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    The language group was studied by N. W. Thomas in 1909-1910, and
the results of this study were published in his Report on the Edo speaking
Peoples, vol. 1, in 1911. The Bini language itself is represented by a
collection of texts, some phonetic and grammatical notes, and a Bini-
English vocabulary (quoted as N.W.Th.).

    The manuscript of another Bini vocabulary which, as I was informed,
had been compiled by the Roman Catholic Mission at Benin City,
was unfortunately not available.

    A third Bini dictionary (Bini-English and English-Bini) is the one
compiled (issued in 1932 in typescript) by H. L. M. Butcher, M.A.,
who has for a long time been an administrative officer in the Benin
Division. This last dictionary is in many respects a great advance on
the other. It does not contain as many words as the one first mentioned,
but those given appear in a more suitable form, for N. W. Thomas very
often gave short, unseparated sentences as items in his dictionary.
Butcher’s dictionary gives separate words, e.g. verbs, instead of groups
containing pronoun+verb+object. He was also able to use the ortho-
graphy which, in the interval, had been decided upon by the Church
Missionary Society for their publications, while Thomas was virtually
facing an unwritten language. Another new and important feature of
Butcher’s dictionary is the tone-marking found in every heading.


    The word-material presented here is to a great extent based on the
two dictionaries above mentioned. The bulk of it was collected with the
help of Mr H. G. Amadasu of Benin City, mostly during the period from
November 1933 to July 1934. To the contents of the dictionaries, other
words were added as they occurred in texts,^1 sentences, proverbs,
songs, etc. Words that cannot be readily understood without some
knowledge of the cultural context in which they are used have been
explained by means of short descriptions, and in other items notes have
been added, indicating certain associations which those words would
evoke in a Bini speaker but not in a European student of the language.
Illustrative sentences have been incorporated wherever possible, but a
collection of proverbs and sayings intended for the dictionary has been
omitted in order not to increase its volume unduly.

    Most of these notes and descriptions were also supplied by Mr Amadasu,
but other information, especially concerning institutions at the Ɛguae,
^1 “A. Biogr.” This abbreviation refers to a text containing a biography of the
first informant; “Ɔxwahɛ Songs”, to songs used in the cult of the god Ɔxwahɛ
[ ˩ / ˩ ], also obtained from the first informant; Uke keʋe arhuaɽo, to a text supplied
by J. U. Egharevba.