not. If wanting to jump to a link, place the cursor over the word and see if it is active. See nomi: par–a; recp: tar–a in the a1 example.
d) Scientific names
Some plant and animal terms have been given their proper scientific names. This name, if known, will be underlined and italicised.
e) Borrowed words
Where it is known that a word has originally come from another language, then this has been indicated by the label: From:
f) Semantic categories
Many words, especially nouns, have been categorised by semantic domain. Most words have not been categorised yet. The Browse by Category feature enables a person to make lists of words by their categories. Under Browse by Semantic domain a person can see the category numbers in the ddp index. (see example below)