Work Description

Title: Lexical spreadsheet comparative Dogon Open Access Deposited
Attribute Value
  • A comparative lexicon of numerous Dogon languages, supplemented by lexicon derived from texts. Glosses are standardized to facilitate crosslinguistic comparison. Flora-fauna terms are excluded from the Dogon spreadsheet but are presented in the work "West African flora & fauna native terminologies” (
  • Holistic linguistic fieldwork carried out on location in central-eastern Mali.
Contact information
Funding agency
  • National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH)
  • National Science Foundation (NSF)
ORSP grant number
  • multiple
Resource type
Curation notes
  • On February 24, 2020, a duplicate of file "deepblue_Dogon_comparative_lexicon.xlsx" was deleted from the record.

  • On April 6, 2020, broken link to related Deep Blue Data work was replaced with working link.
Last modified
  • 04/06/2020
  • 03/18/2019
To Cite this Work:
Heath, J. (2019). Lexical spreadsheet comparative Dogon [Data set]. University of Michigan - Deep Blue.


Files (Count: 3; Size: 6.19 MB)

readme: Dogon comparative lexicon

This spreadsheet contains lexical data from several Dogon languages of eastern Mali. The English and French glosses are standardized to permit direct crosslinguistic study.

There are columns for each language: Toro Tegu, Ben Tey, Bankan Tey, Nanga, Donno So, Jamsay, Perge Tegu (dialect of Jamsay), Gourou (dialect of Jamsay), Jamsay (Mondoro dialect), Togo Kan, Yorno So, Tomo Kan (Segue), Tomo Kan (Diangasagou), Tommo So (JH), Tommo So (LM = Laura McPherson), Dogul Dom (JH), Dogul Dom (BC = Brian Cansler), Tebul Ure, Yanda Dom, Najamba, Tiranige, Mombo, Ampari, Bunoge, Penange.

This ordering corresponds puts closely related languages together, and otherwise goes mostly northeast to southwest. Some subgroups of Dogon are a) Ben Tey, Bankan Tey, and Nanga; b) Donno So, Jamsay, Togo Kan, Yorno So, and Tommo So; c) (western Dogon) Dogul Dom, Tebul Ure, Yanda Dom, Najamba, Tiranige, Mombo, Ampari, Bunoge, Penange. The last four languages are a probable “southwestern” subgroup nested within western Dogon. Groups (a-c) plus Tomo Kan (far south) and Toro Tegu (far northeast) constitute a loose eastern Dogon group.

The columns to the left of the language-specific columns contain the following, some of which was relevant to project internal data management and may be disregarded by end-users.

code (Eng)
subcode (Eng)
code (Fr)
sous-code (Fr)
code #
subcode #

The code, subcode, and subsubcode categories were designed to permit sorting by semantic field. The "short” and “court” glosses were designed as a quick finder list. The full glosses are under “English” and “French”, “core” was intended to distinguish high-priority items (1) from lesser-priority items during fieldwork.

The standardization of glosses worked best in early years of the project when Heath and junior project members were mainly working on languages in the northeastern sector, who tended to share a common verbal culture and made similar lexical distinctions. This tendency was reinforced by the use of Jamsay and Toro So (which includes Yorno So) as lingua francas among Dogon in these areas. The lexicons of the more southernly languages (Tomo Kan) and of the western languages, especially the southwestern ones, belong to somewhat different verbal-culture zones.

Other works on Dogon lexicography are two French missionary dictionaries (Léger on Tomo Kan, Kervran on Donno So), and a dictionary of Sangha So (Toro So variety) by G. Calame-Griaule. There is ongoing work by L, McPherson on Tommo So, V. Dyachkov on Tomo Kan, S. Moran on Sangha So, and others.

Flora-fauna terms (with identifications) are omitted from this Dogon comparative spreadsheet. Dogon and other flora-fauna terminologies from Mali are presented in a separate deepblue work.

Some articles on specific lexical topics by members of our project are:

J. Heath & L. McPherson. 2009. Cognitive set and lexicalization strategy in Dogon action verbs. Anthropological Linguistics 51(1):38-63.

L. McPherson & K. Prokhorov. 2011. Structural correlates of ‘liver’ expressions in Dogon emotional vocabulary. In: G. Batic (ed.), Encoding emotions in African languages. LINCOM Europa, 38-55.


These spreadsheets are made available under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License. Please see: for more information.

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