LESSONS IN CHIBEMBA
( EORGE FOWUE i COLLLEC IUI
ONE HUNDRED EASY GRADED LESSONS
BY WM LAMMOND
BASED ON THE GRAMMAR OF REV. FATH. SCHOEFFER
SECOND EDITION (Revised throughout)
PRINTED BY VROMANT & CO,
RUE DE LA CHAPELLE, 3, BRUSSELS
Little claim is made to originality in the following
lessons. In fact their chief recommendation is that they
do not depart very far at any point from the most
excellent little grammar on which they are based.
They were compiled originally for the use and help
of the newcomers in the Mission, the constant complaint
being made that the Bemba Grammar on which they
are based is too compact and condensed for one who
knows nothing of Bantu dialects.
Personally I am glad to express my own indebtedness
to the book and my admiration of the sound work, and
great mass of information contained in such small bulk.
My thanks are due to the Rev. H. C. Nutter of the
L. M. S. and to Mr. W. Freshwater of the same Society,
for many useful hints while these lessons were being
prepared, also for their kindly reading through the
rough MSS. They must not, however, be held respon-
sible for any errors that may have crept into the final
That a second edition of Lessons in Bemba has been
called for indicates that it meets, however imperfectly,
a need. This present edition will be found, by those who
are in the position to judge it, considerably improved.
Each lesson has been revised in the light of a fuller
knowledge of Chibemba, many more examples have
been given. The tense system has been thoroughly
revised and more accurately placed. The vocabulary
employed has been carefully sifted and many localisms
A lesson has been added on tone, which, to the best
of my knowledge, brings this subject into prominence
for the first time. The Author had the privilege of
reading a paper on ( Tones in Chibemba before the
Union Bemba Language Committee and those present
were unanimous that :
Tones as such do exist in Chibemba;
They are absolutely necessary to the correct
speaking of the language;
That the native (gets them ) every time.
Any communications on this subject which might
lead to a fuller knowledge of them would be welcomed.
The original form of the lessons and as far as possible
the original numbering have been retained.
In a work of this kind where there are no ( standards ,,
imperfections are bound to manifest themselves, for
these due allowance will be made.
My thanks are due to the Rev. R. D. McMinn of the
Livingstonia Mission and to my colleague Mr. George
W. Sims for much helpful criticism and advice in this
Kaleba, 1921. W. L.
The spoken language .
Alphabet .. .
Elisions and changes .
Class 1. UMU ABA .
Adjectives and concords .
Class 2. UMU IMI .
Additional adjectives .
Class 3. ULU . .
Numerals I to 5 . .
Class 4. Icni II .
Class 5. I, ILI, ULU, UKU,
UB AMA . .
Class 6. AKA UTU .
Class 7. UBU . .
Class 8. UKU . .
Class 9. PA Ku Mu..
Augmentatives .. .
Diminutives . .
Review of classes . .
Gender (sex) . .
Broad prefixes . .
Infinitive . .
For... purpose of, etc. .
Time and speed . ..
Imperative . .
List of verbs . .
Requestive form . .
Personal pronouns .
Separable pronouns .
Inseparable pronouns .
Changes with N .
Possessive pronouns .
Possessives, Impersonal .
Fellow . .
Home . . .
Numerals 6 to 1000 .
LE-tense of verb . .
Question, sign of . .
Objective pronouns .
Objectives, Impersonal .
Simple Present tense 32
Modified stem . 33
A-tense of verb . .. 34
Past tense M. S ... .35
NA-tense of verb .... .36
A-tense M. S. . ... 37
To be L. . .. 38
To be UKBA . 39
The copula N . .. .40
The accent copula. .40
The copula E. . ... 41
Demonstratives. .... .42
Use of demonstratives 43
Prepositions . .. 44
Use of prepositions . 45
Subjunctive Mood. .46
UKUTI TEKUTI . 46
List of interrogatives 47
Applied form of verb 48
Use of Applied form of verb. 49
Indefinite adjectives .. 50
Comparison. . ... 51
Comparison. . ... 52
Passive Voice . .. .53
LE-tense, Future .... .54
ALA-tense of verb.. 55
KA-tense of verb .... .56
Salutations and responses 57
Relative pronoun. . 58
NTU Impersonal relative. 59
If . . .. 59
Relative pronoun. . 60
Interrogatives, etc.... 61
Au-tense of verb. . 62
ALI-tense M. S ....... 63
CHILI-tense of verb . 64
CHI-tense of verb. . 64
AcH-tense of verb . 65
TA-LA Not yet ... 66
LA Customary tense. .. 67
Interjections . .. 68
Intensive interjections ... 68
Ordinal numbers .. .. .69
Reflexive form . .. .70
Reciprocal form .. .70
AKULA-tense of verb 71
KALA-tense of verb 72
Causitive YA-FYA ... 73
Causitive SHYA . 74
Causitive ISHYA-ESHYA-IKA. 75
Adverbs, conjunctions, etc.. 76
UKUTI to say .. 77
Ti as auxiliary . .. 78
YA as auxiliary . .. 79
ISA as auxiliary. .... .79
Completive form .... .80
Intensive form . .. 80
Frequentive form .... 81
Intransitive, stative . 81
Reversive form . .. 82
Intransitive reversive 83
Reduplicated stem . 84
Adverbial form of verb 84
Outline of changes in UKU-
KAKA . ... 85
Words expressing time. .. 86
To be UKUBA .. 87
Imperative forms .. 88
BALA-PANA, auxiliaries. 89
Compound tenses .. 90
Additional subjunctives 91
Some adverbs. . ... 92
Adverbs of place .... .93
Locative suffixes Po-Ko-Mo 94
Phrases . ... 95
Formation of nouns .96
Diagram of verb tenses. .. 97
Tone or Intonation . 98
Miscellany . .. 99
An Examination .. 100
Reviews of Lessons 1 to 99.
LESSONS IN CHIBEMBA
Bemba, or Chibemba as it is called by the natives who
speak it, differs from many other Bantu dialects in that many
of the words run into each other, and to a learner this is very
perplexing. It adds considerably to the difficulty of writing
the language. Most men who have worked hard at the lan-
guage have a theory of their own as to how each difficulty
in the writing of it should be overcome.
This is not the place to enter into a discussion on the
relative values of the various solutions, but the following
hints will help the Student till he is able to detect the diffe-
rences in the way the natives pronounce the various words.
1. All natives do not pronounce exactly alike.
2. Different districts have different ways of pronouncing.
3. Some natives make much more of the initial vowel of
a word than do others.
4. Much of the difficulty of writing is on account of the
slurring that is heard between two words in rapid speech.
5. Two vowels coming together have seldom the same
value in length and emphasis.
6. In common speech, in moving the tongue from the
position of a close vowel like i or u to an open vowel as a, o
or e, a sound is heard which may be written y or w as the
case may be. A little experimenting will demonstrate this to
one's own satisfaction. Unless the breath is stopped short
between the sounds, it is difficult to avoid the semi-vowel slur.
7. Again most nouns have a vowel as first letter, and the
meeting of the final vowel of the preceding word with this
vowel is another source of real difficulty to the beginner.
He hears :
Leto bwali Lete nsalu,
the verb Leta becoming Leto, lete, and that only because
of the noun which follows.
8. Again the Past tense modified stem creates a difficulty
and one hears Leteleyo bwali for Letele ubwali, but perhaps
it is better to write the full form Ubwali and leave the reader
to pronounce as he hears the natives do, merely saying that
the u of Ubwali is not heard pronouncedly.
AS USED IN THESE LESSONS.
A pronounced as A in far, but broader than is usual in
B a bastard sound between B, V and W. Set
the lips as if to pronounce B, then with
the lips so set pronounce V without the
plosive sound of B, this is only approxi-
C pronounced always with H as church.
D always with N as in hand.
E as A in mate or E in pet. The latter when the
consonant following is : m, n, or hi.
F 7 as F in fun.
G C as in go. Always hard, and always with N.
H only heard with C and S.
I pronounced as EE in meet.
J as G in gender. Always soft, and always
K as C in cat.
L a liquid sound, often weak, sometimes like
an untrilled R.
M pronounced as in English. MB is as mb in thimble.
N as in English. For special changes see Les-
N as NG in singing. Somewhat difficult sound.
as in hope, also as in sort, no, not.
as in English. MP as in emperor.
as in English. SH as in sheep.
as in English.
as 00 in soot.
as in we.
as in young.
CHANGES and ELISIONS.
become long A written A.
S E E E.
>) ) E E.
) 0 ) O.
) "O 0 ) O.
become long E written E.
I may drop or both remain unaltered.
or U remain unaltered.
becomes Lets menshi
becomes Lete nsalu.
becomes Let6 bwali.
There are exceptions to above rules but these will be
I before another vowel generally becomes Y.
Ex. : FI plus A = Fya.
I before I sometimes becomes I.
Ex. : Wi isa
U before A, E or I becomes W.
Ex. : Tu isa
U plus 0 become 0.
Ex. : T
U plus U become U.
Ex. : T
Do not come Wisa.
u onaula We destroy Tbnaula.
u umfwe Let us hear Timfwe.
Diphtongs are rare AI in Mukwai
AY in Laya
AU in Onaula
The sound had bet
ter be learned from
Accent generally falls on the penultimate syllable, excep-
tions must be learned from native speakers.
Syllables always end with the vowel, never with a con-
In Chibemba many words have a distinct tone value (as
in Chinese) but this is a real difficulty and so far no European
has mastered them. Examples will be given towards the
end of the lessons. (Lesson 98.)
CLASS 1. J
Nouns whose singular prefix is UMU form the plural by
changing UMU to ABA.
Youth, young man
Many nouns with
Foreign words as":
no singular prefix take BA as plural
Names of certain animals as :,
SUB-CLASS B. ,
an Agent with sing. prefix KA take BA
SUB-CLASS C. *
Some words denoting gender take BA in plural.
Shimachila A hammock man Bashimachila
Shibwinga A bridegroom Bashibwinga
Nabwinga A bride Banabwinga
Nachimbusa A midwife Banachimbusa
16 CHIBEMBA ENGLISH
BA is often added to a proper noun as a plural or to show
respect. Kasembe Bakasembe
NOTE. None of the words in these sub-classes has the initial
vowel (or preprefix as it is often called).
That the learner may begin at once to use the concord
prefixes, or concords as they are often called, a few adjec-
tives are given and the manner in which they are linked to,
and follow, their respective nouns, is shown.
Nice, good -bi
Big, great -nono
The concord prefixes for nouns of class 1 are, singular U
or MU, plural BA. The U in singular is used with numeral
adjectives 1 to 5 (see Lesson 8) and with indefinite numerals,
all, any, many, other, etc.
A good person.
A bad youth.
A big man.
A good girl.
A little child.
Translate the following. (Words in brackets are not
required in Bemba.)
(A) bad person.
(A) good wife.
(A) great enemy.
(A) little girl.
All (the) people.
(A) big woman.
(A) big white man.
All your fellows.
: All (the) enemy.
All (the) invalids.
NOTE. The U of UMU before'the vowel A becomes W, e. g.
The A of BA before O drops, e. g. Abantu bonse, not baonse.
(See elisions, Lesson 2.)
Nouns whose singular prefix is UMU, other than those of
the UMU, ABA-class, form the plural by changing UMU to
Noun. Meaning. Plural.
Umuti Tree Imiti
Umwando Cord, rope Imyando
Umwinshi Doorway Iminshi ;
Umunga Thorn Imyunga
Umumana River Imimana
Umwanda Hundred Imyanda
Umulandu Affair, matter Imilandu
Umutima., Heart Imitima
Umutwe Head Imitwe
Umuba Bellows Imyuba
Umufwi Arrow Imifwi
Umuchila Tail Imichila
Umukonso Lower leg Imikonso
Umukoshi Neck Imikoshi
Umuku Time, occasion Imiku
Umulando Log Imilando
Umulilo Fire Imililo
Umulomo Lip Imilomo
Umulumbe Tale Imilumbe
NOTE. The concord prefixes for linking up the adjective with
nouns of this class are: Singular, U (MU may be occasionally heard);
Plural, I (this is often heard as YI, in rapid speech).
Note how the I in the plural becomes Y before another vowel.
A good tree.
A little cord.
Short cords, or ropes.
A big affair, important matter.
A short neck.
All the necks.
The whole neck (all the neck).
A large river.
A good tale.
All occasions (every occasion).
Many times, often.
Whole, perfect, complete.
Green, raw, unripe, uncooked, fresh.
Fierce, angry, wild.
Same as kalamba.
NOTE. An adjective cannot be used without the concord prefix
proper to the noun qualified. MBI alone conveys no meaning, whereas
UMBI, etc., means another person or thing.
EXAMPLES IN CLASSES 1 AND 2.
Abalun endo bakali
An angry person.
An evilly disposed person.
Different affairs, other matters.
Big people, or important people.
Fierce young men.
, Other youths.
A big girl.
A fierce enemy.
A bad loaf.
Small loaves, scones.
A big woman, or an important
A big, important, or elderly man.
Whole heart, all the heart.
A little tail.
A large log or beam.
A large fire.
The learner is advised to exercise himself with the different
adjectives, singular and plural.
Generally no prefix in singular; plural form always has
M, N, or I as initial consonant. Some nouns have the prefix
ULU in the singular form, but these can be learned as they
Time (space of)
The concord prefixes for use with adjectives : Sing. I
(often heard as YI), LU for nouns beginning with that
prefix, plural for all: SHI. Before the vowels A, E, 0, and U,
SHI becomes SHY.
Insalu isuma Nice calico.
Insalu shisuma Fine calicos.
Tnwena ikali A fierce crocodile.
Ifhwena shikali Fierce crocodiles.
Ulupili lukalamba A big hill.
Impili shikalamba Big hills.
Inondo ikulu A large hammer.
Inondo shikulu Big hammers.
Inkalamo ikalamba A large lion.
Inkalamo shikalamba Big lions.
Ilanda isuma A fine house.
Ifianda shingi Many houses.
Inombe shyonse All the cattle.
Ulusengo lukulu A large horn.
Ulusengu lubishi A green bamboo.
Insengu shingi Many bamboos.
NOTE. Amafianda, also Amayanda are heard as plurals for
An alternative concord for nouns with no singular prefix
is simply N.
Mfumu nkalamba A great chief.
The roots of numerals one to five take concord prefixes
after the manner of other adjectives. They require to be
connected with their noun by the proper concord prefix
and cannot be used alone.
They are as follows :
-MO 1 -BILI 2 -TATU 3 -NE 4 -SANO 5
NOTE. Singulars for class I take U for concording prefix with
numerals, and not MU as with other adjectives.
I nsoka shibili
1 clay pot
Combining numerals and other adjectives we get :
Abantu basano basuma
Umuntu umo mukalamba
Umusungu umo mwaume
Ifombe shisano shikota
Ihombe shisano shilume
Inkoko shibili shinono
Umulilo umo ukalamba
Inongo shibili shinono
Inongo imo ikulu
5 good people.
1 important person.
1 European, a man.
5 female cattle (cows).
5 male cattle (bulls).
2 little fowls.
1 large fire.
2 small clay pots.
1 large clay pot.
4 clay pots
2 young men
Singular prefix : ICHI; Plural : IFI.
NOTE. Before the vowels A, E, O and U, the ICHI and IFI
become ICHY and IFY.
Ford, ferry landing
Mat (of papyrus)
Top knot of hut
Concord prefixes : CHI, FI, or CHY, FY.
Ifipembele fibili fikali
Ifipushi fibili finono
Ifipe fikulu fisano
A little (light) load, or small basket.
A good ford or ferry landing.
A large nest (as made for lien).
Two fierce rhinoceroses.
A large potato.
Two small pumpkins.
Five large loads.
Five singular prefixes I, ILI, ULU, UKU, UBU, all
having the same plural prefix AMA.
Noun. Meaning. Plural.
Ilinso Eye Amenso
Itete Reed Amatete
Isembe Axe Amasembe
Ulupi Palm of hand Amapi
Ulukasa Foot Amakasa
Ulukasu Hoe Amakasu
Ukulu Leg Amolu
Ukutwi Ear Amatwi
Ukuboko Arm Amaboko
Ubuta Bow, gun Amata
Ubunga Meal, flour Amonga
Ubutanda Mat (of reed) Amatanda
Ubulwele Sickness Amalwele
NOTE. If a noun of class 3 is heard used with plural prefix MA,
the MA seems to denote greater quantity.
Ulupili Hill Impili Hills Mapili Big hills.
Concording prefixes: Singular, LI, LU, KU, BU; Plural, YA.
Words like Ulubango, plural Imango, while they appear
to belong to this class really belong to class 3, as they use
SHI as plural prefix with adjectives. Imango shisuma -
Ilinso limo One eye Amenso yabili.
Ukuboko kumo One arm Amaboko yabili.
Itete lisuma A good reed Amatete yasuma.
Ulupili lunono A small hill Amapili yakalamba.
Amakasa yakalamba Big feet marks (lit.), great feet.
Amasembe yasano ya- Five good axes.
NOTE. It will be learned that many nouns in this class seem to
have lost the preprefix I and as the L is weak it drops out, so that one
commonly hears Isembe, for axe; Ikumi, for ten, etc.
When the L is added to such nouns it seems almost to have the
force of ( It is. z Some hold that the preprefix is the article, or at least
what is left of it in Bantu.
Singular prefix : AKA;
Sun, daylight, day
A small bird
Concord prefixes : Singular, KA; Plural, TU.
The A of KA and the U of TU coalesce with O.
The U of TU becomes W before the vowels A, E, and I.
A fierce rabbit Utululu tukali.
One infant Utunya tubili.
A little grasshopper Utupaso tutatu.
A little tsetse
One day (day time)
A fine child
A big black otter
A little idol
A fine water spring
A large mouse
(See Lesson 8 for numerals 1-5.)
(See Lesson 16 for another use of AKA-, UTU prefixes.)
Prefix : UBU, no plural.
Mostly abstract nouns.
Untidiness Ubwingi Abundance
Stinginess Ubusuma Beauty, good-
Lies Ubutuntulu Wholeness
Faith, belief Ubuntungwa Freedom
Theft Ubukote Old age
Shortness Ubupe Gift, generosity
Enmity Ubulwele Sickness
Lethargy, idle- Ubuf-o Theft, stealing
Ubwaichye Youth, child-
Many verbs in their Infinitive form are used as abstracts.
A great lie, great lies.
A good faith, belief.
Other enmity (of a different sort).
A bad (kind of) sickness.
A bad theft.
Real goodness (ine = true, real).
Sometimes -INE is reduplicated for emphasis.
Ubusuma bwine bwine
Ubukulu bwine bwine
Real goodness indeed.
A proper kind of greatness (no
To express surprise the abstract is sometimes joined to
a noun direct without the concord.
What lovely children !
What a crowd of people !
What a great tree !
What an evil disease !
Prefix : UKU, no plural.
Consisting entirely of verbs in the Infinitive.
The second U of UKU coalesces with 0 and U to make a
long vowel; before other vowels it changes to W.
To bring, bringing.
To go, going. (Enda.)
To cut, cutting.
To hear, hearing. (Umfwa.)
To write, writing.
To cook, cooking. (Ipika.)
To cultivate, cultivating.
To warm oneself. (Onta.)
To run, running.
To die, dying.
To speak, speaking.
To send, sending.
To leave off, leaving off.
To catch, catching. (Anka.)
To remain, sit. (Ikala.)
To work, working.
This class must not be confused with class 5, plural MA.
Here though used and treated as a noun, it is always a verb,
and has no plural form.
Ukwenda kumbi A unique way of walking.
Ukuteta kumbi A different way of cutting.
Ukulemba kusuma Good writing, printing.
Ukulemba kubi Bad writing, printing.
Ukubutuka kumbi A different way of running, may mean :
A better way, a worse way, a unique
way, an absurd way.
A common combination of this form of the noun is met
with in conjunction with the personal possessive pronouns.
PA KU MU
By prefixing PA, KU, or MU to a suitable noun, the noun
so prefixed is brought into this class irrespective of the class
proper to that noun.
PA At, On, By, etc.
Ku To, From, Toward, etc.
Mu In, Within, Inside, etc.
Concord prefixes : PA, KU, MU.
Pamutwe On the top of the head.
Mumutima In the heart.
Pamulando On the log.
Palupili On top of the hill.
Kulupili By the hill, On the hill (but not yet at the top).
Kunsaka To the rest hut.
Pamwinshi At the doorway.
Mufanda In the house.
Mumayanda In the houses.
Mumulilo In the fire.
Pachyabu At the ferry, landing place.
Muchyani In the grass.
With nouns of the fifth class where the preprefix I has
been lost, the L drops and the A of PA coalesces with the
I to make E. In all other cases the A of PA is constant.
Peshiko At the fireside, not paishiko.
Pebumba At the crowd, not paibumba.
Pctanga At the cattle pen, not paitanga.
The U of KU and MU follows the usual rule and becomes
W before other vowels.
Mwibumba In the crowd, not muibumba.
Mwitanga In the cattle pen, not muitanga.
Kwishilya To the other side. not kuishilya.
Most nouns can be made to express the idea of greatness,
either of bulk or importance by prefixing ICHI to the sin-
gular form and IFI to the plural form of the noun no matter
to which class the noun belongs. For the time being a noun
so changed is treated as belonging to the ICHI IFI class.
Ordinary form. Meaning. Augmentative form. Meaning.
Umulandu Affair Ichimulandu A big affair,
Imilandu Affairs Ifimilandu Great matters.
Ordinary form. Meaning. Augmentative form. Meaning.
A big rest hut.
Big rest huts.
A big bow.
A big log.
A big axe.
One commonly hears :
:A big river,
A big mouth,
A big basket,
for Ifimimana, etc.
When in doubt use the fuller form, it will be understood
though not perhaps accurate whereas the shortened form
may convey a somewhat different meaning.
With nouns already in the ICHI IFI class it is
customary to use an adjective denoting size, greatness, etc.
A big iron.
A big stick.
A big thing.
These are obtained in a similar manner to the Augmen-
The Diminutive prefixes are : Singular, AKA; Plural, UTU.
They express smallness, trivialness.
Ordinary form. Meaning. Diminutive form.
Umwinshi Doorway Akamwinshi
Iminshi Doorways Utuminshi
Ordinary form. Meaning. Diminutive form.
A trivial matter.
A little log.
A little rope, string.
A small rest hut.
Small rest huts.
One often hears :
instead of Akamwando.
Usage and euphony alone deciding which form shall be
Again, when in doubt, use the fuller form.
With nouns already in the AKA UTU class, such as
Akanwa, etc., to express the diminutive idea the common
way is to use a suitable adjective.
Akumumana kanono nono
A little mouth.
A little rabbit.
A very small stream.
SKETCH OF CLASSES AND CONCORDS
for use with Adjective and for reference.
Class. Prefix. Noun. Meaning. Concord.
1. S. UMU Umuntu Person U or Mu
P. ABA Abantu People BA
2. S. UMU Umumana River
P. IMI Imimana Rivers
U Umumana usuma.
I Imimana isuma.
4. S. ICHI Ichintu Thing CHI Ichintu chisuma.
P. IFI Ifintu Things FI Ifintu fisuma.
6. S. AKA Akalulu Rabbit KA Akalulu kasuma.
P. UTU Utululu Rabbits Tu Utululu tusuma.
7. S. vuu Ubupyani Inheritance Bu
8. S. UKU Ukuleta Bringing Ku
9. S. PA
Only the adjective -SUMA, good, nice, pleasant, etc., is
shown in above review, but the learner is advised to practise
with all the other adjectives. Only by practice can one hope
to become familiar with the ever changing concording
Gender denoting sex in Chibemba may be said to be :
(1) Masculine; (3) Common;
(2) Feminine; (4) Neuter.
Gender is marked in three different ways :
(1) By the use of a prefix;
(2) By the use of distinct word stems coupled with
necessary class prefix;
(3) By the use of distinct words for the names of male
3. S. ULU
5. S. I
(1) The prefixes denoting gender are :
Masculine : SHI.
Shibwinga A bridegroom.
Shikulu My grandfather.
Shimachila A hammock man.
Shimelu A mail man.
Feminine : NA.
Nabwinga A bride.
Nakulu His grandmother.
Nankoko A hen.
Nadombe A cow.
(2) Word stems with prefix :
Umuntu mwaume A person, a man.
Masculine : -LUME.
Umulume Husband, male.
Ifombe ilume A bull.
Inama ilume A male animal.
Feminine : -KASHI.
Umwanakashi A woman.
Ihombe yanakashi A cow.
Inama ikota Female animal.
linombe ikota A cow.
(3) Distinct words for gender are :
Masculine : Feminine :
Sawe A he goat. Umusolo A pullet.
Pumbwe A he goat. Umutende A pullet.
Sukusuku A ram.
Mukolwe A cock.
Tata My father. Mayo My mother.
Mama My grandmother.
The names of animals, relationships, etc., where the sex
is not indicated are of the common gender.
Things without sex are sometimes spoken of as male or
female according as they are hard or soft, as trees, wood.
Otherwise they are neuter.
SUp till the present we have been using, what may be
termed, the narrow prefix, as concording particle. There is
another prefix used with the noun to join up verbs, adverbs
and other nouns. It may be called the broad prefix.
It consists of the narrow prefix plus A.
U plus A = WA
I plus A = YA
Class. Prefix. Narrow. Broad prefix.
1 UMU U Or MU WA
ABA BA BA
2 UMU U WA
IMI I YA
3 ULU LU LWA
4 ICHI CHI CHYA
IFI FI FYA
5 I LI LYA
ILI LI LYA
ULU LU LWA
UKU KU KWA
UBU BU BWA
AMA YA YA
6 AKA KA KA
UTU TU TWA
7 UBU BU BWA
8 UKU KU KWA
9 PA PA PA
KU KU KWA
MU MU MWA
Proper nouns, and nouns of class 1, sub-classes A, B, C,
require the particle KWAA after the broad prefix in the sin-
Umupando wa kwa Kasembe Kasembe's chair.
Imfuti ya kwa bwana Bwana's gun.
Libuku lya kwa kafundishya It is the teacher's book.
Ubwali bwa kwa shimelu The mail man's mush.
When the noun is in the plural the KWA is dropped.
Umupando wa babwana The bwanas' chair.
Umusangu wa Bakasembe The habit of the Kasambes.
The terms Broad and Narrow are not quite accurate as
BA, YA, KA, PA will be seen to be exceptions. They are
used merely as expressing more or less the marked difference
between the two sets of prefixes.
Of, as between two nouns, is expressed by the use of the
broad prefix :
Umuntu wa maka A man of strength.
Abantu ba mfumu The people of the chief.
Inondo ya mulumendo The hammer of the youth.
Ukulya kwa mfumu The food of the chief.
The Infinitive form of the verb we are already familiar
with in the noun classes, class 8. The prefix UKU being the
sign of the Infinitive.
UKU -KAKA To tie.
While the initial U is weak and is often lost sight of, its
presence is manifested by the changes it calls for in the
finals of words which preceded it.
No kuchita = Na ukuchita, etc.
The second U of UKU undergoes the usual changes. It
becomes W before A, E and I. It coalesces with 0 to make
CHIBEMBA ENGLISH 35
a long 0, and with another U it makes long U. (See Lesson 13
A common negative form of the Infinitive is the introduc-
tion of the negative particle SHI or TA between the prefix
and the verb stem.
Ukushiwama Not being good or Ukutawama.
Ukushisosa Not speaking or Ukutasosa.
Ukushileta Not bringing or Ukutaleta.
By prefixing the negative particle TE to the Infinitive
form another negative Infinitive form is obtained.
Te kusosa Not to speak.
Te kuchita Not do to.
Note how the initial U drops in this form.
Still another very commonly heard form is the addition of
negation IYO = no, after the Infinitive of the verb. This
is generally proceeded by the conjunction NA = and.
No kuleta iyo And not bringing, and not to bring.
No kusosa iyo And not speaking, and not to speak.
FOR, as expressing purpose of, use of, etc., is expressed
by the broad prefix in conjunction with the Infinitive of the
Inkuni shya kenta Firewood to warm oneself.
Amenshi ya kusamba Water for washing.
Amenshi ya kunwa Water to drink.
Insalu shya kufwala Calico to wear.
Imbuto shya kubyala Seed for sowing.
Some verbs from their nature require the Relative form
of the verb for this. (Lesson 48.)
Time and speed are expressed by the following :
NOMBA Now, at once.
MAILO To-morrow, yesterday.
MASOSHI The day before yesterday, day after
PE NA PE
INSKIKU SHYONSE PE
Already, long ago, in the past, in the
Quickly, speedily, speed, quickness.
as Ulubilo, At once.
Little by little.
Always, continually, lit. all the days.
For ever and ever, continually.
The Imperative form of the verb is the simple stem,
i. e. the Infinitive shorn of the UKU-prefix. It makes its
plural form by changing the final A to ENI.
Infinitive. Imperative. Imperative plural.
Ukukaka To tie. Kaka Tie. Kakeni Tie ye.
Leteni inombe shyonse nomba Bring ye all the cattle at once.
Tumo muntu ku Mbereshi bwangu Send a person to Mbereshi quickly.
Chite milimo yonse lelo Do all the work today.
Lete fipe fyonse lelo Bring all the loads today.
Kakeni amatete yonse Tie ye all the reeds.
The negative Imperative is I inserted between the pro-
noun and the verb stem :
Nileta I must not bring.
Wileta You must not bring.
Eleta He must not bring.
We must not bring.
You (ye) must not bring.
They must not bring.
Mwileta hiombe lelo Dont bring the cattle today.
Wileta chipe chikalamba Dont bring a big load.
Beleta fipe fingi They must not bring many loads.
The final A of the verb stem in the Imperative negative
is constant. It never coalesces with any other vowel nor
To warm one-
Infinitive. Imperative. Imperative plural.
To cook Ukwipika
To wash Ukusamba
To drink Ukunwa
To hammer Ukupampami-
To eat Ukulya
To fasten Ukufunga
To cut, hack Ukuteta
To speak Ukusosa
To bring Ukuleta
To die Ukufwa
To walk Ukwenda
To send Ukutuma
To cease Ukuleka
To write Ukulemba
To sweep Ukupyanga
To do Ukuchita
To draw waterUkutapa
To place Ukubika
NOTE. It is as well to note that many of these words, and other
words that will be met with in the course of these Lessons, have more
meanings than the one given, and for that reason it is well not to get
too hard and fast an idea of the meaning of a word. The meaning
given will be a common one and generally the most important
meaning of that particular word.
A USEFUL REQUESTIVE FORM
The Subjunctive Mood (see Lesson 46) is milder than the
express command and comes very near to our (( please )
when used in second or third person plural in addressing
Please speak, kindly speak, you may speak.
You might sweep, please sweep.
Please draw the water.
You might bring me a chair.
Place (it) here.
The plural so used is merely politeness.
Personal pronouns may be divided into two classes and
for convenience called separable and inseparable.
The separables can be used apart from the verb and as
their name suggests they can stand alone.
The inseparables can only be used in conjunction with a
verb, and no verb is complete without its proper pronoun,
save in the Infinitive or Imperative.
The separable pronoun cannot be used with the verb in
place of the nominative pronoun (inseparable) though
it is sometimes used as an objective in place of the insepar-
I, me INE
Thou, thee IWE
He, him, she, her -
It will be seen that the third person singular and plural
are left blank. There does not appear to be a definite pro-
noun but the demonstrative pronouns take the place.
UYU or WENE ABA or BENE
The use of the separable pronoun :
For asking and answering questions;
In calling people;
In pointing out people, etc.
Ine nasosa I spoke.
Iwe waleta You brought.
Who is there? Ine. It is I. or Nine.
Who told you? Uyu. He (told me). Ni uyu.
Who brought it? Aba. They (brought it). Ni aba.
Iwe' or We' You (voice raised as in calling).
Imwe' or Mwc' You (plural).
Uyu or Ni uyu He, she.
Aba or Ni aba They, them.
The negative particle TE used before the separable pro-
noun is equivalent to (( not ).
Te ine. Not I. Te iwe. Not you. Te uyu. Not he.
Te ine? Was it not I? Te uyu? Is it not he?
Perhaps the Student would be wise not to use the separ-
ables too much till once he has mastered the inseparables,
as these are really the more important in common use.
The inseparable pronouns can only be used in conjunction
with a verb.
- I NSHI Not I
- Thou TAU Not thou
A He, she TA Not he, she
To We TATU Not we
lMu You TAMU Not you
BA They TABA Not they
It will be seen that the negative particle TA placed before the
pronoun makes the negative; NSHI in first person singular.
Nsosa I speak. Nshisosa I do not speak.
Usosa Thou speakest. Tausosa Thou dost not speak.
Asosa He speaks. Tasosa He does not speak.
Tusosa We speak. Tatusosa We do not speak.
Musosa You speak. Tamusosa You do not speak.
Basosa They speak. Tabasosa They do not speak.
In actual speech this tense would be very often met with
in the Subjunctive Mood which will be learned later. (Lesson
46.) This tense in the Indicative Mood cannot stand alone,
it needs a completive word or words, generally an adverb.
It is used of customary action. (Lesson 32.)
As the pronoun N is a disturbing element and gives rise to
various changes when joined to the verb stem, the next
lesson will give these changes fully and the student is ad-
vised to master them once for all.
LIST OF CHANGES WITH N BEFORE VERB STEMS
As pronominal prefix the letter N first person singular,
involves the following changes :
N before A inserts J Njabuke not Nabuke cross.
N >B becomes M Mbuke n Nbuke divine.
N C no change Nchite do.
N E inserts J Njebe Nebe tell.
N F becomes M Mfike a Nfike arrive.
N I inserts J Njite a Nite call.
N K no change Nkake tie.
N L becomes D Ndete a Nlete g bring.
N M drops Mone a Nmome see.
N N drops Nonke Nnonke possess.
N N N drops Nwiiwinte NAwifiwinte U murmur.
N 0 Oinserts J Njobe Nobe paddle.
N P becomes M Mpite a Npite pass.
N S no change Nsose speak.
N T no change Ntote thank.
N U inserts J Njubule Nubule peel, pare.
N W inserts G Ngwile a Nwile fall.
N Y inserts J Nje Nye go.
N U or W becomes N if the U or W is followed by N or M.
Ex.: Bafumine They beat me Not Ba. n. umine.
Chyafwamina It is good (or suitable) Not Chya. n. wamina.
CHIBEMBA ENGLISH 41
In some districts the J inserted has the sound approximat-
ing more to G.
The occurrence of a double consonant in the verb stem
such as MB, MF, NG, NK, etc., affects the N as follows :
When the first vowel is A, O or U, the N becomes N.
INonke That I may suck onka.
1umfwe That I may hear umfwe.
When the first vowel is E or I, N inserts Y.
Nyingile That I may enter ingila
Nyende That I may go enda.
N before B.--When MB, or ND, occurs in second syl-
lable of verb stem, N becomes M as usual, but the initial B
consonant of verb drops.
Mombe That I may work bomba.
Minde That I may gird up my binda.
(There are some exceptions to this rule but it is very
N before L. When MB or ND occurs in second syllable
of verb stem the L simply drops. Also before NG.
Ninde That I may wait linda.
The personal possessive pronouns are :
-ANDI My, mine. -ESU Our, ours.
-OBE Thy, thine. -ENU Your, ours.
-AKWE His, her, hers. -ABO Their, theirs.
NOTE. (1) These require the narrow prefix as used with the
(2) Class 1 uses the U prefix in the singular.
(4) There is no gender in the possessives.
Ifianda yandi My house. Ifianda shyesu Our houses.
Umushya obe Thy slave. Abashya benu Your slaves.
Umwana wakwe His child. Abana bakwe His children.
Inondo yakwe His hammer. Inondo shyakwe His hammers.
Insengu shyabo Theirbamboos. Insengu shyenu Your bamboos.
Ukubomba kwesu Our work. Ukubomba kwaboTheir work.
Ubufi bwakwe His lies. Inongo shyakwe Her pots.
Ubulungu bwakwe Her beads. Ubulungu bwabo Their beads.
Ubulwele bwesu Our sickness. Amalwele yenu Your sicknesses.
Abashya besu Our slaves. Imilimo yobe Thy work.
Ululimi lwenu Your language. Ndimi shyesu Our languages.
Ulukasu lobe Thy hoe. Amakasu yesu Our hoes.
Ulukasu Iwandi lunono My little hoe.
Imilimo yenu yikalamba Your great work.
Inondo yakwe yikulu His big hammer.
Insalu shyesu shisuma Our fine cloths.
Ubwato bwandi bukalamba My big boat.
Ifiombe shyesu shyonse All our cattle.
Ifiombe shyobe shyonse All thy cattle.
Ukusosa kwesu Our speech, speaking.
NOTE.-U before O drops.
U becomes W before A, E, I.
I before A, E, O, and U, becomes Y.
The impersonal possessives present a little difficulty at
first sight, but if carefully examined and considered the
difficulty will soon disappear. It is expressed by the use of
the broad, and the narrow prefixes with KO as suffix.
The broad prefix of the thing possessed comes first, followed
by the narrow prefix of the possessor, with KO suffix, no
matter to which class the possessive belongs.
The dog and its pups, would be expressed : Imbwa na bana
broad prefix from bana
narrow prefix from imbwa
suffix common to all possessives.
Ifiombe ne nsengo shyashiko
Tiombe no mwine waiko
Imbokoshi no mwando waiko
Inkoko na bana baiko
Ubwato ne nkafi shyabuko
Ulukasu no mupini waluko
Inchinga ne mipeto yaiko
Umupika na mafwesa yauko
Inongo na mafwesa yaiko
Inongo na mafwesa yashiko
Akalulu na matwi yakako
Ukulu ne miswiswi yakuko
Umupando no musao wauko
Utuni ne finsa fyatuko
The cattle and their horns.
The cow and its owner.
The box and its rope.
The hen and its chicks,
The boat and its paddles.
The hoe and its handle.
The cycle and its tyres.
The iron pot and its hobs.
The clay pot and its hobs.
The clay pots and their hobs.
The rabbit and its ears.
The leg and its pains.
The chair and its cushion.
The little birds and their nests.
Wayiko is often heard for Waiko.
Note the changes in NA before the various nouns.
(1) The combination of the personal noun prefix UMU,
plural ABA, and the possessive pronoun and insertion of
the letter N gives the word meaning : friend, companion,
Umu-n-a (n) kwe
Umu-n-e (n) su
In common speech one frequently hears Umubiyo for
Umunobe and Umubiye for Umunabo, plural Ababiyo-
(2) The combination of MU and the possessive pronoun
gives the word meaning : place, home. This form in use
requires the preposition KU, to, etc., PA, at, etc., MU, in,
etc. This seems to be the only word for ( Home) in Chibemba.
Formation. Use. Meaning, Plural.
Mu-andi Mwandi My home Myandi
Mu-obe Mobe Thy home Myobe
Mu-akwe Mwakwe His home Myakwe
Mu-esu Mwesu Our home Myesu
Mu-enu Mwenu Your home Myenu
Mu-abo Mwabo Their home Myabo
The plural form seems to be used indiscriminately with
the singular and means exactly the same thing.
A chief might say: ku mwandi, a commoner would be more
likely to say: ku mwesu or ku myesu.
NOTE. -nankwe and -biye of Nr 1 may be used of things, animals,
etc., and in that case might be translated : fellow, mate, etc., they
would of course require the prefix proper to the noun in question.
Inkalamo ne inankwe The lion and its mate.
Ichintu ne chinankwe The thing and its fellow.
Lunankwe, lubiye, shinankwe, shibiye, etc., etc.
The numerals six to nine inclusive, differ from one to
five in that they do not require a prefix, but can stand alone.
They are :
MUTANDA six CHINE LUBALI seven
CHINE KONSE eight or CHINE KONSE KONSE eight
FUNDI nine or PABULA nine
IKUMI ten, is a noun of the 5th class, plural Ama.
CHINE LUBALI means four on one side, i. e. three fingers
of one hand and four of the other in
or CHINE KONSE KONSE means four
everywhere, i. e. four fingers of each
comes from Ukufundike minwe, to shut
the fist. Both fists are shut and knuckles
brought together in counting 10.
means : there lacks i. e. there lacks one
to make ten.
Abana chine lubali
Abalumendo chine lubali
Inombe chine konse
Ikumi lya banakashi
The higher numbers are expressed :
11. ikumi na -mo
12. ikumi na -bili
13. ikumi na -tatu
14. ikumi na -ne
15. ikumi na -sano
16. ikumi na mutanda
17. ikumi na chine lubali
18. ikumi na chine konse
19. ikumi na pabula
20. amakumi yabili
21. amakumi yabili na -mo
22. amakumi yabili na -bili
23. amakumi yabili na -tatu
24. amakumi yabili na -ne
25. amakumi yabili na -sano
26. amakumi yabili na mutanda
27. amakumi yabili na chine lubali
28. amakumi yabili na chine konse
29. amakumi yabili na pabula
30. amakumi yatatu
40. amakumi yane
50. amakumi yasano
60. amakumi mutanda
70. amakumi chine lubali
80. amakumi chine konse konse
90. amakumi pabula
100. umwanda, plural Imyanda (class 2)
1000. ikana, plural Amakana (class 5)
Ikana is a somewhat uncertain figure, some even
use it of 100
224. imyanda ibili na makumi yabili na yane (with
noun class 5)
589. imyanda isano na makumi chine konse na
999. pa bula chimo ukufika kwikana limo
After all this the learner will not be surprised to hear that
all teaching of arithmetic in schools is done in English.
The process of counting in Chibemba save for simple things
being far too cumbersome.
A simple Present tense in common use is that characterized
by the use of the tense particle -LE inserted immediately
after the pronominal prefix. It is the Present Imperfect
and can be translated by the verb to be and the Participle.
N. makes the usual changes.
Ndekaka I am tying Nshilekaka I am not tying
Ulekaka Thou art tying Taulekaka Thou art not tying
Alekaka He is tying Talekaka He is not tying
Tulekaka We are tying Tatulekaka We are not tying.
Mulekaka You are tying Tamulekaka You are not tying
Balekaka They are tying Tabalekaka They are not tying
The Neuters take the prefixes : CHILE, FILE, LULE,
NOTE. It will be seen that the negative particle TA placed before
the personal pronoun puts the verb into the negative. In the first
person singular the particle SHI is inserted between the pronoun
N and the LE. Ta and shi are negative particles.
Ndekakechipe chya munandi
Ulekake chipe chyandi
Alesosa mashiwi yengi
Tulepite fipe fya basungu
I am tying my friend's load.
Thou art tying my load.
He is saying many things.
We are carrying the loads of the
We are coming.
We are going.
I do not wish (it).
They are not going quickly.
We are not going today.
Dont you wish (it)?
Questions are frequently prefaced by BUSHYE which one
may consider as equivalent to the mark of interrogation
Bushye baleye lelo?
Bushye muleya nomba?
Are they going today?
Are you going now?
Bushye seems to emphasise the fact that it is a question
that is being asked, but when such words as KWI? NSHI?
or other question words are employed the bushye is dropped.
Where are you going?
What are you doing?
The objective pronouns (personal) are :
N Me Tu Us
Ku Thee Mu You
Mu Him, her BA Them
These cannot be used apart from the verb, and their posi-
tion is immediately before the verb stem.
The N makes the same changes in the Objective case as it
does in the Nominative. (See Lesson 24.)
Bushye nshilebasoshya ?
Abantu bonse bampata
Iyo, bonse bantemwa
E, bantu bamo bamupate
Ni bani baleuma bantu?
Bushye tabamutemwa ?
Baletutamfya ku milimo
I am telling them (speaking to).
They are telling us (speaking to).
Shall I not be speaking to them ?
They are hating us.
All people hate me.
Bring him here.
Dont they dislike you?
No, all like me.
Dont they hate (dislike) him?
chibi Yes, some people dislike him much.
Who is it is beating the people?
Do they not like you?
Please give me a little water.
Does he not dislike you?
They will give you salt.
They are driving us away from the
The neuter objective pronouns will be given separately.
The above will only be used in speaking of or to persons.
OBJECTIVE PRONOUNS (2)
Class. Singular. Plural.
2 U I
3 Lu I SHI
4 CHI FI
5 I, LI, Lu, Ku, Bu YA
6 KA Tu
9 PA, Ku, Mu
I coming before another vowel becomes Y.
U coming before another vowel becomes W.
Bushye uleumono mumana?
Do you see (it) the river?
Yes, I see it.
Are they bringing it?
Ialulu balekaleta mu chipe
Bushye ulechifwaya nani?
Bushye nani uleifimba?
Ni Tata aleifimba
Bushye imbwa baleiposa
Iyo, baleiteka fye
Bushye fombe baleshishite
No, they are not bringing it.
Yes, they are bringing it.
They are bringing a rabbit in a
Who is seeking for it?
People are seeking for it.
Who is thatching it (house)?
It is my father who is thatching it.
Are they selling the dog?
No, they mean to keep it (they are
only keeping it).
Are they buying the cattle today?
Yes, they are buying them.
Sometimes the demonstrative pronoun or the relative pro-
noun is used as an objective. They may say: Bring that, this,
that one there, etc. (For demonstratives see Lesson 42.)
(No tense prefix.)
Simple Present of customary action.
This tense cannot stand alone, it requires a completive,
i. e. some word or words added on to complete the idea.
Mpyanga I sweep
Upyanga Thou sweepest
Apyanga He sweeps
Tupyanga We sweep
Mupyanga You sweep
Bapyanga They sweep
Nshipyanga I sweep not
Taupyanga Thou sweepest not
Tapyanga He sweeps not
Tatupyanga We sweep not
Tamupyanga You sweep not
Tabapyanga They sweep not
Ine nsambe nkombo pe.
I wash the cups always.
Nshisamba mipika ine.
I do not wash the pots.
Kantwa alete fyumbu ku nanda.
Kantwa brings the potatoes to the house.
Taleta fyumbu ku iianda.
He does not bring the potatoes to the house.
Ifwe banakashi tutapa menshi.
We women draw the water.
We do not draw water at night.
Mulyo bwali pe.
You always eat mush.
Ifwe tulye fyumbu uluchyelo.
We eat potatoes in the morning.
Tamulya nama pe iyo.
You don't always eat meat.
Banwa menshi fye.
They only drink water.
Tabanwa bwalwa nomba.
They do not drink beer now.
NOTE. I sweep not means, I never sweep, etc., etc.
It will be seen from the above that the final A of the nega-
tive is constant. It does not change nor coalesce with the
initial vowel of the noun following. In fact the initial
vowel of the noun is dropped.
A man will say : Ine nshiuma mukashi, I do not beat my
wife. Not : Ine nshiumo mukashi.
The modified stem (M. S.) is a change made in the stem of
verbs in certain past tenses and negatives. It is obtained
(1) Verbs whose final consonant is M, N, or 1N, change the
final vowel of stem to ENE or INE. Other verbs change
the final A to ELE or ILE.
Verbs whose penultimate vowel is A, I, or U, take the
INE or ILE-form.
Verbs whose penultimate vowel is E, or O, take the ELE
Verb. Meaning. M. S. form.
Fuma Go out Fumine
Tuna Blunt Tunine
1afia Gnash teeth %afiine
Fuka Stoop Fukile
Leta Bring Letele
Pita Pass Pitile
Uma Beat Umine
Funa Break Funine
Tana Withhold Tanine
Sosa Speak Sosele
Chyena Hurt, wound Chyenene
Tema Fell a tree Temene
(2) Some verbs merely change two vowels :
Tana Pretend to fight Tene
Kana Refuse Kene
Fumbata Shut the fist Fumbete
Ipaya Kill Ipeye
Fwala Dress Fwele
Longana Congregate Longene
(3) Some verbs merely change the final A to E :
Tanika Stretch Tanike
Sanika Light up Sanike
Funika Be broken Funike
Fundika Tie, fasten Fundike
Kupika Cover over Kupike
Manika Fix in, hold in, insert Manike
In numbers 2 and 3 the penultimate vowel is lengthened
(4) Some verbs ending in YA change the YA to ESHYE
or ISHYE :
Fumya Put out Fumishye
Lufya Lose Lufishye
Imya Raise Imishye
(5) Some verbs ending in SHYA
SESHYE or SHISHYE.
Make to grow
(6) When U proceeds the SHYA, USHYA becomes
WISHYE, in verbs of more than two syllables.
It will be seen that in all these changes the vowels follow
the unvariable rule A, I, U take I, while E and 0 take E.
Past tense of today.
An Immediate Past tense only used of today, may be
translated : have just. Such statements as : I am sick, The
sun is set (just set), The rain has stopped, etc., are made
in this tense.
In the negative the modified stem is used. (Lesson 33.)
I have just done
Thou hast just done
He has just done
We have just done
You have just done
They have just done
Nshichitile I did not do
Tauchitile Thou didst not do
Tachitile He did not do
Tatuchitile We did not do
Tamuchitile You did not do
Tabachitile They did not do
change SHYA to
Twalete fipe fisano
Nachite milimo wampa
Bushye taumwene abantu lelo?
Bushye tamuletele fipe?
Iyo, abanesu bafileta
Bushye baimbe filindi?
Bushye baya ku kutebe nkuni?
The sun is set.
The cow is dead.
The rain has stopped.
We have brought five loads.
I did the work you gave me.
Did you not see the people today?
Did you not bring the loads?
No, our friends brought them.
Did they dig the holes?
Yes, they dug (them).
No, they have not dug (them).
Have they gone to get firewood?
They went this morning.
While being used as a Past tense of today, this tense is
also used as a narrative past. The proper Past tense would
be used to begin the narrative and then this tense would
Bantu bayile ku kutebe nkuni basange nkalamo, etc.
People went (some time ago) to get firewood, they found a lion, etc.
A Past tense of today needs a completive word or words.
.-I,:: ... '.
Nkakile I tied
Ukakile Thou tiedest
Akakile He tied
Tukakile We tied
Mukakile You tied
Bakakile They tied
Nshikakile I tied not
Taukakile Thou didst not die
Takakile He did not tic
Tatukakile We did not tic
Tamukakile You did not tie
Tabakakile They did not tie
Bushye akakile chipe uluchyelo?
Did he tie the load this morning?
Akakile fipe fisano akasuba.
He tied five loads during the day.
Bushye nani achitile milimo?
Who did the work?
Ine nchitile milimo yonse.
I did all the work.
Bushye tabachitile milimo yabo?
Have they not done their work?
Iyo, tabachitile nangu pamo.
SNo, they have not done anything.
Bushye tamwipeye nama?
Have you not killed an animal?
Awe Mukwai, tatumwene nelyo kamo,
No sir, we did not see even one.
Bushye tabaletele fipe lelo?
Have they not brought the loads today?
Iyo, tabaletele fipe.
No, they have not brought loads.
Iyo, nshimwene kantu.
No I have seen nothing.
Bushye batemene umuti uluchyelo?
Did they fell the tree this morning?
E, bautemene uluchyelo.
Yes, they felled it this morning.
Tabatapile amenshi uluchyelo?
Did they not draw water this morning?
No, they did not draw water.
Bushye abantu bele uluchyelo?
Did the people go this morning?
lyo, table nelyo umo.
No, not even one went.
Tusangile nama shisano pe lungu.
We found five animals on the plain.
Basangile nkalamo mu nshila.
They found a lion on the path.
Bayipeye nkalamo uluchyelo.
They killed a lion this morning.
NA is prefixed to the ordinary pronominal prefix of the
verb. NI in the first person singular takes the place of NA.
NY takes the place of NA plus U in second person.
Ninkaka I have tied
Nukaka Thou hast tied
Nakaka He has tied
Natukaka We have tied
Namukaka You have tied
Nabakaka They have tied
Nshikakile I did not tie
Taukakile Thou didst not tie
Takakile He did not tie
Tatukakile We did not tie
Tamukakile You did not tie
Tabakakile They did not tie
And so through all the classes.
NOTE. The neg. is the same as that of -A- tense, Lesson 34.
Nintapa menshi I have drawn water.
Bushye nutapa menshi? Have you drawn water?
Umulumendo nakaka chipe The young man has tied the load.
Natupwe milimo yonse We have finished all the work.
Bushye namupwe milimo? Have you finished the work?
Natupwa We have finished.
Nabakake fipe fyabo fyonse They have tied all their loads.
Ine nshikakile chipe chyandi I did not tie my load.
Bushye chilonda nachipola? Is the sore healed?
Iyo Mukwai, tachipolele No, sir, it is not healed.
Natusende fipe fyonse We have carried all .the loads.
Bushye numono mumana? Do you see the river?
E, nimona Mukwai Yes I see (it), sir.
Bushye nupyanga mu fianda? Have you swept (in) in the house ?
Nimpyanga I have swept.
Ndepyanga I shall sweep.
NOTE. -Being self contained i. e. it can stand alone, this tense is
very useful for asking and answering questions. It is commonly
used as Past tense of today.
A- with M. S.
NOT used of today.
The M. S. follows the rules given in Lesson 33..
A affirmative. Negative.
Nakakile I tied Nshyakakile I did not tie
Wakakile Thou tiedest Tawakakile Thou didst not tie
Akakile He tied Takakile He did not tie
Twakakile We tied Tatwakakile We did not tie
Mwakakile You tied Tamwakakile You did not tie
Bakakile They tied Tabakakile They did not tie
In the affirmative this tense needs completive word or words.
Nshyasolese nelyo kamulandu kamo.
I said nothing (not even a little word).
Tachitile, munankwe achitile.
He did not do (it), his fellow did.
Baletele milambo ku mfumu.
They brought tribute to the chief.
Fundi apangile imipando isano.
The tradesman made five chairs.
Namwene inkalamo shine.
I saw four lions.
Umunandi atapile amenshi.
My friend drew water.
Ine nakoseshye umulilo.
I made up the fire.
Naile kwa Kasembe.
I went to Kasembe's.
Tamwasosele ifya chine.
You did not speak the truth.
Twabasangile balekake fipe.
We found them tying their loads.
Batusangile ne milimo ingi.
They found us with much work.
Batumine ne fikote.
They beat us with whips.
Nshyakakile fipe fya banandi.
I did not tie my friend's loads.
Tabakakile fipe fyandi yo.
They did not tie my loads.
Twabasangile pa mumana.
We found them at the river.
Twasangile nsofu pelungu.
We found an elephant on the plain.
Inkalamo shyaipeye abantu babili.
The lions killed two people.
Muntu umo aipeye inkalamo shitatu.
One person killed three lions.
Ifnanda ikalamba yawile ku mwela.
A large house fell with the wind, i. e. the wind blew it down,
lianda yandi yapwile ulya mulungu.
My house was finished the other week.
The verbs LI and BA, each meaning be, are deserving of
LI means to be, to exist.
The stem LI never changes; this, and the fact that it ends
in I and not A as do all the other verbs (save TI), makes it
Ndi I am Nshili
Uli Thou art Tauli
Ali He is Tali
Tuli We are Tatuli
Muli You are Tamuli
Bali They are Tabali
and so through all the classes.
I am not
Thou art not
He is not
We are not
You are not
They are not
Past (not of today).
I was not
Thou wert not
He was not
We were not
You were not
SThey were not
Followed by NA (with) it means to have (lit. to be with).
Ndi ne milimo ikalamba
Bansangile nali ne milimo ika-
Ali ne fyuma fingi
Imwe tamuli ne fipe?
Tuli ne fipe fingi
Twali no kulwala bonse
Tuli ne nsala
Tabali ne nsala
Ali no bukali
Bali na makasu yane
Tatuli na bantu besu muno
Tamuli ne milimo?
Tatuli ne milimo yo
I have much work (a great work).
They found me very busy.
He has much wealth (is wealthy).
Have you no loads?
We have many loads.
We were all ill.
We are hungry.
They are not hungry.
He is very angry.
They have four hoes.
We have no friends here.
Have you no work?
We have no work.
UKUBA, to be, to become.
Ukuba is not generally heard in the Present tense save in
the Subjunctive Mood, the sign of which is the softening of
the final A of the verb stem to E. This change in the Sub-
junctive applies to practically every verb in the language
except LI, to be, and UKUTI, to say.
Let me be
That thou mayst be
That he may be
That we may be
That you may be
That they may be
May I not be
Thou mayst not be
That he may not be
That we may not be
That you may not be
That they may not be
The A of BA in the negative form is constant. It never
coalesces with any other vowel or alters in any way.
I am always
Thou art always
He is always
We are always
You are always
They are always
I am not always
Thou -art not always
He is not always
We are not always
You are not always
They are not always
This form is used of customary condition, etc.
Babe abantu bobe
Abe umushya obe
Ukuti tube abantu bobe
Ukuti abe umuntu musuma
Ukuti twiba bashya
Ukuti niba kapondo
Aba kwa Kasembe ku mushi
Twaba pa milimo ya kulima
Nshyaba ne milimo
Tatwaba na maka ya kuchita
Tamwaba no lusa Iwa kwingila
That they may be your people.
That he may be your slave.
That we may be your people.
That he may become a good person.
That we be not slaves.
That I become not an outlaw.
He resides at Kasembe's village.
We are (all the time) cultivating.
I am without work.
We have not strength to do (it).
You have not the right to enter the
Note the use of Ukuti, in order that.
Negative form : Tekuti or Teti.
In addition to the verbs LI and BA there are three other
ways of expressing : he is, she is, it is, they are, etc. :
1. The syllable NI; 2. Accent; 3. the letter E.
The copula NI may be either singular or plural, past or
present, personal or impersonal.
NI has no negative form and it is used with some nouns in
class 1 and most nouns of class 3.
In class 1 sub-classes, A, B, and C singular and plural (q.v.).
Ni tata He is my father.
Ni mayo She is my mother.
Ni kapoli It is a pig.
Ni kafundishya He is a teacher.
Ni nabwinga She is a bride.
Ni batata They are my fathers.
Ni bamayo They are my mothers.
Ni bakapoli They are pigs.
Ni bakafundishya They are teachers.
Ni banabwinga They are brides.
With proper names :
Ni Musonda It is Musonda.
Ni Kantwa It is So and so.
CLASS 3. The copula NI may be used with the whole of
this class singular and plural save only such nouns as have
the ULU prefix in the singular. It is used however with the
plural forms of such nouns.
Ni fiombe It is a cow. Ni flanda It is a house.
Ni nsengu They are bamboos. Ni nsengo They are horns.
NI is also used with the following parts of speech :
Prepositions : Ni mu fianda, It is within the house.
Pronouns : Ni ne, It is I. Ni fwe, It is we, etc.
Demonstratives : Ni chi, Ni uyu, It is this.
Adverbs : Ni kuno, It is here. Ni nomba, It is now.
ACCENT. -Accent takes the place of the copula NI with
all nouns, singular and plural, other than those mentioned
above. It is not marked in written or printed matter, the
connection will generally make it clear.
Uyu muntu mdkali
Musonda is a person indeed (a good one).
That is a load.
That is a hill.
This man is a fierce man.
The accent falls on the vowel of the prefix, the preprefix
The copula E may be used with every class of noun. It
has a demonstrative force.
E muntu That is the man. E chintu That is the thing.
The copula may be used with the Infinitive form of the
E kusosa That is speaking.
The copula may be used with every other part of speech
except the conjunction and the interjection.
E mu flanda That is (being) in the
E uku kwine
That is he.
That is it.
That is his, hers.
That is the big one.
Just there that is the
The negative form of this copula is TE, a contraction of
the neg. particle TA and E. This may be used with every
part of speech except the conjunction and the interjection.
Dem. Pron. :
Poss. Pron. :
Tata ni mfumu
Tata e mfumu
Yobe e lianda
E kubomba kwine kwine
Bese bwangu, e bwana
E uyo aibe fintu fyandi
E bantu baishile mailo
E bo tulefwaya
E chyo ndefwaya
The chyakwe yo, chyandi
Te munono, mukalamba nde-
Uyu te munono
Iyi te flanda
My father is a chief.
My father, he is the chief.
Yours, that is the house.
That is working indeed.
That is cultivating.
Let them come quickly, that is
bwana (his message).
That is the one who stole my things.
These are the people who came
These are they whom we seek.
That is what I wish.
It is not his, it is mine.
It is not the little one (it is) the big
one I wish.
That is not the little one.
That is not a house.
As in English, the demonstrative may be a demonstrative
adjective or a demonstrative pronoun. There are four
such demonstratives which may be translated : This, That,
These, Those, according as the person or thing spoken of
is near of farther off, or near to the speaker or to the person
Class. Numb. Concord. Near.
1 S. u or MU UYU
P. BA ABA
2 S. U UYU
P. I IYI
3 S. i IYI
P. SHI ISHI
4 S. CHI ICHI
P. FI IFI
5 S. LI ILI
P. YA AYA
Class. Numb. Concord. Near. Farther Near Near person
6 S. KA AKA KALYA KANO AKO
P. TU UTU TULYA TUNO UTO
7 S. BU UBU BULYA BUNO UBO
8 S. KU UKU KULYA KUNO UKO
9 S. KU UKU KULYA KUNO UKO
PA APA PALYA PANO APO
MU UMU MULYA MUNO UMO
To express great or greater distance the voice is raised,
and the index finger of the right hand points upward. This
may be done till the finger is pointing practically overhead.
A common, though more slovenly way, is to pout the lips
and tilt the head till the nose points in the direction the
finger ought to have shown. This is called Kusonta ku
kanwa, Pointing with the mouth.
In narration UYO is used when the listener is not
acquainted with the subject. If the listener knows the sub-
ject under discussion the ULYA is employed.
Uyo mumana twabwike That river we crossed.
Ulya mumana twabwike That river we crossed (which you
THE USE OF THE DEMONSTRATIVES.
Uyu mumana unono, ulya ukalamba.
This river is small, that one is big.
Ifintu ifi fyonse fyandi, fyobe ni filya.
All these things are mine, yours are those there
(at a distance).
Abo bantu besu.
Those (near you) are our people.
Bring that (thing near to you).
Carry this (thing near me).
Bebe abantu bapite fi.
Tell the people to take these (near).
Bushye ni bani baposele bwe?
Who threw the stone?
Ni ulya aposele bwe.
It was he (a bit off) who threw the stone.
Nani abole mbwa?
Who hit the dog?
Ni uyu mwanakashi.
It was this (near) woman.
Abantu bandi bali kwi?
Where are my people?
These (near speaker) are they.
Insengu ishi shyaoloke chibi.
These bamboos are very straight.
Shilya nsengu tashyaolokele iyo.
Those bamboos are not at all straight.
Inshila yesu yili kwi?
Where is our road?
Ni iyi Mukwai.
This is it (near one), Sir (or Madam).
Ndefwaye sembe, lete lyo (leta ilyo).
I wish an axe, bring that one.
Ulukasu luno lukalamba.
This is a big hoe.
Inama ishi ishikali.
These animals are fierce.
Inama ishi tashyakalipe.
These animals are not fierce (angry).
Abansungu bonse balafwale ngowani.
All Europeans wear hats (habitually).
Ifwe bantu twatemwo bwali bwa musango uyu.
We people like this kind of mush.
Aba banakashi batapile amenshi.
These women drew the water.
Ifwe bano, fwe baume, twakandile amaloba.
We (here), we men, we trod the mud.
Konka balya bantu abaya nomba.
Follow those people who went off just now.
Lete fi mu fianda, ndefwaya fyonse.
Bring these into the house, I wish (them) all.
The prepositions PA, KU, MU present some little difficulty
as they have several forms'in which they appear and these
forms are not interchangeable.
The forms are :
PA PALI PA
Ku KULI KWA
Mu MULI MWA
The following rules will serve as a guide as to general use,
but one must keep a look out for unexpected uses of the
The prepositions may govern Time, Place or Circum-
stance. The meanings are given in Lesson 14.
PA KU MU
would be used before most common nouns and names of
places and titles.
Mu fanda In the house.
Pa mumana At the river.
Ku mfumu To the chief.
PALI KULI MULI
would be used before proper names, demonstratives,
pronouns, some adverbs, most (not all) terms of relationship,
as father, mother, etc., before such nouns as have no singu-
lar prefix but take ABA as plural prefix (Class 1 sub-classes)
also before the names of certain places (these must be learned
as they are met).
Kuli kwana To bwana.
Pali uyu To this one.
Muli Tanganyika In Tanganyika.
PA KWA MWA
are used before proper nouns meaning : at the house of,
to the place of, in the house of, etc. Often used as a polite
way of saying to the person.
PALI KULI MULI
are also used before the days of the week, one to five;
before cardinal numbers, one to five;
before ordinal numbers six to nine;
before indefinite numeral adjectives, some, all.
Kuli bonse To all.
Muli chimo On Monday.
Muli chibili On Tuesday.
Muli chine On Thursday.
Muli chisano On Friday.
See next lesson for further examples of the preposition.
It is said :
Senda ku mfumu Take it to the chief.
Senda kuli Kasembe Take it to Kasembe.
Senda kwa Kasembe Take it to Kasembe's.
Senda kwi sano kwa Kasembe Take it to Kasembe's quarters.
Senda ku fianda ya kwa bwa- Take it to bwana's house.
Senda mu fianda mwa bwana
Senda kuli bwana
Senda muli iyi fianda
Amuposa mu mulilo
Amuposa ku nkalamo
Achiposa kuli kolwe
Lungo muchyele muli tute
Lungo muchyele muli chi-
Lungo muchyele mu fyumbu
Bika muli fwaka
Mu mulamba wa nama
Muli mulamba wa meshi
Take it into bwana's house.
Take it to bwana.
Take it into this house.
To your father.
To brother (or sister) in law.
To the Bubenshi river.
To the Luapula river.
To the Chipili river.
To Chipili (the place of that
To the owner, lord, master.
To that one.
He threw him in the fire.
He threw him to the lion.
He threw it to the monkey.
Until this present time.
Season the manioc with salt.
Season the pumpkin leaves
Season the potatoes with salt.
Put into the tobacco.
In the track of the animals.
In the water floods.
MU and PA follow the same rules as KU, each gives its
particular meaning to the sentence.
The simplest form of the Subjunctive Mood is obtained by
changing the final A of the verb stem to E. (See also Les-
Ndekaka I am tying. Nkake Let me tie.
The meaning thus obtained may be expressed in English :
If I tie, That I may tie.
In order that I may tie, Let me tie.
Other forms of the Subjunctive will be learned later.
Soso mulandu fumfwe
Leta menshi nsambe
Soseshya bonse bomfwe
Leto bwali bonse tulye
Speak (of) the matter that I may hear.
Bring water that I may wash.
Speak up that all may hear.
Bring mush that we may all eat.
UKUTI, In order that, is frequently combined with
Leta menshi ukuti nsambe
Ukuti bonse bapoke kamo
In order that I may hear.
Bring water in order that I may wash.
That all may receive one (one, one)
that each may receive one.
TEKUTI or its shorter form TETI is generally used with
Tekuti basose; teti basose
Tekuti (teti) bese pano nomba
They must not speak.
That they come not here now.
BA with Subjunctive as a mild Imperative, see Lesson 21.
KA with verb in Subjunctive makes an Imperative of motion.
Go and bring.
Go and cut.
Go and take.
Go and see.
Kalete fipe fili ku nanda yandi
Kaleteni fipe fyonse fili pa
Kaleteni Go ye and bring.
Kateteni Go ye and cut.
Kapokeni Go ye and take.
Kamoneni Go ye and see.
Go bring the loads that are at my
Go ye bring all the loads which are
on the verandah.
A useful list of Interrogatives with their meanings.
ANI? Who? Whom? Plural Bani?
Ni wani? Who are you?
Nani uyu uleisa? Who is this coming?
Bushye ni bani balelete mbokoshi?
Who are bringing the boxes?
Bushye nsalu shilya shya kwani?
To whom do those clothes belong?
PI? Where? At what place?
Ni pi? Where (is it) ?
Chili pi? Where is it?
Alipi? Where is he?
KWI? Where? At what place?
Bantu besu bali kwi?
Akesa bushiku nshi?
Kasiba nshi aishile? What time
SHYANI? What? How?
Ni shyani balechita?
Mulefwaya nshi? What do you
Ichyo basendele chinshi?
Where (is it)?
Where is it?
Where are they?
Where did they go?
Where are our people?
What day? (when).
What day will he come?
did he come? = The sun what
What did he say?
What do you say?
What do you think?
What about it?
What is it they are doing?
want? = Chinshi mulefwaya?
What did they carry?
What did they carry?
What did they sell?
CHINSHI with Applied form = Why?
Chinshi baishila? Why have they come?
Chinshi basosele fyo? Why do they speak so?
Chinshi bamufwayila? Why do they seek him?
MULANDU NSHI? Why? For what reason?
account of what? Wherefore?
Mulandu nshi watutwima?
Mulandu nshi mwaishila?
Mulandu nshi mwaishile?
Mulandu nshi mwaishila bengi?
Why do you tremble?
What have you come for?
Why have you come?
Why did you come ? (not today).
Why have you come so many?
LILALI? When? What time?
Waishile lilali? When did you come?
Baishile lilali? When did they come?
Baleya lilali? When will they be going?
Bakaya lilali? When will they go? (not of Today).
Kantwa akesa lilali? When will So and So come?
-NGA? How many?
This is used as an adjective and requires the prefix proper
to the class of noun.
Baishile banga? How many came?
Abantu bali banga? How many people?
Ifipe finga? How many loads?
APPLIED FORM OF THE VERB
Also called the Relative form. While being entirely diffe-
rent in meaning, and somewhat different in form, the Rela-
tive form of the verb follows the general rules laid down
for the changes in the M. S. (Lesson 33.)
The Applied forms are :
ELA ILA ENA INA
The same rules apply as with the M. S. M, N, n1 use ena,
Other take the cla, ila forms.
Verbs ending in :
Ola change Ola to Wela
Ona change Ona to Wena
Ula change Ula to Wila
Una change Una to Wina.
The meaning thus given to the verb may be expressed in
English by the prepositions to, from, for, at, against, or by
such phrases as : on behalf of, on account of, etc.
Verb. Meaning. Rel. form.
Somona unsheath somwena
speak on behalf of.
bring to, bring for.
send on behalf of.
call on behalf of.
steal for, steal from.
carry for, carry to.
tread mud for (hut, etc.).
write instead of, for.
advertise for another.
lift for another.
wipe for, on behalf of.
go out through.
dust for another.
The Dative is obtained by the use of the Applied form.
he gave her a chair.
he gave it to me (chi from chipuna).
A Dative of direction is also so obtained, contrast the
A fumina ku munana
Afuma ku mumana
Fumya mu kasuba
Fumishya (1) mu kasuba
Abutukila ku musungu
he went out to the river.
he went away from the river.
take (it) out of the sun.
take (it) out into the sun.
he will return.
he will return here.
he ran away from the white man.
he ran to the white man.
The context will determine the sense of the Relative form
and its meaning.
(1) -ISHYA is the Applied form.
APPLIED FORM (2)
Alelwilo mukashi na bana.
He is fighting for his wife and children.
They are carrying for the chief.
Umwaume uwaletele mfumu mbokoshi.
The man who brought the box for the chief,
Umukashi alesoselo mulume wakwe.
The wife is speaking for her husband.
Alimina Kalulu ibala likalamba.
He cultivated for Kalulu a large garden.
Alechitila bwana imilimo yakwe.
He is doing bwana's work for him.
Ichipe chya kupitilamo fyumbu.
A basket for carrying potatoes (in).
Alelwila mabala ya mfumu.
He is fighting for the chief's gardens.
Batukakile fipe fyesu.
They tied our loads for us.
Umuti waponena panshi.
The tree fell to the ground.
Umunensu aponena pe bwe.
Our fellow fell down upon a stone.
Leto mwando wakukakile chipe.
Bring a rope for tying the load, to tie the load with.
A knife for cutting with.
Ntumino muntu ukundetele chipe.
Send a man for me, to bring the load to me.
Bana tulefwayile chintu balufishye.
We are seeking on behalf of the children a thing they lost.
Aya ku kunsosela kuli bwana.
He has gone to speak for me to bwana.
Aya nsosela kuli bwana.
He has gone to speak for me to bwana.
We tied their loads for them.
Ankakile chipe chyandi.
He tied my load for me.
NoTE.-When M. S. and Applied form are combined the penulti-
mate vowel is lengthened.
Afumine mu hianda he went out of the house.
Afumine panse he went out to outside.
Afumine mu kasuba he went out of the sun.
Afumine mu kasuba he went out into the sun.
Mr So and So
Umo ati imilimo yabipa.
One says work is bad, an evil.
Umbi ati, iyo yawama.
Another says, No it is good.
Bamo bati, Tubombe.
Some say, Let us work.
Bambi bati, iyo twibomba, twikale fye.
Others say, No, don't let us work, let us
remain idle (remain only).
Bonse bati, Ifwe twaishiba.
All say, We know (understand).
Takuli umuntu nangu umo waishiba bwino.
There is none who understands really.
Takuli umuntu nelyo umo.
There is none (not even one).
Uyu onse atemwa ese.
Anyone who cares can come (let him come).
Ukukonse uleya pano esonde.
Anywhere you go here on earth.
Konse konse uleya pano esonde.
Everywhere you go here on earth.
Ntweno or Kantwa or Ntwanikane or
This would be used instead of the name
of a person for the moment forgotten.
Ni Ntweno, it was So and So (what do
you call him?).
Ulya ntwani, That one, what's his name?
This would be used instead of proper name
of thing for the moment forgotten.
NOTE, It will be seen that the indefinite adjectives One to
Anyone have been given in the personal form. They can of course be
used with any class of noun by using the classifier, Concord, proper
to that class of noun. Chimo, chimbi, fimo, kano, etc.
Fimo fyabipa fimo fya wama Some are good, others are bad.
(Things of the 4th class.)
Comparison is effected in several ways, some of the more
common are here shown :
Similarity by the use of:
UKUBA NGA, to be as.
UKULINGA, to measure.
UKULINGANA, to measure,
alike, be equal.
UKUPALA, to resemble.
UKUPALANA, to resemble each
-Mo, one, same.
Imilimo yesu imo.
Our work is one (the same).
Imwe babili mwapalana.
You two are alike (you resemble each other).
Ichi chyapalana ne chinankwe.
This one resembles its fellow.
Lete chimuti ichilinge chi.
Bring a stick like this (one).
Lete chimuti ichilingene ne chi.
Bring a stick like this (one).
74 CHIBEMBA ENGLISH
Insalu yobe ili pamo nge nsalu yandi.
Your cloth is the same as mine (my cloth).
Leto mupika waba nga uno.
Bring a pot like this one (which is as).
Ifintu fyonse fyalingana.
The things are all alike (as to size, appearance).
In/eriority, by the use of contrasting words :
Lepa, long. Kulu, great. Chyepa, small.
Bipa, bad. Wama, good. Nono, little, etc.
Chino, chinono, ichinankwe chikulu.
This one is small, its fellow is big.
Ichimuti ichi chyachyepa, chilya chikulu.
This stick is small, that one is big.
Insalu yobe yawama, yandi yabipa.
Your cloth is good, mine is bad.
By inscribing the inferior quality to one thing.
Umumana uno unono This is a small river.
Umuntu ulya waipipa That man is short.
NOTE. Narrow concord with adjectives, broad one with verbs
even when used in an adjectival sense.
Denying the superior quality to one thing.
Chino tachyalepa, ichinankwe chyalepa.
This thing is not long, its fellow is long.
(Its fellow is longer than it.)
Uyu takosa, umunankwe akose chibi.
This one is not strong, his fellow is very strong.
Use of UKUCHILA, to excell, exceed.
Chino chyachilo kulepa.
This one is long (excells in length).
Uyu wachilo kukosa.
This one excells in strength (is strong).
Kalya kachila fyonse.
That little one excells them all.
Ascribing the superior quality or degree to one.
Umulando uno walepa.
This log is the longer (is long).
Chino chyalepa kuli fyonse.
This one is longest of all.
Possession of a quality to a high degree is expressed by :
UKUCHILA, exceed, excell. ICHIBI, adv. very much, much.
Wakose chibi He is very strong.
Chyalepe chibi It is very long.
Amaka yakwe yachile chibi His strength excells very much
(greatly exceeds the normal).
Use of an intensive verb stem :
The calico is very white.
The calico is very black.
Use of an abstract noun :
"Abantu bwingi What a number of people The people are very
Amalubo busuma What lovely flowers I The flowers are very fine.
There are of course many other ways of describing the
differences of quality and quantity but these will enable the
Student to express comparison of most of the ordinary
things met with.
The Passive Voice is not used so commonly in Chibemba
as in English. It is obtained by the insertion of W before
the final A of verb stem, or any inflection of same.
Some include another form K or IK but this is more
strictly a Middle Voice of the verb. Some verbs have all
three forms, Active, Passive, and Middle Voices.
The native would much rather say :
Baifuma they beat me, than Naumwa I was beaten.
Verb. Meaning. Passive. Meaning.
Suma bite sumwa be bitten
Leta bring letwa be brought
Toba break tobwa be broken
Tola pick up tolwa be picked up
Lemba write -lembwa be written
Naumwa kuli tata.
I was beaten by my father.
Nasumwa ku mbwa yobe.
I was bitten by your dog.
Ifipe fyaletwa kuli abo.
The loads were brought by them.
Umutondo watobwa ku mwaiche.
The water pot was broken by the youngster.
Inkalata yalembwa kuli bwana.
The letter was written by bwana.
As showing the difference between the Passive and the
Verb. Meaning. Passive form. Intransitive form.
Chita do chitwa chitika
Kaka tie kakwa kakika
Toba break tobwa tobeka
Sosa speak soswa soseka
Putula cut, break putulwa putuka
The rope is broken.
Umwando waputulwa ku mwele.
The rope was cut with a knife.
Umulumendo aputulo mwando.
The young man cut the rope (or broke).
This is a near Future of today.
Ndeisa I shall come Nshyaise I shall not come
Uleisa Thou wilt come Tawaise Thou wilt not come
Aleisa He will come Taise He will not come
Tuleisa We shall come Tatwaise We shall not come
Muleisa You will come Tamwaise You will not come
Baleisa They will come Tabaise They will not come
In some forms this has the idea of MUST.
Nga chyapona, bushye chiletobeka?
If it falls will it break?
Nga nalye fyumbu ndelwala.
If I eat potatoes I shall be ill.
Nga nalye fyumbu nshyalwale?
If I eat potatoes shall I not be ill?
No, you will not be ill.
Nga aiso munobe mulechita.
When your fellow comes you will do (it).
Mfumu nga yaisa tulechinda.
When the chief comes we shall dance.
Nga alete buku ndelemba mashina.
When he brings the book I shall write the names.
Nga ampele mpiya ndebomba.
When he gives me money I shall work.
Abantu nga babwela balebomba bonse.
When the people come back they will all work.
Abantu balebombe chyungulu.
The people will work in the evening.
Will he not come (today)?
No, he will not come (today).
Ngabaya bonse, tabanake bamo?
If they all go will not some of them be tired?
E, balenake chibi.
Yes, they will be very tired.
No, they will not be tired.
You must go.
They wont go, they refuse.
They must go. (Idea being: they wont be allowed to refuse.)
He wont come.
Shall I not go? (Who will hinder me?)
lyo, uleya nga nani alekuleshya.
You shall go, who will hinder you (forbid you)?
An Immediate Future tense of today, more imminent than
the -LE- of previous lesson. It may be expressed in English
as ( just about to ) of an action not yet begun but which will
be begun shortly.
Nalakaka I am about to tie
Walakaka Thou art about to tie
Alakaka He is about to tie
Twalakaka We are about to tie
Mwalakaka You are about to tie
Balakaka They are about to tie
Nshyakake I tie not
Tawakake Thou tiest not
Takake He ties not
Tatwakake We tie not
Tamwakake You tie not
Tabakake They tie not
Note the change in the negative form. To say Tabalakaka
would mean that up till the moment of speaking they had
not tied. (Lesson 66.)
Bushye tabatendeke milimo?
Imilimo yobe shyani?
I am coming, sir.
Have they not begun the work?
They are just about to begin now.
What about your work?
I shall set about it shortly, sir (begin).
Balalete fipe fyesu fyonse They are about to bring our loads.
Chyenjeleni, inama yalaisa Look out the animal is coming.
Yileke, yalafwa Leave it alone, it is about to die (of
Abanakashi balaisa no bunga Women are about to come with meal.
Mfula yalaisa The rain is just coming.
Ubushiku bwalachya nomba It is just about to dawn. (The night
is about to pass.)
Akasuba kalawa The sun is just about to set.
Twende, twalafika Come along, we are just there (we are
just about to arrive).
A Future Indefinite tense is made by inserting the particle
KA immediately after the pronominal prefix.
This tense is never used of today.
No indication of time is given in this tense save that the
action spoken of will take place some time in the future, but
Note the softening of the final vowel in the negative.
Nkakaka I shall tie Nshyakakake I shall not tie
Ukakaka Thou wilt tie Tawakakake Thou wilt not tie
Akakaka He will tie Takakake He will not tie
Tukakaka We shall tie Tatwakakake We shall not tie
Mukakaka You will tie Tamwakakake You will not tie
Bakakaka They will tie Tabakakake They will not tie
Nkatwalo mukashi ku mwabo.
I shall take my wife to her home.
Nkafwaya bantu bambi bamilimo.
I shall seek other workmen.
Ak6mfwo mulandu obe mailo.
He will hear your case to-morrow.
Bakasende fipe masoshi.
They will take the loads the day after to-morrow.
Nshyakaleke nangu umo ukuya.
I shall not permit even one to go.
Tabakasange milimo kuno.
They will not find work here.
Tawakasange nama pano mainsa.
You will find no animals here in the rains.
They will not like (that).
Imilimo batemwe tabakaleke kangu iyo.
Work they like they will not leave off quickly.
Ichyo afwaya takachisange iyo.
What he is seeking for he will not find (never find).
Bushye tamwakese kuno?
Will you not come here (never come)?
The Imperative for this form :
Ukese uluchyelo Come in the morning.
Mukese uluchyelo Come (ye) in the morning.
The native is very punctilious in the matter of salutations.
He has salutations suitable for almost all the circumstances
of life, and a few for its chances.
The following are some of the more common. R = res-
MWASHIBUKENI. Good morning (lit. you, plural, have awa-
R. Endi mukwai, or Endita mukwai.
MWAPOLENI? How are you? Are you well? = How do
R. As above.
KWATALALA? It is well? Is all quiet?
R. Kuntu kwatalala, or Tondolo.
KULI cI? What's the matter? or Ku be chi?
R. Kuntu kwatalala (all is quiet).
MWAISENI. Welcome (lit. you have come).
R. Endi, etc.
CHILUBUSHI. Welcome back, on return from a journey or
R. Endi, etc.
KAFIKENIPO. Arrive (safely), said to departing friend
KABIYENIPO. Go off (safely), said to departing friend
= Good bye.
R. for both. Shyalenipo = Good bye.
BAMBENI. Greeting to returning hunter.
CHIBAMFI. Greeting to returning hunter.
MABINGO. Greeting to returning hunter.
R. to above, if he has been successful : Endi mukwai, or
Yanyama or Akanama.
R. if unsuccessful : Ala tata, or Nakamo or Shyalumba
MILIMO. You are at work.
R. Endi, etc.
MWASALIPENI. Greeting to mother at birth, warrior return-
R. Endi, etc.
MWALIMENI. Greeting to field worker.
R. Endi, etc.
Of course Mukwai, Sir, Madam, Tata, my Father, Shikulu,
Grandfather, Mama, Grandmother, etc., may be tacked on
for politeness to any or all of these forms. It is well, too,
to use them in reply.
NEU I who
WEU Thou who
U He who
FWE BA We who
MWE BA You who
ABA They who
Ne usosele kuli iwe.
I who speak to thee.
We wachitile chi, mulandu obe.
You who did this, it is your fault.
Fwe basumina tuleya ku kubomba.
We who agree we shall go to work.
Abasendele fipe bese ku kupoka malipilo.
They who carried loads let them come to take their pay.
We who agree
You who carry
They who do
We who agreed
You who carried
They who did
Bushye abachite milimo iyi bani?
Who do this work?
Abalebomba bwino bantu bandi.
Those who work well they are my people.
Ulefluma ne uchite milimo yobe.
You are beating me, I who do your work.
Mone fyo aletamfya abasendele fipe fyakwe.
See how he is driving away those who carried his loads.
Ni we wine unjebele.
It was you yourself who told me.
The particle NTU with the proper prefix according to the
class of the noun for which it stands, is commonly used as
a relative pronoun.
Leto lukasu luntu wikete mu minwe.
Bring the hoe which you have in your hand.
Ubutanda buntu wapashile mailo.
The mat which you sewed yesterday.
Ifyani fintu wasebele.
The grass which you cut.
Ifanda intu twakulile ulya mwaka.
The house which we built that year.
Inkoko intu tushitile uluchyelo.
The fowl which we bought this morning.
Tumone imilimo intu uchitile uluchyelo.
Let us see the work which you did this morning.
Baleta kalulu kantu bepeye akasuba.
They brought the rabbit which they killed today (in the day
And so through all the classes singular and plural except
the plural form of the first class prefix BA.
Two useful forms may be employed to express IF in addi-
tion to the usual Subjunctive form. (Lesson 46.)
If the condition can be or ought to be realized the usual
form is NGA :
Ngo leya nomba, bushye ulefika?
If you go now, will you arrive?
Ngo lesendamishyo tulo milimo teti ipwe.
If you sleep too much the work will never be done.
Nga balebomba bwino alebalambula.
If they work well he will pay them.
Nga leisa ndemupe ndalama.
If he comes I shall give him the money.
If the condition cannot, or is unlikely to be realized, the
form is A used as a preprefix to the prefix proper to the noun
and BA-be, following the prefix :
Aluba lukasu lobe nga nashita.
Were it your hoe, I would buy it.
Atuba ne fyuma, kuti twakupela.
Had we the goods we should give to you.
Atwishiba nga twachitile.
Had we known we should have done (it).
The form is A.... BA.... NGA (or Kuti).
The A is omitted in 1st person singular.
Njishiba nga nachichita.
Had I known I should have done it.
The demonstratives ending in LYA, ULYA, CHILYA,
etc., are also used as relatives.
The emphatic relative pronouns are
Class. Noun. Rel. Pron.
1 UMUNTU UYO or Uo
2 UMUTI UYO
3 ULUSENGU ULO
4 ICHINTU ICHYO
Class. Noun. Rel. Pron.
5 ISEMBE ILYO
6 AKALULU AKO
7 UBUSUMA UBO
8 UKUSOSA UKO
9 PANTU APO
In ordinary conversation when there is no desire for
emphasis, the initial vowel (the preprefix) is employed as
Usumina He who agrees.
Ulukasu ulwafunika The hoe which is broken.
Abashyele panuma They who remained behind.
Umuntu ulesosa The person who is speaking.
Inama ishyaipaiwe The animals which were killed.
Abo abashyele panuma They who remained behind.
Ulukasu ulo ulwafunika The hoe that one which is broken.
Neg. with SHI, SHYA
Ushisumina He who does not agree.
Ushyasumina He who did not agree.
Ushitemwa He who does not love, like.
Ushyatemwa He who did not love, like.
Uwasumina He who agreed or Uasumina.
In some districts TA is heard instead of the SHI and
The use of the UYO, ABO forms conveys almost the idea
of a demonstrative of relation and is commonly used in
such sentences as :
Those whom you mentioned Abo walumbula.
Abo watumine mailo, e bakesa muli chitatu.
Those whom you sent yesterday, these are they who will come on
INTERROGATIVES, AFFIRMATIVES, NEGATIVES
The difficulty of asking and answering questions is one
that perplexes a learner somewhat. The following list,
tabulated according to the classes, will be of some assistance
in mastering this subject.
Questions are frequently prefaced by BUSHYE, ATINI,
BATINI, or followed by ATI, ATINI, BATINI?
E expresses : That is, this is, these are.
TE is the negative of E, That is not, or is that not?
This is he, she,
S. E oyu
P. E baba
S. E oyu
P. E yeyi
S. E lolu
P. E shyeshi
S. E chyechi
P. E fyefi
S. E leli
P. E yaya
S. E kaka
P. E totu
S. E koku
S. E papa
Is not this he,
It is not, This is not
He, she, it, These, they.
Te o or Te uyu iyo
Te bo or Te aba iyo
Te o or Te uyu iyo
Te yo or Te iyi lyo
Te lo or Te ulu iyo
Te yo or Te iyi iyo
Te shyo or Te shyeshi iyo
Te chyo or Te chyechi iyo
Te fyo or Te ifi iyo
Te lyo or Te ili iyo
Tc lo or Te ulu iyo
Te ko or Te uku iyo
Te bo or Te ubu iyo
Te yo or Te aya iyo
Te ko or Te aka iyo
Te to or Te utu iyo
Te bo or Te ubu iyo
Te ko or Te uku iyo
Te po or Te apa iyo
Te ko or Te uku iyo
Te mo or Te umu iyo
Te oyu anjebele?
Bushye te baba baletele fipe ?
E baba waebele ati, bakesa?
Ichintu nshi wa shitile mailo?
Was it not he who told me?
Was it not these who brought the
Are these the people you said
These are they.
No, not these.
Not these, no.
What thing did you buy yester-
It was this (thing).
Was it not this?
Present Perfect tense.
Nalichita I have done
Walichita Thou hast done
Alichita He has done
Twalichita We have done
Mwalichita You have done
Balichita They have done
Nshyachita I have not done
Tawachita Thou hast not done
Tachita He has not done
Tatwachita We have not done
Tamwachita You have not done
Tabachita They have not done
Note how the LI drops in negative.
Bushye fiombe yalifwa?
Was the cow dead?
Bushye iwe walichita?
Was it you who did (it). Did you do (it)?
Yes I did (it).
Bushye alyumfwe fyo twasosele?
Did he hear what we said?
Yes, he heard.
No, he did not hear.
Bushye fipe fyonse balikaka?
Did they tie all the loads?
No, they did not tie them.
Bushye mwalishite mbushi?
Did you buy the goat?
Balionaule fintu fyonse my kuteshya teshya.
They destroyed everything through moving them about
This tense is frequently used with verbs of condition, qua-
Aliwama He is good (a good sort).
Umunensu alikalipa Our fellow is angry (that is his nature).
Abantu batatu balilwala Three people are sick.
Ulupili lwalilepa The hill is a high one.
Umumana walikula The river is a big (broad) one.
Ubunga bwa male bwalibipa Male meal is bad for us (as far as we
kuli ifwe. are concerned).
-ALI- with M. S.
A Past Indefinite not used of today.
as tense given in Lesson 37 but differs
can stand alone.
Nalipatile I hated
Walipatile You hated
Alipatile He hated
Twalipatile We hated
Mwalipatile You hated
Balipatile They hated
It has same value
from it in that it
Nshyapatile I did not hate
Tawapatile You did not hate
Tapatile He did not hate
Tatwapatile We did not hate
Tamwapatile You did not hate
Tabapatile They did not hate
Another form with exactly the same value is :
Nalipata I hated Nshyapatile I did not hate
Walipata You hated Tawapatile You did not hate
Alipata He hated Tapatile He did not hate, etc.
Abanankwe balimupatile His fellows hated (disliked) him.
Ichipe nalikaka I tied the load.
Twalimusangile ali bwino bwino We found him very well.
Twalimusanga ali bwino bwino We found him very well.
Interrogatives like KWI, NSHI, PI, etc., are not used
with this form. They are more generally employed with
the -A- and M. S. of Lesson 37.
Above tenses are not used of Today.
A Past Imperfect signifying that the action was still
unfinished at the time under discussion. Might be expressed
a used to, a I was. )
Nalepyanga I was sweeping
Walepyanga You were sweeping
Alepyanga He was sweeping
Twalepyanga We were sweeping
Mwalepyanga You were sweeping
Balepyanga They were sweeping
Nshyalepyanga I was not sweeping
Tawalepyanga You were not sweeping
Talepyanga He was not sweeping
Tatwalepyanga We were not sweeping
Tamwalepyanga You were not sweeping
Tabalepyanga They were not sweeping
Nalelame fianda ya kwa bwana ulya mwaka.
I was guarding the house of bwana that year.
Bansangile nshyalepyanga njikele fye ne chyeswa mu minwe.
They found me, I was not sweeping, I was only sitting with
the brush in my hand.
Bushye uwalepyanga pa lukungu kale nani?
Who was it used to sweep the verandah long ago?
Bushye uwaletebe nkuni pano nani (or ni nani)?
Who was it was chopping firewood here (getting firewood)?
Ni fwc twaleteba mukwai.
It was we who were getting firewood, sir.
Bushye tawalebombe milimo yandi kale iwe ?
Were you not doing my work some time ago?
Awe mukwai, ine nshyalebomba.
No sir, I was not working.
NOTE. You is used for 2nd person singular here and in following
This tense is used in the affirmative only. When used alone
it may be translated : Still, am still, was still, were still, etc.
Used with other verbs it takes the tense of the accompanying
Nchili I am still
Uchili You are still
Achili He is still
Tuchili We are still
Muchili You are still
Bachili They are still.
In the negative probably the TALA (Lesson 66) would be
employed which expresses Not yet, I have not yet, etc.
Nchili pa milimo yampele bwana.
I am still at the work bwana gave me.
Achili mu bwato, alelwala.
He is still in the boat, he is ill.
Nchili ndechite milimo.
I am still doing the work.
Bansangile nchili ndebomba.
They found me still working.
Bushye uchilipo na nomba?
Are you still there?
We are still tying.
Ilyo wapitile nchili mu mushi.
When you passed I was in the village (still).
CHI without the LI expresses Had just, barely, scarcely,
etc. The verb which follows completing the sentence is
always in the -A- tense. (Lesson 34.) FYE, only, merely,
is frequently added.
Nchinuka fye ne mfula yaisa.
I had just stopped work when the rain came.
Achisa fye no bwali baleta.
He had scarcely arrived when they brought mush.
Tuchifika fye ne mfumu yafwa.
We had only arrived when the chief died.
Bachisosa fye nabantu baisa.
They had only just spoken when the people arrived.
Achisosa, no kufuma afuma.
He spoke and immediately went out.
Batile bachifika na bwana aisa.
They had just arrived (some time ago) when bwana came.
A Past tense, used only of today.
A *'i, .. .' Negative.
Nachikaka I tied Nshyachikaka I did not tie
Wachikaka You tied Tawachikaka You did not tie
Achikaka He tied Tachikaka He did not tie
Twachikaka We tied Tatwachikaka We did not tie
Mwachikaka You tied Tamwachikaka You did not tic
Bachikaka They tied Tabachikaka They did not tie
Bushye tabachilete fiombe uluchyelo?
Did they not bring the cattle in the morning?
They came this morning.
Idombe ya kwa bwana yachilaso mwaichye ulusengo uluchyelo.
Bwana's cow gored a youngster this morning.
Bachipaye nama shitatu.
They killed three animals.
Bachisenda kalata uluchyelo.
They carried the letter this morning.
Abanensu bachitangilo luchyelo, ifwe tulebakonke chyungulu.
Our friends went on ahead this morning, we shall follow them this
Ichyo wachisendo luchyelo wachibika kwi?
That (thing) you carried off this morning, where did you put it?
Inkalamo iyo twachimono luchyelo fundi ayipaya.
That lion we saw this morning, the hunter has killed it.
Abantu balya twachiba nabo uluchyelo bali kwi?
Those people we were with in the morning, where are they?
Uyu twali nankwe, bushye achisa kuno?
He whom we were with, did he come here?
Iyo tachisa kuno.
No he did not come here.
Bushye nabachitema ichimuti chikulu twachimono luchyelo?
Have they felled that very big tree we saw this morning?
They are just felling it.
They felled it.
They have felled it.
They felled it this morning.
LA added to the ACHI gives to the tense the idea of
Achilakake chipe He was tying the load.
Bachilachita nshi ku mumana? What were they doing at the river?
LA inserted immediately after the pronominal prefix of
a verb in the negative is equivalent to Not yet.
Only used in one tense.
Nshilakaka I have not yet tied
Taulakaka You have not yet tied
Talakaka He has not yet tied
We have not yet tied
You have not yet tied
They have not yet tied
With a slight inflection of the voice this is made inter-
Bushye is also used to make the interrogation more
Iyo, tatulalya mukwai
Nshilamona bantu besu.
Bushyetabalaumfwo mulandu ?
Another form is :
Have you not yet eaten?
No we have not eaten yet, sir.
I have not yet seen our people.
Have they not heard the case yet?
They have not yet heard it.
I have not yet tied
You have not yet tied
They have not yet tied
To express the Past tense, a verb would be used in a Past
tense to preceded the ( not yet ) tense and so throw the action
into the past.
I was, I have not yet tied = I had not yet tied.
Nali nshilati nkake.
I had not yet tied.
Wali taulati ukake.
You had not yet tied.
Twali tatulati tufike twasanga banensu mu nshila.
We had not yet arrived (when) we met our friends on the road.
Still another form :
I have not yet eaten it (BU class).
He has not yet eaten (the thing).
They have not yet arrived there.
This last form ATALA has more the idea of Never yet.
I have not seen a European (during all the time in question).
Nshyatala mono musungu.
I have never yet seen a European.
PRESENT CUSTOMARY ACTION
This tense signifies that the action is customary, habitual,
continuous. This tense differs from tense of Lesson 32 in
that it can stand alone without any completive word or
Ndakaka I always tie. Nshikaka I do not tie
Ulakaka You always tie Taukaka You do not tie
Alakaka He always ties Takaka He does not tie
Tulakaka We always tie Tatukaka We do not tie
Mulakaka You always tie Tamukaka You do not tie
Balakaka They always tie Tabakaka They do not tie
Note the change in the negative to avoid clashing with
the < not yet tense (66).
Note the change of L to D in first person singular.
Abanensu balalwale nshiku shyonse.-
Our fellows are always sick.
Bushye mulapepa fwaka?
Do you smoke tobacco?
Yes, we smoke.
Bushye mwe banakashi mutapa menshi pe?
Do you women always draw water?
Yes, we draw water (constantly).
Fwe baume tulalima.
We men always cultivate.
Fwe baume tukula mayanda.
We men build the houses.
Fwe baume tulakula.
We men do the building.
The women draw water.
Do you read?
Bushye mubelenga kalata?
Do you read the book?
I read, sir.
I do not read.
Awe mukwai, tatubelenga ifwe.
No sir, we do not read.
Ine nshibelenga kalata, umunandi alabelenga.
I do not read the book, my fellow reads (it).
KALOMBO response (by a man) is answer to a call by
ABE response (by a woman) in answer to a call
MUKWAI Sir, Madam, also a response when called
YANGU expresses great surprise, grief, wonder.
LELO Look out, take care.
LELWENI plural form of LELO.
YABA expresses incredulity, Nonsense, it's a lie, etc.
YABAYABA Intensive form of YABA, greater incredulity.
YABWE same as YABA.
ALA expresses surprise, disagreement, No, not so,
ALALE a little more vigorous than ALA.
ALE Now then, come on, get on, etc.
ALENI plural form of ALE.
There are many interjections used with verbs of colour,
quality, etc., to express a high degree of the same. A few
are given, others will be learned from the ordinary speech
of the native. Those given will enable the learner to appre-
ciate the meaning when he hears an intersection.
Umuti, uyu wakashika chye.
This tree is intensely red.
Ichyela chya kaba se.
The iron is very hot (at a white heat).
Insalu ya buta tu tu.
The calico is very white.
Insalu yobe yafita fititi.
Your cloth is very black.
Umuntu waikala shilili.
The person stood shock still.
He sat very still, motionless.
Ichimuti chyakosa ndi.
The stick is exceedingly strong.
Umushili wauma ndi.
The earth is very dry.
The earth is as dry as a bone, bone dry.
Very dry, very hard, as ndi.
To pop out, pop (as cork, bullet, etc.).
To break off snap.
To cut through with a blunt knife, haggle.
Amapi ngwa, ngwa, ngwa.
Of the clapping of hands.
Ukukulukuta kulukutu, kulukutu. To gallop, the kulu-
kutu being in imitation of the sound made by the hoofs.
First is expressed in various ways :
Pa kubala Chya pa kubala.
Ntanshi Chya ntanshi.
Kubalila Chya kubalilapo.
Second -abubili Chya bubili
Third -abutatu Chya butatu
Fourth -abune Chya bune
Fifth -abusano Chya busano
Sixth mutanda Chya mutanda
Seventh chinelubali Chya chine lubali
Eighth chinekonse Chya chine konse
chinekonsekonse Chya chine konse konse
Ninth fundi Chya fundi
pabula Chya pabula
Tenth ikumi Chye kumi
In above examples the noun CHINTU, thing, is taken as
Chintu chya butatu, the third thing, etc.
Chintu chya chitatu is also heard, the chi taking the
place of the bu (numbers 1 to 5).
Firstly, secondly, thirdly, etc., are expressed :
Firstly Pa kubala
Sixthly Pali mutanda
Seventhly Pali chine lubali
Eightly Pali chine konse konse, or chine konse
Ninthly Pali fundi, or pali pabula
Tenthly Pe kumi
Note the change from PA to PALI.
Lastly may be expressed by one of the following four
The days of the week :
Muli (or Pali) chimo
Muli (or Pali) chibili
Muli (or Pali) chitatu
Muli (or Pali) chine
Muli (or Pall) chisano
Mu kutampa (or Mu chitamfi)
Uwantanshi akaba wakulekelela He who is first shall be last.
Mukesa muli chitatu You will come on Wednesday.
Pa kubala upyange elyo upupute First sweep, then you will dust.
The Reflexive forth of the verb is obtained by prefixing I to
the verb stem. This must not be confounded with the I of
the negative. (Lesson 20.) The context will usually make
it quite clear.
This form may be expressed in English : oneself, myself,
ourselves, theirselves, etc.
With the Applied form of the verb it may be translated :
to oneself, for oneself, on account of oneself, etc.
This form runs through practically all the active verbs in
Verb. Meaning. Reflexive.
do for oneself
seek on one's own account for
one's own benefit.
UMWINE, Owner, master, self, plural BENE, may be
added to the sentence for emphasis.
Baitemwa bene They love themselves.
Aipato mwine He hates himself.
Bailetelela bene They brought it upon themselves.
Aifwayilo mwine He is seeking on his own account.
This form is obtained by suffixing NA to the verb stem
and it denotes mutual action, interaction, reaction. Some
verbs ending in YA take NYA as suffix.
Verb. Meaning. Reciprocal. Meaning.
Soshya speak to soshyanya speak to each other
Uma beat umana beat each other
Pata hate patana hate each other
Loleshya look loleshyanya look at each other
Fwaya seek fwayana seek for each other
In the Past tense modified stem the ANA becomes ENE
and the ANYA, ENYE.
They spoke to each other two days ago
(the day before yesterday).
Abantu balya baumene mailo.
Those people beat each other yesterday.
Moneni ifyo bantu balya batemwana.
See how those people love each other.
Shibukishya ifyo baumene.
Remember how they beat each other.
Ifwe tulafwana pe.
We always help each other.
You do not help each other.
Ukwafwana kwawame chibi.
Mutually helping is very good
(to help each other is very commendable).
This tense indicates the beginning, now, today, of a regu-
lar course of action, such as going to school, beginning to
carry loads, etc., etc. The idea being that the course begun
today will be carried on regularly or continuously.
I shall begin today and shall continue to do
You will begin today and will continue to do
He will begin today and will continue to do
We shall begin today and shall continue to do
You will begin today and will continue to do
They will begin today and will continue to do
I shall not be doing
You will not be doing
He will not be doing
We shall not be doing
You will not be doing
They will not be doing
Twakulasende fipe fya kwa Mandala.
We shall begin and continue to carry loads for the A. L. C.
Bushye tabalesende fipe?
Will they not carry loads?
They will not refuse.
Bushye mwakulaisa kwi sukulu?
Will you be coming to school (beginning today)?
We shall be coming, sir.
Awe mukwai, twakulabombe milimo ya kwa bwana.
No sir, we shall be working for bwana.
All right, I shall think it over.
Nelyo abanensu bakana, ifwe twakulalima tute.
Even though our friends refuse, we shall cultivate manioc.
Twakulashite nkoko no kushisenda ku Lubumbashi.
We shall be buying fowls and carrying them to Elisabethville.
Twakulafwaye mpiya shya musonko.
We shall be seeking money for (our) taxes.
It will be understood in all above examples the main idea
is the continuance of the action or course of action begun
A Future customary or continuous tense LA, as will be
seen by comparing Lesson 67 and Lesson 71, is the tense
particle denoting continuity. With the addition of the future
KA (Lesson 56) it makes an Indefinite Future of continuance.
It is not used of any course of actions beginning today.
It may be expressed, I shall begin, sometime in the future
but not today, and from then shall continue to do. With
this explanation it will suffice if we translate it a shall be
Nkalachita I shall be doing
Ukalachita You will be doing
Akalachita He will be doing
Tukalachita We shall be doing
Mukalachita You will be doing
Bakalachita They will be doing
Nshyakalechita I shall not be doing
Tawakalechita You will not be doing
Takalechita He will not be doing
Tatwakalechita We shall not be doing
Tamwakalechita You will not be doing
Tabakalechita They will not be doing
Bushye milimo nakupela taulatendeko kuchita?
The work I gave you, have you not begun to do it yet?
Awe mukwai, nali no bulendo, nkalachita.
No sir, I had to go a journey, I shall be doing it.