There are three basic categories of data in the database. First, there are the roots – these are the basic building blocks of all words in Malagasy. Each root entry contains a translation (English or French) and the category. The root entry is linked to all the forms that are built from that root. Forms are words created from roots by adding morphemes (e.g. prefixes, suffixes). The resulting forms are semantically related to the root. For example, from a noun root like adina ‘a question’, it is possible to create the verb form manadina ‘to ask, to question’ by adding the prefix man-. Each form entry contains a translation and the category (noun, adjective, verb, etc.), but also other information such as the affixes.
Form entries also link to all the data (sentences) that contain that particular form. For example, you can find all the sentences in the database that contain the verb form manadina ‘to ask, to question’.
The third category is data – complete phrases and sentences. A typical data entry will contain a sentence and its translation as well as any notes about interesting features of this particular sentence. Some of the sentences in the database are not in fact possible sentences in Malagasy – these are marked with an asterisk (*).
From the main menu, you can access a sample record in each category that gives you an idea of what a typical entry looks like.