Title Page
 Table of Contents
 Comparative grammar
 Chapter I. Orthography
 Chapter II
 Chapter III
 Chapter IV
 Chapter V
 Chapter VI
 Chapter VII
 Chapter VIII. Locatives
 Chapter IX. The verb
 Chapter X. Derivative verbs and...
 Chapter XI. Native stories and...
 Chapter XII. Native translations...
 Comparative vocabulary with an...
 Comparative vocabulary of the nine...
 Appendix 1. Teke
 Appendix 2. Sakani
 Appendix 3. Lomongo (Lolo)
 Appendix 4. Boko dialect of...
 Appendix 5. Mpombo
 Appendix 6. Lulua

Group Title: Comparative handbook of Congo languages : being a comparative grammar of the eight principal languages spoken along the banks of the Congo river from the west coast of Africa to Stanley Falls, and of Swahili, the "lingua franca" of the country stretching thence to the east coast, with a comparative vocabulary giving 800 selected words from these languages, with their English equivalents, followed by appendices on six other dialects
Title: Comparative handbook of Congo languages
Full Citation
Permanent Link: http://ufdc.ufl.edu/UF00072636/00001
 Material Information
Title: Comparative handbook of Congo languages being a comparative grammar of the eight principal languages spoken along the banks of the Congo River from the west coast of Africa to Stanley Falls, and of Swahili, the "lingua franca" of the country stretching thence to the east coast, with a comparative vocabulary giving 800 selected words from these languages, with their English equivalents, followed by appendices on six other dialects
Physical Description: <a>-s, xxiii, 326 p. : ; 23 cm.
Language: English
Creator: Stapleton, Walter Henry
Publisher: "Hannah Wade" Printing Press, Baptist Missionary Society
Place of Publication: Yakusu Stanley Falls Congo Independent State
Publication Date: 1903
Subject: Bantu languages -- Grammar, Comparative   ( lcsh )
Swahili language -- Grammar, Comparative   ( lcsh )
Languages -- Grammar, Comparative -- Congo River Region   ( lcsh )
Genre: non-fiction   ( marcgt )
Statement of Responsibility: comp. and prepared for the Baptist Missionary Society, London.
General Note: "Comparative vocabulary of the nine languages" with English meanings: p.268-304.
 Record Information
Bibliographic ID: UF00072636
Volume ID: VID00001
Source Institution: University of Florida
Holding Location: African Studies Collections in the Department of Special Collections and Area Studies, George A. Smathers Libraries, University of Florida
Rights Management: All rights reserved by the source institution and holding location.
Resource Identifier: aleph - 002506561
oclc - 05957843
notis - AMM2351

Table of Contents
    Title Page
        Title Page 1
        Title Page 2
        Page a
        Page b
        Page c
        Page d
        Page e
        Page f
        Page g
        Page h
        Page i
        Page j
        Page k
        Page l
        Page m
        Page n
        Page o
        Page p
        Page q
        Page r
        Page s
    Table of Contents
        Page i-a
        Page ii
        Page iii
        Page iv
        Page v
        Page vi
        Page vii
        Page viii
        Page ix
        Page x
        Page xi
        Page xii
        Page xiii
        Page xiv
        Page xv
        Page xvi
        Page xvii
        Page xviii
        Page xix
        Page xx
        Page xxi
        Page xxii
        Page xxiii
    Comparative grammar
        Page xxiv
    Chapter I. Orthography
        Page 1
        The alphabet
            Page 1
            Page 2
            Page 3
        On accent
            Page 4
            Page 5
    Chapter II
        Page 6
        Characteristic features
            Page 6
        Word structure
            Page 6
            Page 7
        Word derivation
            Page 8
            Page 9
            Page 10
        Some nouns derived from the root kanga
            Page 11
        On the use of the prefixes
            Page 12
            Page 13
            Page 14
            Page 15
            Page 16
            Page 17
        On the grammatical relations expressed by the prefixes
            Page 18
            Page 19
        Two points of contrast with English
            Page 20
            Page 21
        Phonetic change
            Page 22
            Page 23
            Page 24
        Changes in vowels
            Page 25
            Page 26
            Page 27
        Phonetic changes in consonants
            Page 28
            Page 29
            Page 30
        Various phonetic changes
            Page 31
            Page 32
    Chapter III
        Page 33
        On substantives
            Page 33
            Page 34
            Page 35
            Page 36
            Page 37
            Page 38
            Page 39
            Page 40
            Page 41
            Page 42
            Page 43
            Page 44
            Page 45
            Page 46
            Page 47
            Page 48
            Page 49
        The article
            Page 50
    Chapter IV
        Page 51
            Page 51
            Page 52
            Page 53
            Page 54
            Page 55
        Various expressions equivalent to adjectives
            Page 56
            Page 57
            Page 58
            Page 59
            Page 60
    Chapter V
        Page 61
        The pronouns
            Page 61
            Page 62
        Subjective forms of the prefixes attached to verbs
            Page 63
            Page 64
            Page 65
            Page 66
        Objective forms of the prefixes attached to verbs
            Page 67
            Page 68
            Page 69
        The reflexive prefix
            Page 70
        Other forms which render "self"
            Page 71
        Self-standing pronouns
            Page 72
            Page 73
            Page 74
            Page 75
            Page 76
        Demonstrative pronouns
            Page 77
            Page 78
            Page 79
            Page 80
            Page 81
            Page 82
            Page 83
        Various demonstrative forms
            Page 84
        Relative pronouns and relative clauses
            Page 85
            Page 86
            Page 87
            Page 88
            Page 89
            Page 90
        Relative clauses in Swahili
            Page 91
        Various examples
            Page 92
        The compound relative
            Page 93
        Pronouns in possessive expressions
            Page 94
            Page 95
            Page 96
            Page 97
        Possessive expressions which supply the place of adjectives
            Page 98
            Page 99
            Page 100
        Various forms
            Page 101
    Chapter VI
        Page 102
        Interrogative expressions
            Page 102
            Page 103
            Page 104
            Page 105
            Page 106
            Page 107
    Chapter VII
        Page 108
        The numerals
            Page 108
        Numerals from 1 to 10
            Page 109
        The "tens"
            Page 110
        The "hundreds" and higher numbers
            Page 111
        The complex numbers
            Page 112
            Page 113
            Page 114
        Partitive numerals
            Page 115
        Numerical adverbs
            Page 115
        Ordinal numerals
            Page 116
    Chapter VIII. Locatives
        Page 117
        Page 118
        Page 119
        Locatives used as adverbs
            Page 120
        Locatives used as prepositions in Kongo
            Page 121
            Page 122
        Demons, prons, and pronominal prefixes used as conjunctions
            Page 123
            Page 124
            Page 125
        Prepositions, adverbs, and conjunctions
            Page 126
        Some prepositions
            Page 127
        Prepositional phrases
            Page 128
        Adverbs and adverbial expressions
            Page 129
            Page 130
            Page 131
    Chapter IX. The verb
        Page 132
        Inflexions of the simple verb
            Page 132
            Page 133
                Page 134
                Page 135
                Page 136
        The indicative mood
            Page 137
            Page 138
            Page 139
            Page 140
            Page 141
            Page 142
            Page 143
            Page 144
            Page 145
            Page 146
            Page 147
            Page 148
            Page 149
        Force of the tenses in the indicative mood
            Page 150
            Page 151
        Use of the tenses
            Page 152
            Page 153
            Page 154
            Page 155
            Page 156
            Page 157
            Page 158
            Page 159
            Page 160
        Various indicative verb forms
            Page 161
            Page 162
            Page 163
        Negation in the indicative mood
            Page 164
            Page 165
            Page 166
            Page 167
            Page 168
            Page 169
            Page 170
            Page 171
            Page 172
            Page 173
        The infinitive mood
            Page 174
        Use of the infinitive forms
            Page 175
            Page 176
            Page 177
        Imperative mood
            Page 178
        Negation in the imperative mood
            Page 179
            Page 180
        The subjunctive mood
            Page 181
            Page 182
            Page 183
        Negation in the subjunctive mood
            Page 184
        Moods in conditional sentences
            Page 185
            Page 186
            Page 187
            Page 188
            Page 189
            Page 190
            Page 191
        Direct and indirect discourse
            Page 192
            Page 193
        The verb "to be"
            Page 194
            Page 195
        Other methods of expressing the copula
            Page 196
            Page 197
        Auxiliary verbs
            Page 198
        Monosyllabic verbs
            Page 199
        Vowel verbs
            Page 200
    Chapter X. Derivative verbs and nouns
        Page 201
        Page 202
        Page 203
        Page 204
        Page 205
        Page 206
        The passive verb
            Page 207
            Page 208
            Page 209
            Page 210
        The applicative verb
            Page 211
        The causative verb
            Page 212
            Page 213
        The reciprocal verb
            Page 214
        The reversive verb
            Page 215
        The reduplicated verb
            Page 216
        The repetitive verb
            Page 217
        The intensive verb
            Page 218
        Secondary and tertiary derivative forms
            Page 219
        Derivative nouns
            Page 220
            Page 221
            Page 222
            Page 223
    Chapter XI. Native stories and proverbs
        Page 224
        Page 225
        Page 226
        Page 227
        Page 228
        Page 229
        Page 230
        Page 231
        Page 232
        Page 233
    Chapter XII. Native translations - The prodigal son
        Page 234
        Page 235
        Page 236
        Page 237
        Page 238
        Page 239
        Page 240
        Page 241
        Page 242
        Page 243
        Page 244
        Page 245
        Page 246
    Comparative vocabulary with an introduction
        Page 247
        Page 248
        Page 249
        Page 250
        Page 251
        Page 252
        Page 253
        Page 254
        Page 255
        Page 256
        Page 257
        Page 258
        Page 259
        Page 260
        Page 261
        Page 262
        Page 263
        Page 264
        Page 265
        Page 266
        Page 267
    Comparative vocabulary of the nine languages
        Page 268
        Page 269
        Page 270
        Page 271
        Page 272
        Page 273
        Page 274
        Page 275
        Page 276
        Page 277
        Page 278
        Page 279
        Page 280
        Page 281
        Page 282
        Page 283
        Page 284
        Page 285
        Page 286
        Page 287
        Page 288
        Page 289
        Page 290
        Page 291
        Page 292
        Page 293
        Page 294
        Page 295
        Page 296
        Page 297
        Page 298
        Page 299
        Page 300
        Page 301
        Page 302
        Page 303
        Page 304
    Appendix 1. Teke
        Page 305
        Page 306
        Page 307
    Appendix 2. Sakani
        Page 308
    Appendix 3. Lomongo (Lolo)
        Page 309
        Page 310
        Page 311
    Appendix 4. Boko dialect of Ngala
        Page 312
        Page 313
    Appendix 5. Mpombo
        Page 314
    Appendix 6. Lulua
        Page 315
        Page 316
        Page 317
        Page 318
        Page 319
        Page 320
        Page 321
        Page 322
        Page 323
        Page 324
        Page 325
        Page 326
Full Text




Being a Comparative Grammar of the Eight Principal Languages
spoken along the banks of the Congo River from the West Coast
of Africa to Stanley Falls, a distance of 1300 miles, and of
Swahili, the "lingua franca of the country stretching thence
to the East Coast, with a Comparatiue Vocabulary giving 800
selected words from these Languages with their English equiva-
lents, followed by Appendices on six other Dialects,



M1issi/onary of tie Society on Mth UperC Congo Ri?7'r.



" Hannah Wade" Printing Press,
Baptist Missionary Society,
Congo Independent State.



of Ravening/ham, Norfolk,

who, by welcomning our Daughter Marljori ilno their

hearts and home, have lifted the only cross of our missionary

life, this book is I. -:.. .-.' dedicated by a

grateful Father.


TIHE decision to write this little book was reached in the
year 1895 under the following circumstances.
In the month of August 1890, the Rev. J. H. Weeks and
myself founded the mission station of Monsembe, the first
attempt made towards the evangelisation of the then
dreaded cannibal Bangala tribe. The language was
unknown, and, of course, unreduced. In the process of
fixing terms and grammatical forms for the Gospels of St.
Mark and St. John, I gathered a number of comparative
notes from the other languages on the river akin to that
spoken by the Bangala. Reading Torrend's Comparative
Grammar of Bantu languages" suggested the advisability
of expansion and publication.
In 1897, the first draft of the book was finished, and 1
hoped to print in 1898, at a juncture in our work in which,
I think, it would have been specially useful. The languages
then dealt with were Kongo, Bangi, Lolo, Ngala, Poto,
and Ngombc.
Towards the end of 1897, however, I was called to take
charge of the recently opened mission station at Yakusu,
near Stanley Falls. Here a new people awaited me
speaking yet another language. The work of building a
new station, traversing a new district, learning and reduc-
ing a new language, absorbed all my time, and publication
was perforce delayed. I still hoped to publish before
taking an overdue furlough in 1899, but in the meantime
had seen the advisability of adding the Lokele language
spoken in the district. Then the fact that here we had
reached from the west the region of Arab influence, and
hence the point whence Swahili is more or less spoken to
the east coast, practically forced the inclusion of Swahili.

Returning, in 1901, just previous to Mr Grenfell, who
was preparing to link up the work of the Baptist Missionary
Society with that of the Church Missionary Society at
Lake Albert by way of the River Aruwhimi, I was led to
consider the possibility of including the Soko language
spoken by the tribe living about the mouth of that river.
Forward work in the direction of Lake Albert involves
such relations with the Basoko tribesmen that they can
hardly be left untouched. Having some Basoko workmen
at Yakusu, I have included that language.
Thus there are nine languages dealt with, six of which
are new--new, that is, in the sense that whilst some
translations have appeared in all but Soko, with the exception
of an elementary primer in Lolo, no grammar has been
published in any one of them. I had hoped to have dealt
with sixteen languages, for whilst the book has been in
preparation, the serious character of the language problem
as it affects missionary operations, and especially the
present and prospective work of our own Society on the
Upper River, has been borne in upon my mind.
In the early years of our mission work the geographical
problem bulked large. It was felt, and wisely so, that an
accurate geographical knowledge of the country was
essential, in order that those responsible for the
evangelisation of the Congo regions might occupy those
points which offered the greatest advantages as centres,
from which the forces of the King of Kings might conquer
the land.
In his many journeys on the Peace and Goodwz'll, Mr
Grenfell has attacked this problem with such ability and
pertinacity that no question of moment now remains open.
Has not the time come when a serious attempt should
be made to scientifically determine, not only their
distribution, but also the relative value the several
languages possess for the purposes of our campaign, so
that translators may expend their strength only on those
tongues which offer the greatest likelihood of survival, and
which can be used over large areas ?

When it is discovered that a mission station is not so
well placed as it might have been, those responsible for its
location cannot but sadly question whether a closer study
of the conditions before commencing operations might not
have prevented the mistake.
Not less sad is it to reflect, that ignorance of the language
problem may lead to the expenditure of strength on
languages which are destined to disappear, or are spoken
by but a very few people.
In the earlier days of a mission in an unknown country,
it is practically impossible to avoid some losses of this
kind ; but a time comes when stock should be taken with
a view to rectify as far as possible such mistakes, and to
secure that energy shall be used to the greatest advantage
in the future.
Feeling myself the pressure of this problem, and dealing
as I was with all the languages in which our Society was
then working, in the year 1898 I determined to do
something more towards its solution by attempting to
collect the necessary materials from as many of the
languages as possible which lie along the likeliest line of
I set to work and gathered at. Yakusu a number of boys
speaking the languages of the tribes on the Lower
Aruwhimi, such as the Bangba and the Babalc, also the
Wamanga tribe on the Lindi, and the Bakusu, a tribe
living near Nyangwc. I made some notes also of the
languages spoken by the Turumbu, the Foma, the Bakumu,
and the WV ..... all tribes within our reach in the
neighbourhood of Stanley Falls.
As this work had to be done, however, whilst I was
learning the Lokele language for evangelistic and trans-
lation purposes, as well as building my own dwelling house,
furlough came before I had collected sufficient material for
my purpose, and the boys went back to their homes.
Since my return, '.,1.1,. translating and other
missionary work have so absorbed my time that I have been
unable to call the lads together again.

Thus part of my plan has been dropped. Had I been
able to include the above languages, I should then have
dealt with most of the languages that the B. M. S. is likely
to work in for the next few years on the Upper River. I
should then have ventured to state some facts as to the
distribution of the languages, and drawn some deductions
as to their relative values, and, perhaps, have made some
As it is, some points are fairly clear to my own mind;
but as at present I am unable to place all the material
upon which such opinions are based before my brethren,
I deem it wise to withhold them.
I think it is a piece of work that needs to be done, and
it is just possible that such arrangements may be made as
will enable me to take up this task again ; but as it would
take some time to gather the lads again even were I free
to begin at once, I feel there is not sufficient reason to
longer delay the publication of the material already
prepared which is ample for the purpose for which it was
at first designed.
Already it has been delayed long enough, and I cannot
hope that the long delay means fewer mistakes, for at
Yakusu I have been unable to keep in touch with speakers
of the languages spoken lower down, and, as will have
been seen, the work in the new languages now included
has been done in the odd times that could be snatched
between the demands of other pressing duties.
No one will expect to find, in a book of this size, and in
one intended to serve the purposes of an Introductory
Handbook, all the forms of all the languages fully dealt
I have tried to treat all the principal features, and trust
that not many forms of first importance have been missed ;
alternative and supplementary constructions men must
add for themselves from the books published in several of
the languages, and by contact with the people.
I am indebted to the late Rev. \V. H. White for the
use of his Ngombe slips of words ; and my thanks are due

to the Rev. W. L. Forfeitt for sending me an Upoto lad
in 1895; and also to Mr D. Dron for superintending the
printing and binding, which have been done by the native
lads at Bolobo under his charge.
I have consulted most of the books which have
appeared in the Upper River languages, but have
depended largely on the lads I was able to secure from
each of the districts.
Of the Lower Congo language, I know practically
nothing at first hand, and am greatly indebted to
Mr Bentley for permission to use his work ; I have confined
my attention to his Grammar and New Testament.
He will understand that difference of statement was
conditioned by the inclusion of other languages.
The books consulted on the general subject make too
long a list for detailed mention; I am indebted to Bleek,
Appleyard, Krapf, Kolbe, Steere, etc., and, above all, to
Torrend. I take this occasion to acknowledge my
obligation to the latter author, especially for suggestion as
to arrangement.
The first purpose of the book is missionary, and I trust
it may prove useful and suggestive to my brethren
working in the Congo Mission field, and as the languages,
for the most part, are spoken in that section of the
Bantu language field which is least known, I am not
without hope that it may serve the cause of philology.


YAV USU, Alay 190j.


For twenty-four years the Baptist Missionary Society
has persisted in its endeavour to evangelize its way from
the West Coast of Africa along the banks of the Congo
River, planting station after station in the chain which
linked up with the stations planted by the Church
Missionary Society from the East Coast through Uganda,
will complete a line of mission stations right across the
heart of the Dark Continent,-the line dreamed of by
This enterprise has necessitated the reducing of a new
language at almost every successive step.
The difficulties of such a work, in a country so
unhealthy as the Congo basin has proved to be, are
sufficiently obvious.
Of the number of men who prove capable of lengthy
service, a very large proportion are at one and the same
time translating the same books into different languages.
At the present time agents of the Society are at work on
no fewer than five distinct translations on the Upper
River. It has been felt that these languages differ from
each other to a degree which makes separate translations
inevitable, at least for one generation.
Am I wrong, however, in suggesting that this conclusion
has been assumed rather than proved ? And, even if this
much be granted, are the differences so great that all these
separate translations must be perpetuated ? Are the
numbers of the people speaking each of these languages
large enough to justify the expenditure of time, energy,
and money this would involve ? Moreover, is it not a fact
that more than one of these languages is spoken by a
small and rapidly diminishing number of people, whilst

inland are larger peoples speaking different languages ?
Are these inland peoples to be forced to learn the
languages of their dying riverine neighbours, or, on the
other hand, is it conceivable that a separate translation for
each of these peoples should be prepared ? Does not this
latter alternative open up before us an utterly
impracticable policy, seeing that it would involve, say, from
twenty to thirty translations for the work of the Upper
River? And with regard to the former alternative, are
there not many indications which go to shew that it will
be quite beyond our power to keep the riverine languages
in being along the river itself? How can we expect then to
force these languages on inland peoples ?
I put these questions with some diffidence, for we
missionaries are notoriously sensitive on language matters.
I know, however, that not all the members of the staff are
free from heartsearching on these points.
Moreover, the question, by no means a simple one
before, is becoming vastly more complicated by the
changes rapidly coming about due to the assumption of
authority over the Congo basin by the government of the
Congo Independent State, and what the next few years
may bring it is difficult to foresee.
The policy adopted by the Government of manning its
posts in the several districts by soldiers and their wives
drawn from other tribes, the planting out of instruction
camps containing soldiers gathered from all parts, with
the mixed communities which grow up around them,
together with the passing to and fro of steamers with their
mixed crews, are producing changes in the riverine
languages of the Upper River at a rate undreamt of ten
years ago.
Already the Bangi language, the Lolo language spoken
about Coquillahetville and the mouth of the Lulanga
River, the Ngala language, the Poto language, and the
Soko language may be said to be in the melting pot. Put
with this such a fact as that mentioned by Mr Whitehead
in the preface to his Bobangi Grammar and Dictionary "-

"the representatives of the original tribe are fast
di- i'...- 'iiI- and the few that remain may be counted on
the fingers ;" so that the so-called Bobangi tribe of to-day
is made up of their slave descendants and strangers more
or less incorporated, and the nature of the coming problem
may be seen.
As far as I have observed, the tendency of the translators
is to emphasis the peculiarities of the several languages
with which they respectively deal, and revisions throw out
these peculiarities into stronger relief. As the result of
these two opposing tendencies, it would seem highly
probable that in a few years we shall be face to face with
a situation in which the separate translations made for
the several districts will be divorced from the language
spoken by the people for whom they were made,
and daily becoming more widely separated from each
other, whilst the current speech amongst these several
peoples will be gradually approximating to a common
It is always easier to point out a difficulty than to
suggest a remedy. I hope, however, my brethren will
bear with me if I venture to suggest that a change of
conditions demands a change of policy.
In the early years of work on the Upper River we had
to get a footing in the best places open to us, and naturally
we attacked the languages spoken in the immediate
neighbourhood of our stations.
Owing to Mr Grenfell's intimate knowledge of the river,
it is clear that we secured our centres generally in the best
languages. Now, however, these languages have not the
stability they once had; the original language barriers are
fast breaking down, and the riverine tribes are steadily
diminishing in numbers; whilst the inland peoples,
inaccessible in the early days, are now accessible on every
hand. The policy of working in the one language spoken
by the riverine peoples near the several stations, was the
only policy possible under the old conditions; now it would
seem that the time has come for taking a broader view of

the language problem-to attack it, that is, by the
comparative method.
Do not the present conditions demand that we should
study all the languages we can reach with a view to
learning their inter-relations and gathering them into
groups, and then that we should seek the common basis of
the several 1i..ul. with a view to a translation for the
group ?
By keeping a firm grip on the good points which are the
common property of the several groups, we may hope,
perhaps, to conserve most of them, and to exercise some
controlling influence on the forces that are making for
change, and thus to produce translations, which, while
shorn of some of the features peculiar to several of the
languages we may be sorry to lose, will cover a very much
larger area than any one at present in use.
To conserve all the peculiarities of the several languages
I am convinced is beyond us, and in attempting it we may
lose, yea, will surely lose, much of the common good in
the general break up which appears to be inevitable.
In view of the immense difficulty of the language
problem on the Upper River, I would venture, with all
respect, to -. -. -1. to the brethren working in this part of
the great Mission field, that the day of isolated effort and
the emphasing of points of difference in the several
languages should be hastened out with all despatch, and the
day of collaboration and the emphasising of points of
agreement welcomed in,
I offer this little IHandbook as an elementary attempt to
deal with the Congo languages in a comparative way, and
its first purpose will be secured if it should initiate a
movement towards the solution of this important and
difficult problem. I can but feel that an unbiassed study
of the Upper River languages here dealt with will shew that
their points of agreement are many more in number, and
of greater importance, than we have been accustomed to
think ; and it must not be overlooked that in all probability
they belong to several groups, and differ from each other

as much, perhaps, as any of the languages we shall need to
study, will be found to differ from any of these. Grouping,
with a view to the reduction of the number of necessary
translations, I am convinced is a practicable policy, and it
is at least a conceivable thing, that the adoption of this
policy might lead to a common translation for a very wide
Another difficulty is the effective manning of the several
stations in the different languages. A senior missionary is
compelled, maybe, to take furlough earlier than was
expected, he leaves one or two colleagues young and
comparatively inexperienced, it is thought wise for another
man to be sent along. But this helper is going to a new
language. He may be compelled to stay six, it maybe
twelvemonths, he does not know, and hardly feels inclined to
make a very serious study of the new language. Other
gaps made by death and compulsory retirement must be
temporarily filled, and a man is moved along from another
station and another language. I hope such brethren may
find this book helpful, I have endeavoured to prepare it so
that a missionary going from any one of the languages to
another may approach the new one through the medium
of his own.
Again, removals from the field by death and illness
make a constant stream of new missionaries necessary, and
most of these are drawn from the ranks of men who enter
our colleges with a view to this particular field.
When I was a student in Bristol college preparing for
work on the Congo, the fact that the average term of
service was so short caused me to wonder, often, whether
I ought not to be studying, at least, the theory of the
language at home. I know that this question has exercised
the minds of other missionary students, and of some
few of the professors of our colleges. The sufficient, but
not satisfying answer to such questioning hitherto has been,
that not one but a number of languages is spoken over the,
area covered by our mission on the Congo, and one did not,
yea, could not know, even up to the hour of departure,

which one he might be called upon to learn, and no book
covering the several languages was published.
In my time one could obtain from the Mission- house
Mr. Bentley's Kongo Grammar and Dictionary" but this
deals with the language spoken in the cataract region only,
now one could also obtain Mr. Whitehead's "Bobangi
Grammar and Dictionary" but this again deals with but
one of the other languages, and I believe I am right in
inferring that the appetite of the average student is not
voracious enough to lead him to study seriously and
voluntarily a language he may never need to learn. For
the enthusiastic philologist there is Bleek's Comparative
Grammar of South African languages," but this book,
incomparable as far as it goes, is but a fragment, is
altogether too technical for ordinary missionary purposes,
and, moreover, it does not deal with Congo languages to
any helpful extent.
Still, the question as to whether it may not be advisable
for missionary students preparing for work in this difficult
field to make themselves acquainted with the principles of
the Congo languages in the healthful surroundings of the
mother country remains, and fourteen years experience on the
field has strengthened my conviction that it would be well
for them to do so.* The book has been the one thing
lacking, and I have here endeavoured to supply the need,
and I am hoping that men, who are preparing for work on
the Congo, will find a Comparative Handbook dealing with
all the languages spoken in the Mission worth study, so
that they may get a grip of the elementary principles of
the Congo languages, which will be helpful to them wherever
they go, and of which they will find illustrations drawn from
any one or more of them which they may require to learn.
Further, as there are regions yet unoccupied, we may
expect that our Society will attack yet other unknown

*Sce a striking article by Dr W. St. Clair Tisdall in the "Church Missionary
:,i,..i, ..... for August 1903, pp.p 569-75, advocating this view, and a
unanimous recommendation of the Quinquennial Conference of the C. M. S.,
at Madras Dec, 1902, in support of this policy.

languages, and again, I hope that the brethren who may
be called to do this new work may find some help in the
fixing of forms, by comparing them with those which have
been gathered from the nine languages here dealt with.
These are the points I have had before me in preparing
the book, and the purpose, of course, has practically
determined the arrangement.
The book falls naturally into two divisions, Ist Grammar
and Composition, 2nd Comparative Vocabulary.
After the Alphabet, which gives signs for all the simple
sounds in use, and a note on the composition of syllables
and another on accent, follows a section which deals with
the main principles of word and sentence structure
characteristic of the Bantu languages. I have endeavoured
to present these as simply as p..--.11., and to treat ofthem
more fully than is usual with a book of this size, for if
these principles are once firmly grasped, no one of these
languages should present any great difficulty. In the
following sections on the different parts of speech examples
from each of the languages are brought together, and their
main agreements and differences pointed out. I have
made no attempt to keep etymology and syntax apart, it
seemed better to deal with the several points as they arose,
to save cross reference. The last two chapters of
Part I give some Native Stories and examples of Scripture
translation to shew the order of sentences.
Throughout Part I Ngala has been taken as the standard
language, and examples the source of which is not
indicated, are taken from that language.
Part 2 comprises notes on the extent and content of
words in the several languages, followed by a Comparative
Vocabulary containing some 80o words culled from each
of the languages. The principle of selection has been to
choose those words which would shew best the interchange of
letters, and at the same time form a fair working
vocabulary for a beginner.
I must confess that I have found it no easy task to
select and arrange my materials, and it is too much to

hope that all will find the arrangement adopted quite
satisfactory, and doubtless some will think that some
points dealt with are of less importance than others
which find no place.
I have thought that some men may not feel inclined to
study the whole book, though they may like to see what
is said of the particular language in which they are
interested. To make reference as easy as possible to these
brethren I have used generally short paragraphs, and,
wherever the design of the book admitted of it, I have set
out separately, and as clearly as possible, the different
points as they affect the individual languages. Subheads
have to a large extent been avoided, the paragraphs are
separately numbered, and a very full analysis of the
contents, giving practically the gist of every paragraph,
stands at the head of the book.
With this complete analysis a detailed Alphabetical
index is unneccessary, but an index alphabetically
arranged of the General Subjects will be found at
the end.
The numbers used in the list of contents and the index,
and those placed in brackets for purpose of reference
throughout the book, mark paragraphs, and not pages, unless
otherwise indicated.
I have found it even more difficult to come to any
definite decision as to the spelling of words, especially so
with regard to the ending vowels, and, in some cases, the
initial consonants. Experience has shewn that in every
case where several men attack, at or about one and the
same time, an unreduced language, there will be great
diversity of opinion on the question of spelling. Not only
so, but they who have watched the several books that
have appeared the past few years in the Upper River
languages will know that such ordinary words as tongue,
eye, etc., have been spelt several ways by the same man in
succeeding books. The word for tongue for instance has
been spelt lulimu, lolimu, lolimo, lolemo, lulemu, and
now would seem to be settling down at lolemu. So of

eye. It has been spelt in one language disu, diso, lisu,
liso. Not only so, but a man's colleagues have been
surprised more than once to find, that after he had stuck
out for an o ending against the strong opinions of
others, he has suddenly written u to the words in dispute,
and in many others where his colleagues would write o,
and so on. I can remember when the letter i was written
as the ending vowel of many words which are now spelt
with an e, and the question now arises whether the
fashionable e has not usurped in many cases the place of i.
So with u. For a long time this was a favourite ending
letter, then u was discarded almost entirely in favour of o,
now u has come to its own again in many words.
Speaking generally, the time, perhaps, has hardly come
for definite fixity of spelling, we must be content to
tolerate some differences of opinion until we have grown
a body of native scholars. Whilst such diversity of
opinion exists amongst men who have given their
missionary years to one language, no one will suppose that
I am able to give forms which will be acceptable to all.
My time of contact with the speakers of the several
languages was not long enough, nor was I able to meet a
sufficient number to gain an authoritative opinion, it must
be left to the men who bring out the definitive
translations and dictionaries to decide between the relative
claims of d and 1, b and w, o and u, e and i, etc., for
literary purposes; those who know best the general condition
of language work on the Upper River will, I doubt not, be
the most lenient in their judgment in this matter. I have
been more concerned to get at grammatical forms and
Moreover, I realise that my book to be of real service
would need to be used in conjunction with the translations
issued in the several languages, hence I took, generally,
examples from the books in use. But as I have been
gathering for some years, and the changes in spelling
above referred to have been going on the whole time, I am
afraid that inconsistencies in spelling will easily be noted

in the examples given. I trust my brethren will see that
this is the almost inevitable result of the situation, and
realise that my purpose would be best served by
accepting wherever possible the forms in use.
I found some difficulty also in deciding on the names of
the various languages. On the East coast the matter
appears generally to be simple enough. The name of the
people is distinguished by the prefix Wa,- the name of the
language by the prefix Ki-, Waswahili, the Swahili people ;
Kiswahili, the Swahili language; or as in Uganda,
Baganda, the people of Uganda; Luganda, their language.
No such rule obtains in the Congo region. The Bobangi
people call their language Lo Bobangi, which is merely an
abbreviated expression for Lokota lo Bobangi, the
speech of the Bobangi, as is Ja Bangala for Dikoli ja
Bangala, the speech of the Bangala people.
Finally I decided to follow Cust's rule and take the
stem of the name of the people as the name of their
The eight Congo languages dealt with are spoken over
a territory reaching from the mouth of the Congo River
to Stanley Falls, a length of some 1300 miles, with a
breadth varying from the hundred miles or more covered
by the Kongo language, to the mere fringe of river bank
to which the Upoto people are confined by their Ngombe
In the five Appendices following the Comparative
Vocabulary, I have brought together a few notes on some
languages and dialects of which I could not gather
enough to deal with in the body of the book, and am not
likely to work at again; my materials in the Stanley
Falls and Aruwhimi languages I am reserving, as should
the way open it is likely I can gather all I need of
these languages later.
The following arc the nine languages dealt with:-
Mr cntley says that he found but little difficulty in
making himself understood when speaking the language

represented in his book from Loango to the border of
Angola, and from the coast to within 15 miles of Stanley
Pool. There are many dialects spoken by the people
themselves, some of which he describes as harsh and
uncouth and restricted to small districts. It seems fair to
say, that with considerable dialectical variations, this
language is spoken over the whole of this large district.
(Following the river inland Teke is spoken on the South
bank from Stanley Pool to the junction of the Kasai with
the Congo, and on the North bank to some miles eastwards
of this point. See Appendix i).
This language is spoken by the Bobangi who occupy
both banks of the river from the points just mentioned as
the limits of the Bateke, up to and including Irebo, a
distance roughly speaking of 200 miles. It is generally
conceded that these people have not long occupied their
present settlements, and the affinities of the languages
spoken by the peoples dwelling behind them on the south
bank are not yet known. It seems most likely that the
Bobangi came from the North bank, probably from between
the Sanga and the west bank of the Mobangi, some, maybe,
also from settlements on the East bank of that river.
"The Balolo occupy the country which lies in the great
bend of the Congo where it crosses the Equator northwards.
The Balolo seem to touch the Congo only at one point at
Coquilhatville, but access to their country can be had by
the Juapa, Ikelemba, and Lulanga Rivers, besides
tributaries of these Rivers ; and their language is understood
even on the Upper reaches of the Lomami (Eddie). How
far the dialect of Lolo given in this book (generally known
as Lu-nkundu) reaches is not known, but it is probable
that Lolo in its different dialects is spoken by a greater
number of people (with the possible exception of Ngombe)
than is any other Upper River language.
(At the mouth of the Lulanga River is a settlement of
mixed peoples, Bangala, Balolo, etc. The main dialect spoken

is called Eleko, it has most affinity with Bangi in Grammar,
and with Ngala and Lolo in vocabulary.)
Bangala is a name o(ri, in.ll' given by the Bobangi
traders of Irebo to a people who reached them first from
the settlement of Mangala, who call themselves Boloki in
one district, Liboko in another, Mbala in another. Bangala
is a convenient name to describe them as a whole, further
it has thoroughly passed into State and native nomenclature.
Like the Bobangi they are a riverine people (though they
do much more agriculture and less trading) and like them
have not occupied their present settlements very long.
They occupy both banks of the River from Lulanga up to
Ikunungu, a distance of I5o miles. Native informants tell
me they came out on to the main River from the Mobangi
by way of the Ngiri, and they account for dialectical
differences by saying they came out in detachments, and
that different inland peoples, who previously occupied the
land between the l.h ,,ii and the Congo, joined the
various sections.
The dialect chosen and called Ngala is spoken by the
Boloki who occupy the settlements of Mangala, Monsembi,
(and passing over Liboko) Mobeka on the North bank;
Bolombo, Dibulula and Bokombi on the South bank. The
chief men at Lulongo on the Lulanga River also are Boloki,
and the districts of the Baloi, Bantoni and Bampondo on
the west bank of the Mobangi in French Congo, could,
I believe, be evangelised by this language.
This language is spoken by the people of Upoto in
2 71 N. The settlements at Umangi below Upoto, with
Budza, Irengi, etc., on the south bank are occupied by the
same people, but considerable divergencies obtain in the
language spoken at these various places.
The Ngombe language dealt with in this book is spoken
by the inland folk behind the Upoto settlements. But
little is known of this people (though one hears of Ngombe

everywhere above Irebo) and it is impossible to say how far
this language extends. They cover the high land between
Upoto and the Mungala River, Ngombe also occupy the
country between the south bank of the Congo and the
Lopori. Ngombe are also found behind Lulanga. On a
trip up the Mobangi in 1897 I noted a settlement on the
east bank of the river at Nche, and in several places
heard of Ngombe living inland on both banks. The
exploration of the country occupied by this people to settle
the problem of their distribution, and the still more difficult
task of discovering whether or no one dialect can be found
which would serve to evangelise the whole, or the greater
part, of such a widely scattered tribe, is a piece of work
which badly needs doing.
The Soko language is spoken by the tribe living about
the mouth of the Aruwhimi River and having several
settlements also on the south bank, notably Barumbu,
Bafamba, and Bosomela, etc. The Basoko people living to
the east of the Aruwhimi mouth speak a slightly different
dialect, due to contact with Turumbu and Lokele people.
The Kele language is spoken by perhaps the largest of
the purely riverine tribes. Their settlements occupy both
banks of the Congo from a little distance west of the
Lomami river (and a few settlements in that river also) to
Yatumbu which lies some two miles inside the mouth of
the Lindi River within eight miles of Stanley Falls.
This language is used by the Turumbu, the Foma, and
the Bakumu for trading purposes, and is thus more or less
known by these inland peoples.
This is the language, which, first spoken on the mainland
opposite the island of Zanzibar on the east coast, has been
carried right into the heart of Africa by halfcaste Arabs,
and in a mutilated form has become the lingua franca of
the eastern half of Central Africa.
Note. See appendices for location of speakers of the other dialects.


Preface. Pages a-e.
Introduction. Pagesf-s.


I. The Alphabet.
2. Dipthongs.
3. Vowel Sounds.
4. On the difficulty of defining some Consonontal sounds.
5. Syllables.
6. Rules for the juxtaposition of Consonants in Syllalles.
(a) The nasal before other letters.
(b) M before other letters.
(c) The semi-consonants w and y.
(d) Mu contracted into N in Kongo.
(e) The combinations ngb, gb, kb, etc.
7. Awkwardness of nasal combinations.

8. Rule of accent in Kongo languages.
(a) Nasal Prefix accented with stem.
(b) Reason why accent sometimes falls on the Prefix.
(c) Shifting of accent to mark a Grammatical distinction in Kelc.
9. Accent in Swahili.
(Note) Borrowed words in Kele.


o0. Three chief characteristics of Bantu.
(a) Agglutination.
(b) Use of Prefixes.
(c) Phonetic Change.

It. Bantu languages Agglutinative in Structure.
12. How differentiated from Isolating and Inllectional languages.
13. Bantu words compounded of two clemente .
14. Parallel compounded forms in English.

15. Facility of Derivation by A\.ll Ih..I...
16. Primary Derivatives built up on the root KANG-
17. Secondary "
18. Radical and Formative elements easily recognisable.
19. Need for care in the Formation of Derivatives.
(a) Simple Form of Verb does not always connote a simple idea.
(b) Derivatives must be defined in a native sense.

20. General Rule for Derivation of Verbs and Nouns.

21. General Rule for the Use of the Prefixes.
(a) In Classification.
(/) In Grammatical Concord.
23. The Prefix as the Noun Classifier.
24. The Class Prefixes in Tonga.
25. The Prefixes according to Bleek."
26. The Prefixes compared with Suffixes in English.
27. Probable origin of Noun Classification.
28. The same process at work in English.

29. Converse statement of General Rule.
30. Examples of alliterative Concord.
31. Three Applications of the Principle of Concord.
32. Applied to Adjectives.
33. Applied to Pronouns.
34. Applied to verbs.
35. Sentences illustrating the Principle of Concord.
36. Identity of the Prefix in its several Applications.
37. Noun, Adjectival, and Pronominal Prefix etymologically one.
38. Illustrations form the Upper River languages.
39. Primary and Secondary Prefixes in Kongo.

40. Prefixes shew Gender or Class.
41. Prefixes mark Number.
42. Prefixes denote Person.

43. In English beginning of words Radical, in Bantu Formative.
44. In Bantu Grammatical Agreement shewn by Agreement in Form.
45. Dean Farrar on the Childishness of Bantu.


46. General Rule of Phonetic Change.
47. Examples.
48. Curions Example of Phonetic Change in Kongo.
49. Necessity of Grammatical Clearness overrides Rule of Change.
50. This principle illustrated from Ngala and Lolo.
51. Principal Phonetic Changes grouped under two heads.

52. Changes due to the collision of two Vowels.
53. The vowel a usually Elided.
54. Examples from the several languages.
55. Special Rules for the vowel i.
56. The Prefix a of Remote Time not Elided.
57. Exposed root vowel seldom tampered with.
58. Exceptions to this rule in Ngombe.
59. Pronunciation of several vowels together in Kele.
60. Other languages introduce y or w between vowels.
61. The vowel e usually becomes y before a vowel.
62. The vowel o euphonised into w.
63. The vowel o dropped before o and u.
64. Exceptions to this rule in Kele.
65. u in Kongo sometimes euphonised into w.
66. u in Ngala sometimes dropped, sometimes euphonised into w.
67. The vowel i generally retains its proper Sound.
68. Vowel i of (s)i Prefix pronounced y.
69. Si Prefix becomes sh in Kele before vowel stems.
70. Iarmonization of Vowel in different Syllables.
71. Working of this principle best seen in Kongo.
72. Examples from the Upper River languages.
73. Harmonization of the Self-standing Neg. Particle. in Bangi.
74. Changing influence of the Possessive a on final vowels in Kele.

75. Influence of the prefix Nasal on Initial Consonants.
76. Nasal n changes I into d.
77. Nasal n changes y into j in Ngala.
78. Nasal n changes y into z in Bangi.
79. m changes f and v into p in Kongo and Lolo.
80. m changes w into b in Swahili.
81. Nasal introduces euphonic Consonants.
82. Conservative influence of the Nasal.
83. Nasal restores a dropped y.
84. ,, ,, s in Ngala.
85. i has the force of the Nasal in Lolo.
86. Changing influence exerted by the vowel i on preceding Consonants
in several languages.


87. Final vowel frequently elided.
88. Introduction of a Consonant to strengthen the vowel sound.
89. Reason why nasal restores the Consonant which has been dropped.
go. Exceptions in Ngonbe due to false analogy.
91. Prefix nasal frequently dropped in Kele.
92. Lessons of this section for the beginner.
(I) Bantu language should be learnt by analytical Method.
(2) A Bantu language should be learnt by sentences.
(3) The habit of producing Phonetic Changes should be acquired.

93. Classification of Nouns.
94. List of Noun Prefixes compared with Tonga.
95. The Locative Prefixes Va, Ku and Mu found in Kongo only.
96. Sub-Classes of Nouns.
97. Ist or Mu-Ba Class of Nouns.
98. Examples from all the languages.
99. Weakened Prefixes in this Class.
Ioo. Variations of the -,..,,i Prefix.
IoI. Variations of the Plural Prefix.
102. The Sub-Class -Ba.
103. Examples.
104. Changes of the root vowel in the Nouns Sango and Nyango
in Ngala.
105. Introduced words frequently put into this Class.
Io6. In Ngombe also the names of small insects, etc.
107. The Sub-Class, --,. ,i ,i Prefix Various Plural Ba.
Io8. Nouns of the Mu-Ba Class mainly Personal and Personifications.
109. The Prefix Ba used before Nouns of Address in Ngala.
I 0. The 2nd or Mu-Mi Class of Nouns.
II Examples from all the languages.
112. Variations of the Singular Prefix.
113. Variations of the Plural Prefix.
114. Formation of Collective Nouns of this Class.
I15. Nasal Prefix replacing Mi in Poto and Ngombe.
I16. Sub-Class W-Bi found in Lolo and Kelc.
117. The 3rd or In-Zin Class of Nouns.
It8. Examples from all the languages.
II9. Forms of the Prefix.
120. Disappearance of the Nasal Prefix in Ngombe and Kele.
121. Phonetic effects of the Nasal Prefix.
122. Nouns of this Class require different forms of the Concording Prefix
in Sing. and Plur.
123. Example from the various languages.
124. Introduction of the vowel i before the Nasal Prefix in Kele.
125. Collective Nouns formed by adding the prefix ma in Bangi and Ngala.

t26. The 4th or Li-Ma Class of Nouns.
127. Examples from the various languages.
128. Variations of the Sing. Prefix.
129. Variations of the Plural Prefix.
130. The 5th or Ci-Zi Class of Nouns.
131. Examples from all the languages.
132. Variations of the Sing. Prefix.
133. Variations of the Plural Prefix.
134. The 6th or Bu-Ma Class of Nouns.
135. Examples from the different languages.
136. Variations of the Sing. Prefix.
137. Variations of the Plural Prefix.
138. The Su3-Class U-U in Kongo.
139. The 7th or Lu-Zin Class of Nouns.
140. Examples from the various languages.
141. Variations of the Sing. Prefix.
142. Variations of the Plural Prefix.
143. Individualizing Force of the Prefix Tu- in Kongo.
144. Collective Forms of the Lu-Tu Nouns in Kongo.
145. The 8th or Si-To Class of Nouns.
146. Examples from Lolo, Poto, Soko and Kelc.
147. Variations of the Class Prefix.
148. The use of Fi- as a diminuitive Prefix in Kongo.
149. Formation of Diminutive Nouns in Kele and Lolo.
150. The 9th or Ku-Ma Class.
151. The Nouns in Kongo, Bangi and Ngala in this Class.


152. What were the original Forms of the Prefixes?
153. Torrend on the basis of division of Bantu Nouns.
154. Bantu words cannot be traced historically.
155. Help from two sources only.
(r). Comparison of Nouns bearing one Prefix.
(a). Use made of Prefixes in Noun Derivation.
156. Torrend" on the Prefix li.
157. Improbability of the several Prefixes being each a single word originally.
I58. Etymologies cannot be based on general meaning.
159. Nor on use made of Prefixes in Noun Derivation.
160. 1:i I n. must await further research.
161. The Article in Kongo.
162. Method of Supplying the place of the Article in Bangi and Ngala.




163. Fewness of Adjectives in Bantu.
164. How lack of Adjectives is supplied.
165. Examples of Adjectives common to the several languages.
166. Superlative Force of these Adjectives in Kongo.
167. Rule for the Adaptation of these Adjectives to Substantives.
168. Examples from Ngala.
169. Forms of the Class Prefixes adopted by Adjectives.
170. Differences between the Adjectival Prefixes and the Noun Prefixes.
171. The Adjectival Prefixes of the W-Bi Sub-Class in Lolo and Kele.
172. Phonetic Changes in the Forms of Adjectives.
(a). Form of Nasal prefix determined by initial of Stem.
(b). Nasal effects usual changes in Consonants.
(c). The vowels of the Prefixes dropped or euphonized according
to rule.
173. Rule for the use of Adjectives as Epithets, with Examples.
174. On the use of Adjectives as Predicates.
175. Forms of the Copula in the several languages.
176. The Copula in Negative Sentences.
177. The Copula not expressed in Kongo before Adjectives.


178. The Adjective real, genuine, in Ngala and Bangi.
179. The Diminutive noun renders Adjectives.
180. The Diminutive Particle mwa in Bangi and Ngala.
181. Verb Tenses used as Adjective Equivalents.
182. Root words used as Indeclinable Adjectives.
183. Adjective formed from Stative Intensive verb in Ngala.
184. Nouns in Apposition rendering Adjectives in Bangi.


185. How comparison is made.
186. Objects to be compared indicated by Demonstratives.
187. Examples from the various languages.
188. By use of verb signifying to surjass.
189. Examples from all the languages.
190. Root of Adjective repeated to mark high degree.
191. Nta used in Ngala in this sense.
192. Superlative shewn in Bangi by ka.



193. Pronominal character of Class Prefix.
194. Self-Standing Pronouns in Bantu.
195. Pronominal Prefix essentially a mark of inflexion.
196. Self-Standing Pronouns usually mark Emphasis.
197. Parallels to the Pronouns and Prefixes shewn in French.
198. Rule of Concord applied to verb,.


199. Rule of Concord for Subjective Prefixes.
200. Comparative Table of Subjective Prefixes in all languages.
201. Examples of the use of Subjective Prefixes from Ngala; 202, Poto
203, Soko ; 204, Kele.


205. Rule of Concord for ()bjcctive Prefixes.
206. Objective Prefixes found in some languages only.
207. Comparative Table of ()jective Prefixes.
208. Position of the Prefixes.
209. Examples shewing the use of the ('I ....., Prefixes in Ngala:
210, Kongo ; 211, Bangi ; 212, Lolo 213, Poto ; 214, Ngombc;
215, Swahili.
216, Rule for the use of the Objective Prefixes.

217. Examples from the several languages.


218. Examples from the several languages.
Iz9. The Reflexive Prefix in the Bangi area.


220. Comparative Table of personal Pronouns in all languages.
2a Use of the )Demonstratives as Personal Pronouns in Soko and S'Aahili.
222. Formation of the Personal Pronouns.
223. General Rule for the use of the Personal Pronouns.
224. Examples from Ngala : 225, Kongo ; 226, 1langi; 227, Lolo;
228, Poto; 229, Ngombe; 230, Kele ; 231, Swahiii and Soko.
232. Emphatic Personal Pronouns in Bangi and Ngala.


233. Meanings of the 3 Positions.
234. Incorrectness of definition in most Bantu Grammars.
235. Comparative Table of Demonstrative Pronouns.
236. The Sub-Class U-U in i" ......
237. The Sub-Class W-Bi in Lolo and Kele.
238. Shortened form of the Demonstratives in Lolo.
239., ,, Ngombc.
240. Formation of the Demonstrative Pronouns.
241. Use of the Demonsrative Pronouns,
(a) To represent the Noun.
(b) Adjectivally.
(c) Force of the Demonstrative when placed before the Noun.
242. Kind of article used before the )cmons. in Ngoilbe and Kcle.
243. Use of the particle e before the noun in Kele.
244. Emphatic Demonstratives in Kongo and Lolo.
245. Emphatic suffix me in Ngala.


246. Used with the Personal Pronouns in I am he, this is it, etc.
247. Examples from the various languages.
248. Special Forms in Kongo and Swahili.


249. Two main methods of forming Relative Clauses.
250. 1st Method. By Prefix.
251. The Relative Prefixes.
252. Difference between Relative and Absolute Clauscs.
253. Example from Ngala.
254. 2nd Method. By Self-standing Pronoun.
255. Languages which follow these two methods respectively.
256. Formation of Subjective Clauses by the ist Method.
257. Example from all the Kongo languages.
258. The Ist Method in Kongo.
259. Formation of Subjective (lauses by the 2nd Method.
260. Example from Kongo.
261. The 2nd Method in Kele.
262. Formation of Objective Clauses by the Ist Method.
263. Examples from all the Kongo languages.
264. Ambiguity of this method of Formation.
265. Mr Bentley's "Attracted Subject."
266. Ngala attempt to avoid ambiguity.
267. Use of the Demons. in Kele in these Claiuss.
268. Formation of Objective Clauses by the 2nd] Method.
269. Examples from Kongo and Iolo.
270. These clauses e; ;i.ti 'i,.i from those fotuicd by the ist lMthod.


271. Table of Relative Particles in Swahili,
272. Subjective and I. l ..' .. Clauses in Swahili.
273. The C "...i .....;. Negative Forms.


274. i[iow h/e who, they who are rendered.
275. low [ am he, these are thJe art expressed.


276. In Konigo, Bangi, and Lolo.
277. I1hosoever rendered by repeating the Noun.


278. Possessive Particle -a.
279. This -a not found in Bangi and Ngombe,
280. -a stands before nouns only in Lolo.
281. -eka takes place of -a before Pronouns in Lolo.
282. Comparative Table of Pos'sssive Pronouns.
283. Examples shewing use of Possessive Pronouns.
284. Personal Pronouns used in Ihe Possessive Case.
285. Examples from the several languages.
286. Use of Demons, in Ngombe and Soko i iiossessive Expression".
287. Method of forming Possessi e Expre,,siono with Noun,,
288. Examples from the several languages.
289. Examples shewing the Possessive Concord in Ngala.
290. ,, ,, Ban i.


291. Nouins of Quality.
292. The Infinitive and Gerund.
293. Noun Agreement in Posssssive Expressions.
294. Signification of Noun formed from \Applcative verb in Ngu.la.
295. Abstract Nouns used indiffeirently with Adjectives.
296. Possessive Particle translates I). Article in t!;iji and Ngala.
297. -mbe in Possssive E'xp,'c,,sions in Hangi.


298. -a in Ngombe before nouns of Relationship.
299. Relative prefix dropped before the -a in Kele and Poto.
300. Peculiar Fonnation of the Concording Form in nioko.



301. The Pronoun who ?
302. Renders the English what ? with Personal Nouns.
303. Used in asking the name of a Person.
304. Use of the Relative Prefix with who ?
335. The Possessive Pronoun whose?
306. Which is il ? Where is it ?
307. The construction of this clause in the several languages.
308. Other forms which render which ?
309. What ? [lhal sor! of?
310. IWhat thing.l in the several languages.
311. Haow many? flow nuck ?
312. Why? What reason?
313. How ? What ? in reply to a remark.
314. How ? in what w0ay variously rendered.
315. VWhat is lkc matter



316. Counting on the fingers.


317. Comparative Table of the Numerals from I to 10.
318. '.i1y..o, I Numerals.
319. The Substantive Numerals.
320. The Numerals used Substantivally.


321. Examples from all the languages.


322. Comparative Table of High Numbers.
323. Vagueness of I light Numbers.


324. Examples from all the languages.
325. The use of bokolomoi, iS, in Ngombe and Poto.
326. Nounal use of the Numerals.
327. The Numerals ab Predicates.

328. Examples from the several languages.

330. Examples from the several languages.
331. How thefirst is expressed.


332. Formation of Locatives in Bantu.
333. Illustrations from Tonga.
334. The Kongo Locative Prefixes.
335. The Locative Demonstrative Pronouns in Kongo.
336. Render Adverbs, Prepositions, and Conjunctions.

337. Examples from Kongo.
338. Locative Adverbial Forms on the Upper River.
339, Demons. Prons. of the Mu-Ba Class used as Adverbs of Manner.
340. Examples from the several languages.
341. Locatives rendering Adverbs of Time.

342. Prepositions in the Upper River languages.
343. The Locative Particle at, to.

344. Pronouns in Kongo. .
345. Pronominal Prefixes on the Upper River.

1). Loc(ATIVt S IN SWAmHIrI.

347. Nouns in the Locative Case.
348. Definition of the Locatives.....
349. Locative Pronouns.
350. Locative Demonstrative Pronouns.
351. Locative Relative Pronouns.

352. Prepositional idea contained in Simple verb.
353. Adverbial idea contained in'Simple verb.
354. Conjunctions expressed by Locatives in Kongo by Pronomina hPrefixes
on the Upper River. ,. ,: .
355. Conjunction and expressed by a Prefix in some languages.


356. The preposition with.
357. With used as a conjunction.
358. fIith marking the instrument.
359. Instrumental with expressed by Demonstrative in Kongo.


360. Examples from all the languages.


361. Examples from all the languages.
362. Special Formation in Soko.
363. Intensive Adverbs in ILolo and Swahili.
364. Root Adverbs in Bangi and Ngala.
365. Adverbs formed from Intensive Verb in Ngala.
366. Onomatopoetic V\oc.abes as Adverbs.


367. Class, Number, an(l Person.
36S. Application of Pronominal Prefixes to mark these Relations.
369. Mood.
370. Tense.
371. Method of marking Mood and Tense Relations.
372. Difficulty of Comparative Tabulation.
373. On Prefix and Suffix modifications in Kongo.

374. Division into C.'.ill.L; ..... due to action of Phonetic Laws.
375. The Four Conjugations in Kongo.
376. The Three Conjugations in Bangi, Ngala, Poto, Ngombe, and Kele.
377. Regular Verbs in Lolo, Soko, and Swahili end in a.
378. Note on Mr Whitehead's division of the Bangi verb giving reasons for
adoption of Three Conjugations.

Kongo --
379. Method of building up Tenses in Kongo.
380. The Tenses in Kongo.
381. Note on the original Formation of Indicative Tenses.
382. Re-appearance of the Infinitive ku after Objective Prefixes.
383. Tense Models.
Bangi :----
384. On the Method of building up the Tenses in Bangi.
385. The Bangi Tenses.
386. Note on the Tones in Bangi.
387. Tense Model.


Lolo :-
388. Method of building up the Tenses in Lolo,
389. The Tenses in Lolo.
390. Note on the saffix -ka in Relative Clauses,
391. Note on the dropping of the j of the Continuative Prefix.
392. Note on the particle mpa.
393. Note on the verb ending e.
394. Tense Model.
Ngala :
395. Method of building up the Tenses in Ngala.
396. The Tenses in \ -I
397. Hlarmonisation of vowel of 'Preixes in Continuative Tenses.
398. Tenses Models.
Poto :-
399. Method of ..l.r,. up the Tenses in Poto.
400. The Tenses in Poto.
401. Alternative Form of the Present Continnativec
402. Tense Model.
Ngombe :-
403. Method of building up the Tense in Ngombe.
404. The Tenses in Ngombe.
405. Note on the use of dia.
406. Tenses Model.
407. Method of building up the Tenses in Soko.
408. ist and 2nd Set of I'rcfixes in Solko.
409. The Tenses in Soko.
4I0. Yet Tense in Soko.
411. Tense Models.
Kele :
41. Method of building up the Tenses in Kele.
413. Tenses in Kele.
414. Yet Tense in Kele.
415. Tense Model.
416. Method of building up Tenses in Swahili.
417. Tenses in Swahili.
418. Tense Model.
419. Swahili as spoken in the Congo Free State.


420. Difference in Number of Tenses in the several languages.
421. Difficulty of tabulating Force of Tenses.
422. Method of Tabulation.
423. Point of view determines Tense Usage.
424. Comparative Table shewing Force of Tenses.


425. Simple Tenses in Kongo, Lolo, Poto, and Ngombe.
426. ,, Kele.
427. ,, Bangi and Ngala.
428. Definition of the Present Tense in the several languages.
429. Present Continuative Tense.
430. Preferences in usage given to different Tense Forms.
431. Present Tenses as Futures in Bangi, Lolo, Ngombe, Soko, and Kele.
432. Simple Tense used as a Future.
433. Present Perfect in Bangi, Kongo, Soko, Swahili, and Kele.
434. Continuative Form in Kongo.
435. How the Perfect is expressed in the other languages, (a) Lolo,
(b) Ngala, Poto, and Ngombe.
436. Verbs which prefer the Perfect.
437. The Past Indefinite Tense in the several languages.
438. How monosyllabic Verbs form this Tense.
439. The Near Past Tense in the several languages.
440. Special usage of this Tense in Ngala, Poto, Ngombe, Soko, and Kele.
441. Continuative Form of this Tense in Ngala.
442. Near Past Tense translates a Pluperfect.
443. Remote Past Indef. Tense in Ngala, Poto, Ngombe, and Soko.
444. Use of this Tense for all Past Time in Kongo.
445. Continuative Form of the Perfect in Kongo.
446. Remote Past definitee in Ngala, Polo, Ngombe, Soko, and Kele.
447. ,, Kongo Bangi, Lolo, and Swahili.
448. Continuative Forms of this Tense in Kongo, Lolo, and Ngala.
449. Remote Past Tense translates a Pluperfect.
450. The Narrative Tenses in Kongo.
451. ,, ,, Kele and Swahili.
452. Present Narrative Tense in Poto and Kele.
453. Let Tense in Soko and Kele.
454. Indefinite Future in Polo, Ngombe, and Swahili.
455. Future Tense in Ngala.
456. Future Successive in Ngala.
457. Future Perfect in Ngala.
458. Future Tenses in Kele.
459. Customary or Indefinite Tenses in Swahili and Kele.


460. Idiomatic Formation of the Imperfect in Ngala.
461. Definition of the Conlinuative Tenses in Ngala.
462. Idiomatic Formation of the Imperfect Tenses in Poto.
463. Flow Ngala trebles its Tenses.
464. Narrative Form in Ngala.
465. Tense ending in e in Lolo.
466. Second Class of verbs in '' Guide to Lunkundu."
467. Use of a in Tense formation in Ngombe ill-defined.



468. The Kongo Negative.
469. The Bangi Negative.
470. The Tense Negatives in Bangi.
471. Position of the Prefixes in Negative Sentences.
472. Harmonisation of the vowel of the Negative ka.
473. Forms of the Verb To Ibe used in Negation.
474. The Direct Negative in Bangi.
475. Three ': PIarticles in Lolo.
476. Diversity of usage in different areas.
477. Mostt prealen miodes of Negation.
478. The Future Negative.
479. The ANot Ye Tense in l.olo.
480. Contractions of the Negative Forms in Iolo.
481. The Negative Particle fa not fo.
482. Examples.
484. The seven Negative Tenses in Ngala.
485. Comparative Table of Affirmative and Negative Tenses.
486. The Not Yet Tense in Ngala.
487. Negative 'articles used after the verb.
488. The Direct Negative in Ngala.
489. The Poto Negative.
490. Negation of the Imperfect Tenses.
491. Examples.
492. The Direct Negative in Poto.
493. The Ngombe Negative.
494. Examples.
495. Idiomatic use of kini.
496. The uffix -ni in the Negative.
497. Use ofpe with the gerund.
498. The Simple Negative.
499. Negation in Soko.
500. Not Yet Tense.
50o. Irregularity in Soko.
502. Tense Model.
503. Negation in Kele.
504. Direct Negative.
505. Present use of Perfect and Past Indef. Tenses.
506. Negation in Swahili.
507. The Negative Pronominal Prefixes.
508. The Negative Tenses.
509. Not Yet Tense.
5o0. The Direct Negative.


511. Formed by ku in most Bantu languages.
512. Formed by ku in Swahili.
513. Originally formed by ku in Kongo.

514. 'orimed by lo in Ngala.
515. Simple verl used as Infinitive in Bangi and Soko.
516. The Purportive i'orm in 'and Ngala.
517. Infinitive Forms in the several languages.
518. Tenses of the Infinitive Mood in Ngala.
519. Tenses of the Purportive Form in Bangi.
520. ,, Ngala.
521. Subjunctive used for Infinitive in I'oto.


522. (a) A, Subject.
523. (b) After ."..I r verls.
524. (c) Adjectivally.
525. (d) To express I'urpose.
526. Soko uses tie gerund to express Purpose.
527. Swahili and Poto express Purpose by the Subjunctive.
528. (e) As Object.
522. Use of the gerund in T and Ngombe.
530. Use of Infin. to denote Successive actions in Lolo, Swahili, and Kele.
531 Use of Infin. in langi and Nigala in Iypothetical Clau,cs.
532. Use of the Infin. in Bangi as Present Participle.
533. Formation of he 'Participles in Ngala.


534. Simple Form of Verb used in Imperative Mood,
535. Formation of the Plural.
536. Comparative Table of Imperative Forms.
537. Three other Tenses of hle Imperative in I
538, Emphatic Imperative.
539. Imperative Subsequent.
540. Imperative IIortative,


541. In Kongo.
542. In Bangi, Lolo, and Ngombe.
543. In Poto.
544. In Ngala.
545. Use of Imperative Neg. with Future reference in Ngala,
546. In Soko, Swahili, and Kele.
547. Use of the Imper, in Commands and EIxhortations,


548. Four Tenses in Kongo.
549. Negative Forms in Kongo.
550. Subjunctive Tenses in i i .
551. Negative Forims in Bangi.
552. Subjunctive Tense in I.olo, Soko, and Swahili.
553. Ngombe and Kele ..1 ... in -ke.

Ngala and Poto no special Tense in lubjunctive.
Moods and Tenses in Final Clauses.
Forms of the Parlicle which introduces Final Clauses.
Examples of Final Clauses in the several languages.
Example of use of Subj. for Infin. in Polo.
Use of the Subjunctive in asking questions.

\1. Nit'A'I'IO\ THE 'I UtBJSit\rivE MooD,
In Ngala, Lolo, I'oto, and
In Soko and Swahili.
Special use of the Subjunctive in Swahili.
Kele Formation of the I i by a shill of stress.

Definition ofa Conditional Sentence.
Conditional Tenses in Swahili.
Actual Conditional, or Iarticipial Tense.
Corresponding Tense in Lolo.
How expressed in the otler languages.
Possible Conditional Tense in Swahili.
I'resent (ontingent Tense in Swahili.
'eculial usage of this Tensc.
Past Contingent Tense in Swahili.
Conditional Tense in Kele.
Use of this Tense.
Imperative Form of this Tense.
Ilow Ithe Four principal Forms of Conditional Sentences found in
tlie New Testament are expressed.
A Simple I'rsent or P'ast Particular Supposition.
Example from John's Gospel (Chap. XV. v. 20.
Future Suppositin with Probability of Fulfilment.
Example from John's Gospel Chap. XIV. v. 15.
Supposition contrary to Flact.
Example from fohn's Go.pel Chap. XI. v. 2i.
resent gent eral Supposition.
Example from John's Go(pel Chap. XI. 9.
Conditional SenCtnces used on the Lulanga River.
The Particles which render lest in the several languages.
ta- Tense in Kele, nga-. Tense in Soko after /est,
Concessiex Sentences.
Example from Luke's (Gospel (hap. XI. v. S.

(. I)RECT .\\l) L im I |Ef"r DiScOU'KSI.

Definitions, with Sentence from Ngala.
(n) Indirect Quotation in all the Upper River languages.
(/) Direct Quotation in all the Upper Riv er languages.
Swahili does nol possess ihe introducing Particle.
Direct and Indirect Quotation in Kongo.


P. THE VERnm "To BE."
595. In Kongo.
596. In Bangi.
597. In Lolo.
598. In Ngala.
599. In Poto.
6oo. In Ngombe.
601. In Soko.
6o2. In Kele.
603. In Swahili.


604. In Kongo.
605. In Ngala.
606. In Lolo.
607. In Kcle.
608. The verb To have in all the languages.
609. When to be translated by the verb /n b .
610. The defective verb ata in Lolo.


611. In the several languages.
612. In Kongo, lenda, to have power to ; singa, must.
613. In Ngala, koba, to again ; kolo, to at/emnt benga, to purpose.
614. In Poto, kela, to decide, purpose to.
615. In Ngombe, benga, to he about to : bala, to be due.
616. In Kele, saka, siki, to have be en about to.


617. Frequently only shortened dissyllables.
618. Irregular Formation of Past Indet. Tense in Ngala and Poto.
619. Regular Formation in IPangi.
620. Take the Infinitive ku in Swahili in some Tenses.


621. enda and iza in Kongo.
622. Initial Consonant restored in Upper River languages after Nasal.
623. Vowel verbs regularly formed in Kele.
624. Introduction of semi-consonants in Bangi and Ngala.
625. The Infinitive ku prefixed in Swahili.


626. Introductory.
627. Forms of the Verb and new Verbs.
628. Reason for marking Verb Forms."
629. Basis of division into Forms" in Bantu Grammars uncertain.

630. Mr. Bentley's basis of division.
631. Mr. Whitehead's division.
632. Present Method leads to cross division.
633. No general agreement amongst Bantu Grammarians.
634. Statements of Forms" in Bantu Grammars too general.
635. Derivative Verbs conjugated as Simple verbs.


636. In Kongo, Swahili, and Bangi.
637. Second Passive in Kongo, Swahili, and Bangi.
638. Difference between these two Passives.
639. Second Passive in the Upper River languages.
640. Formation of Passive Sentence by Inversion.
641. Difference between this sentence and an Obj. Rel. Clause.
642. Another method of rendering Passive Sentences in Ngala and Soko.
643. The Passive in Lolo.
644. The Stative-Passive in the other Languages.
645. Active Transitive verbs in ola; Act. Intrans. in wa.
646. This ending oa not wa in Ngala, Poto, and Ngombe.
647. Act. Intrans. taking the place of the Passive.
648. Bangi makes a Passive verb from this base.
649. Derivative in ia on the Upper River.


650. Definition of Applicative Verb.
651. Applicative verb in Kongo.
652. ,, Lolo and Ngombe.
653. ,, Bangi, Ngala, Poto, and Kele.
654. ,, Soko.
655. ,, Swahili.


656. Definition of Causative Verb.
657. Causative verb in Kongo.
658. ,, Bangi and Poto.
659. ,, Ngala.
660. ,, Lolo and Ngombe.
661. ,, Swahili.
662. ,, Soko.
663. ,, Kele.
664. Causative Intensive Verb, in Bangi and Ngala.


665. Definition of Reciprocal Verb.
666. Reciprocal Verb in Kongo.
667. ,, Ngala, Poto, Ngombe, and Kele.
668. ,, Iolo, Soko, and Swahili.
669. ,, Bangi.


670. Definition of Reversive verb.
671. Reversive verb in Kongo.
672. ,, Ngala, Bangi, Poto, and Kele.
673. ,, Lolo and Soko.
674. ., Ngomn;: a:nd Swahili.

675. Definition of Reduplicated verb in Kongo.
676. ,, ,, Ngala, and Bangi.
677. ,, ,, the other laguagocs.

678. Repetitive Verlb in Kongo.
679. Persistent Repetitive in Kongo.
680. Repetitive in Kele.
681. ,, Lolo.
682. Intensive verb, in Bangi and Ngala.
683. Examples.
684. Coriyeponding Active Forms.
685. Intensive \Vrb W sed as Adj. in Ngala.

686. Must be dalt with in Grammars.
687. Examples showing changing influence of letter i.

688. The No ns denoting the Agent.
689. This Noun formed from the Ierivative verb.
690. The Noun marking the instrument.
691. The Noun denol ing place of action.
692. Nouns of Manner in Ngala.
693. The Num;'ricel Noun.
694. Noun marlin.g resuL/ oi action.
695. Abstract Noun formed Irom Adj., Noun, and Verb Stems.


696. Native Story in Ngala.
697. Translation.
698. Native Story in Poto.
699. Translation.
700. MakiZng a docto~ in Ngombe,
701. Native Story in Kele.'
702. Translation.
703. Kongo Proverbs.




704. Luke's Go'ip;' Chap. xv., vv. 11-32 in Kongo,
70.5 ,, Bangi.
706. Lolo.
707. ,, Ngai.
708. ,, Polo.
709. ,, Ngombe.
710. ,, Soo.
711. ,, Ke e.
712. ,, SwahiU.




713. Effect ol tril ',. disunion on language.
714. How n rw terms arise.
715. Conservatism of o!d folks emphasizes confusion.
716. Rapidit.y of change in Vocabu.ary.
77. -h 1,1 due to contact between different tribes.
718. Unifying influences do not balance changing forces.
719. Translations of Missionarr;s only effectivee check.
720. These translations understood only over small areas.
721. (I. -. principnly confin d to Vocabbl.ary.
722. Some Upp.r Rivr lRanguages likely to disappear.


723. Vocabus::ries very rich within their range.
724. Dean Farrar on deficiency of Abstraction in Bantu.
725. Bantu 'mneu.:es n ouro t l,tt:r,try.
726. Bantu languages shew rem'r!;;i;ae specialization,
727. Extreme paucity in other directi,,ns.
728, Lack of special terms to mark re'adionship.
729. Scarcity of Names for Colours.
730. Examples from several language".


731. This their worst defect from point of view of Missionary.
732. Appalling effects of pat centuries of isolation.
733. Bantu translaiions of the Scripltres verbally adequate.
734. Give no adequate sense of meaning of Bible.
735. Languages cap' Ile of growth with growth ol'fpeaikers.



736. Metaphor follows same analogies as in other Families of language.
737. Examples culled from several languages.
738. Further examples from Kongo.
739. ,, Ngombe.


741. Classification of Differences.
742. Some differences in Names for the same things.
743. Curious examples of the distribution of Words.


744. Kongo's little politenesses.
745. Upper Congo languages more abrupt.
746. Differences of Extent due to differences of Occupation.


747. .- ; ... towards Comparison to shew Phonetic Change.


748. How to use Vocabulary.
749. Usual Forms of Class Prefixes with use of Numbers in Vocabulary.
Comparative Vocabulary, p.p. 268-304.


750. Location of Teke speakers.
751. Teke Classes of Nouns.
752. Some peculiar Classifications.
753. Teke Personal Pronouns.
754. Teke Demonstrative Pronouns.
755. The Numerals.
756. IPossessive Expressions.
757. Locatives.

758. Location of Sakani speakers.
759. Classes of Nouns.
760. Personal Pronouns.
761. Demonstrative Pronouns.
762. Verb Tenses compared with Loio.
763. Numerals.

764. Noun Classification.
765. Verb Tenses.


APPENj)I,.n 4. BOKO.

766. Location of Bo)I speakers.
767. Differences between Boko and Ngala.
768. (a) In Noun Classification.
769. (b) In the Pronouns.
770. Poor in Tenses compared with Ngala.


771. Location of spcakcrs.
772. Vocabulary.


773. Location of speakers.
774. Affinities with other language.
775. Peculiar Features.
776. Classes of Nouns.
777. Concord.
778. The Numerals.
779. The Possessive Pronoun.
780. Personal Pronouns.
781. Pronominal Prefixes.
782. Demonstrative Pronouns.
783. Verb.
784. Reflexive Prefix.
Errata, p. 320.



G r\ )V .



A. The Alphabet.

i. Comprises twenty-six letters. The following table
gives the approximate pronunciation in English with

native examples :-

a as a in father.
b ,, ,, oat.
C ,, Is ,, nuts..
ch ,, chl ,, r trch.
d ,, d ,, done.
e ,, c ,, bet.
f ,, f .fate.
g ,, g ,, .?ale.
,, I ,, hat (in Kele and
h Ng.ombe).
,, ch ,, loch (in Soko).
i ,, i ,, nachinle.
j ,, j ,, 0oy.
k ,, k ,, key.
I ,, I ,, t.
m ,, m ,, man, lalb.).
n n ,, nail, ant.
o ,, bought.
P ,, ,, pay.
r ,, r ,, bu'y.
S ,, ,, see.
sh ,, sh ,, shut.
t ,, ,, ake.
I ,, on ,, tool.
v ., v ,, 'ale.
w ,, w ,, walk.
y ,, y ,,yei.
z ,, / ,,zeal.

mali, oil.
hieka, food.
ncu, fish (Bangi).
acha, to tear (Kele).
ndemno, tongues.
bete, to beal.
fusa, to hoc.
ngiubu, hippopotamus.

hai, quietly (Kele).
he, he (Soko).
likongo, spear.
jata, to walk.
kunda, to bury.
lela, to cry.
monmboto, a seed.
ntina, inner room.
boka, to stop.
pela, to grasp.
sukari, sugar (Swahili).
solo, to choose.
shondo, axe (Kele).
toma, to send.
luka, to paddle.
vala, to scrape (Kongo).
wala, to scrape.
yela, to bring.
linzanza, a tin.



A. The Alphabet.

i. Comprises twenty-six letters. The following table
gives the approximate pronunciation in English with

native examples :-

a as a in father.
b ,, ,, oat.
C ,, Is ,, nuts..
ch ,, chl ,, r trch.
d ,, d ,, done.
e ,, c ,, bet.
f ,, f .fate.
g ,, g ,, .?ale.
,, I ,, hat (in Kele and
h Ng.ombe).
,, ch ,, loch (in Soko).
i ,, i ,, nachinle.
j ,, j ,, 0oy.
k ,, k ,, key.
I ,, I ,, t.
m ,, m ,, man, lalb.).
n n ,, nail, ant.
o ,, bought.
P ,, ,, pay.
r ,, r ,, bu'y.
S ,, ,, see.
sh ,, sh ,, shut.
t ,, ,, ake.
I ,, on ,, tool.
v ., v ,, 'ale.
w ,, w ,, walk.
y ,, y ,,yei.
z ,, / ,,zeal.

mali, oil.
hieka, food.
ncu, fish (Bangi).
acha, to tear (Kele).
ndemno, tongues.
bete, to beal.
fusa, to hoc.
ngiubu, hippopotamus.

hai, quietly (Kele).
he, he (Soko).
likongo, spear.
jata, to walk.
kunda, to bury.
lela, to cry.
monmboto, a seed.
ntina, inner room.
boka, to stop.
pela, to grasp.
sukari, sugar (Swahili).
solo, to choose.
shondo, axe (Kele).
toma, to send.
luka, to paddle.
vala, to scrape (Kongo).
wala, to scrape.
yela, to bring.
linzanza, a tin.

2. There are four diphthongs:-
ai as ai in aisle. epai, part.
au ,, ow ,, now. bolau, goodness.
ei ,, ay 1ay. munkei, egg.
eli ,, w,, ',w. beu, raw.
3. The vowels have both a long and a short sound;
indeed the letters e and o may be said each to have three or
four sounds shading off into each other. I have made no
attempt to differentiate these: native pronunciation is not
constant. No learner of a Bantu language must trust to
grammars and dictionaries for pronunciation, but learn it by
contact with native speakers in the towns.
4. The precise area of sound to be covered by each of
several of the consonants has to be arbitrarily fixed, as they
are not divided from each other by sharply defined
boundaries; thus in Ngala likolo or dikolo, above; the verb
to hoc is fusa, pusa, pfusa in the mouths of different
speakers; in Lolo, Ngala, and Ngombe I is often
pronounced like r as boboro or bobolo, cowardice; the
names of three Basoko workmen at Yakusu are
pronounced indifferently-Digwoso, Dikwoso; Dikwulu,
Digbulu; Bofofolo, Bopopolo; so in my Kele notebook I
find the word for foolish person written efefe, epepe, ebebe;
so tangwa, tangba, to depart; kwa, kba, as. These
differences are largely due to the habits of filing the front
teeth, carrying a dog's tooth in a hole pierced in the upper
lip, scoring designs on both lips with a knife or sharp
stone, inserting a grass stalk through the cartilage of the
nose, etc. The rule I have followed in regard to these
more changeable consonants is to write I whenever the
sound approximates to the sound associated with that letter,
I .-I .- I d and r for the definite sounds represented by
these letters. So with the sound which oscillates between
w and b,; I have given b a precise value as shewn in the
table, and used au to cover any variation of that sound
towards the w. So with p and f Any sound ranging
between p and f which is not distinctly is written .

H in Soko is very variable. It represents a dropped
consonant, generally k or -, and is often pronounced as
though in combination with one or the other of these letters.
Translators may find it advisable to write kk, gi, etc.


5. Every syllable ends in a vowel.
The labial im appears to shut the final syllable of a few
words when those words stand alone or at the end of a
clause. Libum, abdomen (Ngala); zom, ten (Bangi) ; bosai
bokam, miy finger (Lolo). In these cases a vowel has been
dropped, and is usually restored when other words follow,
as libumu linene, a larIe abdomen.

6. The juxtaposition of consonants is conditioned by
the rule that only such consonants can come together as
will combine with the following vowel to form one
(a) N can stand before c, ch, d, .j; k, s, S/, s t,.
EX.-Ncu, _ish (Bangi); ndelo, a boutnday, ; ngolu, mNercy: njo, a
snake; nkoi, (a eopa)rd nsusu, a fo wl; linzanza, a tin ; etc.
(b) M can stand before b, J, z,v.
EX.---Mbula, rain : mfika, a i/low (Kongo); mpo, a ral: mvu, a
yar (Kongo).
(c) The semi-vowels w and y can follow homogeneous
EX.--Kwa, /o fill; mbwa, a d ,: ngwa, an ad:re; nyoli, a bi, d;
ngyela, an illness (Kongo).
(d) In Kongo the noun prefix mu- has become
contracted into n- before a number of stems. This n can
combine with 1-nlele, a cloth; also with zu-nwandi,
a striker.
(e) In Ngombe the following combinations are freely
used ;-ngb, gb, kb lingbengbo, a bat; gbulu, a door;
kboto, soil. Compare also ngbaka, a council house (Kele);
gboma, to bark (Ngala); bingbele, cassava bread (Bangi).


7. The combinations made by the nasal standing before
other consonants at the head of the syllable look very
awkward to the beginner, but are not difficult to pronounce.
It has been pointed out that a parallel may easily be found
in English if we divide up words somewhat differently to
the ordinary manner, thus nke is pronounced as in donkey
when divided thus do-nkey, nso as in co-nso-nant (Bentley's
Grammar p. 519). This holds true when the preceding
vowel is a long one; if a short one the nasal appears to
belong partly to both syllables in pronunciation as
likon-ngo. Sometimes on the Upper River a faint vowel
sound may be heard before the nasal which commences
one of these combinations as njaso, palavers, or injaso;
ngbaka, a council house, or ingbaka (Kele).

B. On Accent.

8. In the Congo languages the main accent falls on the
initial syllable of the stem. When more than two syllables,
whether radical or derivative, follow the accented syllable a
secondary and weaker accent falls on the penult.
EXA'-Bapalanghni, they have scattered; but baphianganhka, they
(a) When the prefix attached to a stem consists of a
nasal only, for the purposes of accent it is regarded as
belonging to the syllabic to which it is joined.
EX.-- Mpati, a shelp; a-mbe-ti, he beat me a-m-be-ti.
(b) When in a dissyllabic word, a prefix other than the
nasal takes the accent, it will be found generally that the
vowel of the prefix has combined with, or been dropped
before, an initial vowel of the stem.
EX.---Miu, eyes = ma-iu; mumbu, nests = ma-umbu; minu, fiesk
= mi-inu.
Note.-There are some apparent exceptions to this rule,
as kulu, leg (Kongo), bato, people (Bangi). It is highly
probable, however, that these were dissyllabic stems origin-
ally; in the Soko language I find ba-ito, people.

(c) In a few cases the accent is shifted to mark a
grammatical distinction, as in owangeke, fear not (Kcle),
distinguishing the Neg. Imp. from the Affirm. Subjunct.,
owangeke, that you may fear.

9. In Swahili the main accent falls on the penult.
Note.-Kele has borrowed some words from Swahili, and in a few cases these
words have not yet been brought under the rule of accent which obtains in
Kele, but may be heard with the main accent falling on the penult.

----- ----J-~Or~-~------


A. Characteristic Features.

10. Three characteristic features of Bantu speech are
considered in this chapter as a necessary introduction
to the sections which deal with the different parts of
.speech in detail.
(a) Its agglutinative method of word structure.
(b) Its use of the prefix as the agent of grammatical
concord between the noun and all words which have to
agree with it.
(c) The far-reaching character of the phonetic changes
which occur mainly in the grammatical elements of the
language, due generally to the incompatibility of letters
brought together in the varied combinations of these
elements with the root and with each other.

B. Word Structure.

I1. The languages of the Bantu family belong to the
class generally called :a Ji.il i' l c--a term covering all
those languages which agree in forming their words by
gluing a prefix or a suffix to the root, as the noun bo-ta,
gun, is formed from the root ta by prefixing bo-, and the
applicative verb kang-ela, to hold for, is made up of the
root kang and the suffix -ela. Moreover, these two


A. Characteristic Features.

10. Three characteristic features of Bantu speech are
considered in this chapter as a necessary introduction
to the sections which deal with the different parts of
.speech in detail.
(a) Its agglutinative method of word structure.
(b) Its use of the prefix as the agent of grammatical
concord between the noun and all words which have to
agree with it.
(c) The far-reaching character of the phonetic changes
which occur mainly in the grammatical elements of the
language, due generally to the incompatibility of letters
brought together in the varied combinations of these
elements with the root and with each other.

B. Word Structure.

I1. The languages of the Bantu family belong to the
class generally called :a Ji.il i' l c--a term covering all
those languages which agree in forming their words by
gluing a prefix or a suffix to the root, as the noun bo-ta,
gun, is formed from the root ta by prefixing bo-, and the
applicative verb kang-ela, to hold for, is made up of the
root kang and the suffix -ela. Moreover, these two


A. Characteristic Features.

10. Three characteristic features of Bantu speech are
considered in this chapter as a necessary introduction
to the sections which deal with the different parts of
.speech in detail.
(a) Its agglutinative method of word structure.
(b) Its use of the prefix as the agent of grammatical
concord between the noun and all words which have to
agree with it.
(c) The far-reaching character of the phonetic changes
which occur mainly in the grammatical elements of the
language, due generally to the incompatibility of letters
brought together in the varied combinations of these
elements with the root and with each other.

B. Word Structure.

I1. The languages of the Bantu family belong to the
class generally called :a Ji.il i' l c--a term covering all
those languages which agree in forming their words by
gluing a prefix or a suffix to the root, as the noun bo-ta,
gun, is formed from the root ta by prefixing bo-, and the
applicative verb kang-ela, to hold for, is made up of the
root kang and the suffix -ela. Moreover, these two

elements, the one radical, the other formative, do not
coalesce so as to from one integral word ; the grammatical
element does not become merged in the root, but the two
parts which make up the word are distinctly separable the
one from the other.
12. The languages of this class are thus separated on
the one hand from isolating languages such as Chinese, in
which the word bears no sign of grammatical character,
and is defined as noun, verb, or adjective by its position in
the sentence; and on the other hand from the inflectional
languages like English, in which the two elements of
which the word is composed have become so closely
welded together as to be no longer separable, the
grammatical character of the word in some cases being
defined by a phonetic change in the root vowel, as
Sing, "song."

13. Bantu words, then, are formed compounds consisting
of at least two elements-the one radical, which conveys the
central or fundamental idea ; the other formative, which
indicates a limitation or application of the idea, and so
defines the grammatical character of the word. Most roots
will admit of the addition of more than one formative
element; indeed one root may appear bearing six or more
prefixes and suffixes, which have been successively joined
to the root to indicate as many modifications of the
central idea. The most elaborate of these compounded
forms, however, will readily take to pieces. The root may
be stripped of these modifying syllables in the order in
which they are built into the structure; and the individual
form and force of each of these elements can be distinctly
defined. Thus ebakoleli is the name given by the Bangala
to the nail-puller, an instrument brought in by the white
man with the boxes of food imported from Europe. The
word is made up as follows-bak-a is a simple verb,
signifying to put togclt er; -ola suffixed to the root marks
a reversal of the idea; bakola, to take apart something"
previously put together. The suffix -ela again adds a
prepositional idea wit/i, etc., thus bakolela, to take apart

with something a thing previously put together. The past
tense of this verb is bakoleli. By prefixing e- the noun
is formed which signifies the instrument by which the
action denoted by the verb is performed; then ebakoleli,
the instrumcllct ,itl wzuhic something/l' previously put together
is taken apart, lit. a nail-puller.

T4. Parallel forms are fairly common in English, as
un-love-ly, uin-irut/e-ful-ly, etc.; the tendency in English,
however, is to efface the joints of its compounds and to
make its words single entities; as hussif=housewife,
lord= loaf-ward, woman = wif-man. The Bantu speaker, as
it were, retains a consciousness of his grammar; he is
continually taking his compounds apart, arranging the
prefixes and suffixes in different combinations with the
root. To facilitate this process the root is kept intact, and
the formative elements are so loosely joined to the root as
to be easily separated at will. To borrow an illustration-
"The difference between English and any Bantu language
is somewhat the same as between good and bad mosaic;
the English words seem made of one piece, the Bantu words
clearly shew the sutures where the small stones are
cemented together."

0. Word Derivation.

15. The flexibility, richness, and precision of expression
noted in most Bantu grammars as characteristic of these
languages are largely due to the wonderful facility with
which derivatives are obtained from the various roots by
this agglutinative process. For example-Kang-a is the
simplest form of the verb to tie; kang must be regarded
as the root not being further reducible. By adding suffixes
to this root new verbs are derived having modified
meanings- causative, reciprocal, etc.; these derived verbs

are all subject to the same inflcxions of tense, etc., as the
simple verb.

16. EA.--Simple verb: kanga, to /ie.
P.'as. verb: kangema, to be tied.
Appl. verb: kangela, to tief/or, by, etc.
Recip. verb: kangana, to lie each other.
Causative verb : kangia, to cause to tie.
Rv ers. verb : kangola, to untic.
Etc. etc.

These may be termed primary derivatives, as they are
formed by the addition of a single clement to the root;
but it is obvious that, as we can add a prepositional idea
to the simple notion tie and make to tie for, so we can
add that idea to the passive idea and make to be tied or,
or to the reciprocal idea and make to tic cacJn other with.
Now any combination of the simple notion expressed by
the root with the idea expressed by these suffixes, which is
logically possible, is capable of grammatical expression in
Bantu by joining the several suffixes in different
combinations with the root. Here are a few secondary
derivatives :-

17. L'.- Pass. Appl. verb : kangemela, to be tiieidfr, etc.
Recip. Appl. verb : kangenela, to tie cach olcr a wit h.
Reverse. Appl. verb : kangolela, to unllicfor or with.
Etc. etc.

So these derivative elements may be added to the root
until such complicated forms are reached as sumbidididila,
from sumba, to buy (Kongo), which contains the applicative
suffix four times repeated, and may be Englished thus-to
/by FOR (a person), WIVITI .-ii. tli.ti FOR (a purpose),
FOR (a reason). (Bentley, p. 631).

Fortunately for the foreign speaker of Bantu, whilst
such elaborated forms serve to shew the possibilities of
formation by the agglutinative method, the native, while
freely using the derivatives, generally prefers a simpler
form than the above example,

18. Some languages are not nearly so rich in derivative
material as others, but study whichever one may one can
hardly fail to be struck with the ingenious way in which
derived forms are brought out from the root, and with the
clearness and intelligibility of the method of construction.
Notwithstanding that the root may be laden with quite a
number of suffixes, it is rarely obscured, the form and office
of these suffixes are generally quite clear, and the process by
which suffixes is added to root, and suffix to suffix, is quite
transparent. Anyone sufficiently interested in this method
of word formation may see in Bentley's Kongo Grammar
(p. 641) thirty-seven different verb forms derived from
kanga, and also the statement that the derivatives of kanga
alone equal 300. The above examples are enough for the
purpose here.

19. With reference to the general statements in Bantu
grammars that verbs form a certain derivative by adding
such and such a suffix, two things must be borne in mind:-
(a) The simplest form of a verb does not necessarily
connote only a simple idea; often a prepositional idea
usually imparted by the applicative suffix is present in the
radical idea of verbs ;-lota, to run away from ;--vana,
to give to (Kongo), etc. Hence it would be not only
inadvisable but incorrect to apply the suffixes to any root
one may pick up. Whilst thorough acquaintance with the
derivative elements and their method of usage is essential
to good knowledge of any Bantu language, the grammar
must be used in conjunction with the dictionary.
(b) The derivative must be defined in a native sense.
Thus in Kongo a prepositional idea is imparted to the
simple verb by adding -ila-baka, to catci, bakila,
to catch for. The passive form of this applicative verb is
bakilwa. To the English mind the first meaning that
-II;' r-t- itself for this form would probably be this,-as
bakila means to catch for, the passive bakilwa means
to- be caught for. Bakilwa really means to have caught
for one.

D. Some Nouns derived from the
root Kang(a)."


o wh/li is lied.

0/i1M W1/10 iS i/ll//ed.
Ome 70/iU li1Oftr a/i0/ihi
0/1( Iiiho if/iur /0 liftr.

ldini /ic/1 ail/ hw lii ii ill /1 'II

Mo-kanga, one liy'i&:
Mo-kangola, one /untying.:
Li-kangi, a ic.
Li-kangoli, an untie.
Ll-kangele, /h'e tiie of /1ing.
Li-kangolele, h tin ie of untyinjg.
E-kangi, a l/i or b/i/.ilet oj planain.
E-kangela, /e habil of tying.
E-kangeli, a thin, to tie wil/i, //i p/la, of /ying.
E-kangolela, the habit of uniyin/.
E-kangoleli, a thig/io un 1iic with/, /the /ac' of untying.
N'-kanga, Iiat 7ihlich ties or hold, a /aproot.
Lo-kanga, the Infinitive Noun.
It is not necessary to set out the noun used as the
cognate accusative; it may be formed by means of the
prefix bo- from several verb tenses as,-akangi bokangaka,
/le has tied a tying, etc., so also the participial noun ebimba
ya bokangaka, a tied-up bundle.

So. The above and the preceding examples exhibit a
rule of great importance in Bantu speech- VERBS ARE
Beyond stating the rule as it applies to verbs nothing
more need be said of them here, as they do not exert any
influence on the formation of other words in the sentence;
on the other hand, the noun imposes a form of its own
prefix on all words regarded as dependent on it. From this
peculiarity Bantu languages are spoken of as Prefix-
languages; hence also the study of the form and force of
these prefixes takes the first place in Bantu grammars.

E. On the use of the Prefixes.

22. The use of the prefix is thus twofold;-
(a) They group the nouns into classes.
(b) They are the links which bind dependent words in
grammatical concord with the nouns to which they
respectively refer.

23. As a general rule, the Bantu noun is made up of a
root and a prefix. Originally all nouns were thus formed,
their prefixes being in all cases clearly recognisable
elements. During the past, however, Bantu speech has
existed under conditions highly favourable to the action of
those forces which make for change in the forms of
language ; hence the prefixes not only appear in modified
forms in the several languages, but in some cases have
disappeared altogether, as in Kongo the older form ki-lekwa,
a thing, has become -lekwa.
24. From a comprehensive survey of known Bantu
languages, J. T. Torrend has selected Tonga as I.. r in
most completely the primitive forms of the prefixes. The
following is his list :--
(i) Mu-tonga, a 'oio a. (2) Ba-tonga.
(3) Mu-samo, a twe. (4) Mi-samo.
(5) Li-samo, a lbain. (6) Ma-samo.
(7) Bu-tonga, /h: TongIa country.
(8) Ku-tui, a( ca,. (6) Ma-tui.
(9) In-samo, a wll/-stick (o1) Zin-samo.
(ii) Ci-samo, a stump of 'rod. (12) Zi-samo.
(13) Ka-samo, a siick. (14) Tu-samo.
(15) Lu-limi, //m, to/ ui. (io) In-dimi.
(16) A-nsi or pa-nsi, dowon.
(17) Ku-nsi, dmilow.
(18) Mu-nsi, ndernlcath.

The prcfixes are thus eighteen in number, six of which
serve to mark the plural.

25. The following is Bleek's list:-
(I) Mu- (2) Ba- (3) Mu- (4) Mi-
(5) Di- (6) Ma- (7) Ki- (8) Pi-
(9) N- (10) Tin- (II) Lu- (12) Tu-
(13) Ka- (14) Bu-
(15) Ku-

Pa-, Ko-, and Mo-, numbered 16, 17, I8 respectively,
Blek regarded as Locative Prefixes only.

26. Bantu nouns are grouped into classes by these
prefixes much as if English nouns were grouped by
their suffixes, thus,-

T ork r, Mo-sali. Good-n- Bo-lau.
i /-cr', Mo-jati. IVi/,'-irs, Bo-tani.
]Pal/l-er, Mo-luki. Heai-nrss, Bo-jito.

And just as one speaks of a class of nouns in Bo- in Bantu,
so one might speak of a class of nouns in "-er" or
"-ness" in English.

27. The probable origin of this classification may be
thus stated:--A certain number of words of independent
meaning came to be used before roots connoting a vague
general idea to form compounds of a specialised meaning;
then gradually other roots became associated for the same
purpose with these prefix-words; then through affinity
of sense or sound, through habit, analogy, any cause or
combination of causes which serve to group words about a
common centre, other words were attracted to the several
groups, the prefixed words lost their independent meaning
and became grammatical prefixes.

In many cases when a root has entered into one of these
specialised compounds and become a noun, it has not
exhausted its possibility of expression ; so we find in the
above examples the root samo combined with five

singular and five plural prefixes to form as many nouns, all
referring in some special way to the idea of" wood," thus:-
Mu-samo, a tree. Mi-samo.
Li-samo, a beam. Ma-samo.
In-samo, a whih-stick. Zin-samo.
Ci-samo, a s t/i of wood. Zi-samo.
Ka-samo, a ,tiick. Tu-samo.
The nouns derived from kanga, as above, further
illustrate this point.
28. The first step in this process whereby two words
were placed in juxtaposition to express two ideas in combi-
nation may be easily illustrated from our own language,
thus,-" Free-man", black-bird," steam-boat," etc. Some
words lend themselves very readily to the formation of such
compounds,-"steam-ship," "steam-pipe," "steam-roller,"
"steam-guage," etc; the word "steam" in these examples
may serve to represent any one of the Bantu words which
have become prefixes. And as the root samo combines with
several prefixes, so may the word "mill" combine with several
definitive words thus,--' ...ii.-mill," "corn-mill," "coffee-
mill," "wind-mill," etc. Neither of these definitive words,
however, hasbecome grammatical prefix; they all retain their
independent meanings. The Bantu prefix-words have lost
this, as have the English suffixes in "king-dom," "free-dom,"
"friend-ship," "citizen-ship."
The learner of a Bantu language is apt to be puzzled
by the fact that Bantu nouns are compounded of two
elements, a root and a prefix. It may help him perhaps to
have attention called to the fact that many English nouns
are also compounds, brought into being by the same process
as has been at work in Bantu, the great difference being
that the defining element is a prefix in Bantu and a suffix
in English.

29. The extremely important part played in Bantu by
the prefix is clearly apparent if we note the varied appli-
cations of the second part of the general rule which may

be conversely stated thus:-Every word which has to agree
with the noun in the grammatical relations denoted by
the prefix, expresses that agreement by adopting a form
of the prefix identical with, or derived from, the prefix of
the noun to which it refers.
30. From this rule it follows that whole sentences appear
in which very word commences with the same syllable;
hence it is generally called the Alliterative Concord ; not
less does it account for the remarkable assonance of Bantu
EX.-Ma-kemba ma-na ma-tanu ma-lau ma-kwe.
Plantain, ... those ...five ... fine ... fell.
The repeated syllable ma- indicates that all these words
are in grammatical agreement. It appears first as the
formative prefix of the noun, and is then repeated as the
concording prefix before the stem of every word in the
sentence to bring them into grammatical agreement with
the governing 1noun.

31. Having seen, then, that every word in the Bantu
sentence which has to agree with the noun must shew that
agreement by adopting a form of the prefix borne by the
noun, the next question is What are the parts of speech
which are thus brought into agreement with the noun?
Three applications of this principle of Alliterative Concord
may be stated as general rules;-

32. (a) The prefixes proper to the several classes of
nouns are repeated before the stem of all declinable adjec-
tives which are used to qualify the nouns of their respective
EX.-Kongo: ma-kondo ma-wete, goodplanlains.
Bangi: ma-ko ma-lamu,
Lolo: ba-nko ba-loci,
Ngala: ma-kemba ma-lau,
Poto: ma-kondo ma-lamo,
Ngomhe : ma-kondo ma-peli,
Soko: ha-bo ha-heli,
Kcle: ba-kondo ba-lau,
33. (b) These prefixes must also be repeated before the
stems cf all pronouns used to represent the nouns of their

respective classes. Thus the Personal Pronouns repre-
senting nouns in ma- are--
Kongo: ma-au. angi : ma-ngo. Lolo: ba-ko. Xgala: ma-ngo.
Poto : ma-ngo. Ngombe: ma-u. Soko : a-ho. Kele : ba-u.

The Demonstrative Pronouns of the 1st I'os. proper to
the ma- glass are --

Kongo : ma.
Poto : ma-ka.

llangi: ma-ye. .olo : ba-ne. ma : m-ma.
Ngoiibc: ma-ma. Kcle: ba-ye. >Skko: ha-ne.
Swahili : ha-yo.

34. (c) Every erb in an absolute clause adopts the prefix
proper to the class of its noun subject--

Bangi :
Lolo :
,. :

Kele :

35. SlNTF xN 'E
(1) Mo-ali
(2) Ba-ali
(3) Mo-ete
(4) Mi-ete
(5) Li-kemba
(6) Ma-kemba
(7) E-lamba
(8) Bi-lamba
(9) N-susu
(IO) N-susu
(iI) Lo-beki
(12) M-beki
(13) Lo-boko
(14) Ma-boko
(15) Bo-atu
(16) Ma-atu

ma-kondo ma-abwa, the planllains fIl.
ma-ko ma-kwi,
ba-nko ba-kwaki,
ma-kemba ma-kwe,
ma-kondo ma-kwaki,
: ma-kondo ma-kwabi,
ba-kondo ba-sokwa se,
ha-bo ha-kahela sese,

I1 T,IlTi'RA'' I n TII
of me
of himn
of lme
of you
of me
of you
of him
of him
of you
of you
of lme
of him

are not

has come.
have died.
has fallen.
have fallen.
li-lo li-lau.
is good.
are good.
is torn.
are lorn.
is lost.
are lost.
is broken.
are broken.
is wounded.
are broken.

36. The above examples shew that the prefix adopted
by the adjective, pronoun, and verb, etc., in the sentence to
indicate agreement with the noun, is practically identical
with the prefix borne by the noun. It seems necessary to
insist on this point, as this one element appears in Bantu
grammars under four or five different names. As the prefix
to the noun, it is called Noun prefix, Classifier, etc.; attached
to the adjective, it is termed Adjectival prefix, etc.; prefixed
to the verb, Pronominal prefix ; taking its place in Possessive
expressions or Adjectival clauses, it receives yet another
nane, Relative prefix, Adjectival particle, etc.
37. Now these are but different names for an element
etymologically one (and which now shews only such
differences as can be traced to the ,,iln..,.. of wear and
tear, phonetic preference, etc.), as it happens to appear in
different grammatical relations. The noun frequently
shews a weakened form of the prefix, sometimes drops it;
but in the other relations in which the prefix appears as the
concording element the differences are very slight ; in some
classes, as we have seen (32-4), there is no difference at all.
Unless the essential identity of the prefix in these various
relations is seen, the simplicity of Bantu sentence structure
is completely missed.
38. To illustrate from the Upper River languages--
Bangi: e-loko e-lamu,
e-loko e-kwi,
e-loko e-kulaki ngai, t/,: hzin/ w'hicl gt.
Here the prefix is borne by the noun, attached to the
adjective and to the verb in both an absolute and a
relative clause. So in the other languages-
Lolo: to-vaka to-loci, 'kniv's.
to-vaka to-kwaki, ,nives ///.
to-vaka to-kwaka, knives ,,cI /'/.
Kele : to-faka to-lau, /Lod n/iioo,'.
to-faka to-sokwa, hain/oo.s ia'r /iiin.
to-faka to-sumbiki imi, bamboos whi hi / boiu,/.
It is only in the Ist or Mu-Ba ( of nouns that we
find three different forms of the prefix in these three
Ngala : mo-tu mo-lau, wa ,oiod man.
mno-tu a-jati, a itarn walk, J.
mo-tu o-jati, /le iiman/ wa/ z 1akj.,
So in Bangi, Poto, and Ngombe.

39. With reference to Kongo, Mr Bentley (Kongo
Grammar, pp. 556-62) divides into Primary and Secondary
forms the prefixes which combine with the particle -a, of,
to concord adjectival expressions with the noun. The
following rule will render it unnecessary to observe that
division here:- When any noun of the Mu-Ba, Mu-Mi, or
Nasal Classes is immediately followed by an adjectival
expression, the concording prefix is dropped.
EX.-Mu-ndele -ambote, a ,,od white mlan ; E mbele -a mfumu
aku etolokele, he jknif of your chief is bro0kn.
In all other cases the particle adopts the prefix in the
usual way.
EX.-Mu-ndele wau w-ambote, his while nian is good; Elo,
y-ambote bene, Yes, it is, ood (referring to mbele, kife).
The same rule applies to the Possessive pronouns.
EX.-Sumba e mbele a-me, buy y knife; kisumba kwame y-aku
ko, I zvill not buy yours (knife).

G. On the Grammatical Relations
expressed by the Prefixes.

We have seen that Bantu nouns are formed by prefixes,
and that every word in the sentence which has to agree
with the noun shews that agreement by adopting a form of
the prefix borne by the noun. What then are the gramma-
tical relations expressed by the prefixes in which all the
words that bear them agree ?
The Prefires e.iress the relations of Gender or Class,
Number, and Person.
40. Gender in Bantu has no reference to the sex of the
object ; it simply marks that the noun belongs to a class dis-
tinguished by a certain prefix, and that the noun requires
any pronoun, adjective, or verb which refers to it to belong
to the same class ; just as in English a masculine noun can
only be represented by a masculine pronoun, and a
feminine noun in French requires any qualifying adjective
to be feminine. Hence, in Bantu, it is just as ungrammatical
to refer a verb by the prefix li- to a noun of the class
distinguished by the prefix lo,--lo-beki li-buje for lo-beki
lo-buje, the bowl is broken,-as to refer a verb in English to

a masculine noun by the neuter pronoun, and say the man
it walked," or to use a masculine form of the adjective in
French to qualify a feminine noun, and say un joli fleur."
41. Eighteen prefixes are usually recognized as
belonging to the most primitive forms of Bantu speech,
some being Singular and others Plural in Number. In
attempting a classification of the nouns, one soon finds that
certain Plural prefixes correspond regularly with certain
Singular prefixes; thus nouns which are distinguished in
the Sing. by the prefix li-, drop that prefix and adept the
prefix ma- to mark the plural. Li-nkeke, a bamboo;
ma-nkeke, bamboos. There are, however, in all Bantu
languages more Sing. than Plur. prefixes ; so in Ngala nouns
bearing the three different Sing. prefixes li-, lo-, bo-, all
adopt the prefix ma- to mark the Plural.
EX.. -Li-bwa, a slone. I'ltr. ma-bwa, stones.
Lo-kulu, a /, ,, ma-kulu, /les.
Bo-atu, ra -cno. ,, ma-atu, canoes.
Owing to this irregularity, it has been found most
convenient to arrange Bantu nouns into the Mu-Ba Class,
the Li-Ma Class, the Lo-Ma Class, etc., the first syllable
being the sign of the Sing., the second of the Plur. which
corresponds regularly with it.
42. Leaving aside the nouns of the Mu-Ba Class, which
are mainly Personal, and such nouns which denoting persons
are met with in the other Classes, the nouns of all other
Classes are represented by Pronouns of the 3rd Pers. only,
and the prefix adopted by these Pronouns is identical with,
or derived from, the noun prefix. Nouns of the Mu-Ba
Class have special forms of the Pers. Pronouns to represent
them in the Ist and 2nd Pcrs. Sing. and Plur., and some-
times in the 3rd Pers. Plur. ; and verbs in Absolute clauses
concord with these Pronouns by adopting special Prefixes
for these Persons. Adjectives, Demonstrative Pronouns,
and usually verbs in Relative Clauses, do not concord with
the Pronouns of the Ist and 2nd Pers., but with the noun
understood ; hence the prefix adopted by them, no matter
what the Pers, of the Pronoun to which they refer, is derived
from the noun prefix.

The following examples will illustrate this point:-
Ngala-Ngai na-yeki, I came ; Ngai is the Ist Pers. Sing.
Pronoun of the Mu-Ba Class; the verb concords with it
by adopting a special prefix, na-. Ngai mo-lau, I (anm)
,ooodT. Here the adjective adopts the prefix mo-, showing
that it refers to the noun understood, really Ngai (motu)
molau, / (man) good.
To sum up, the three grammatical relations of Gender,
Number, and Person, so variously indicated in European
languages, are shewn in Bantu in noun, adjective, pronoun,
and verb by one element only, which is either the Formative
prefix of the noun or a slightly modified form of it

H. Two points of Contrast with English.

43. (a) In English the beginning of words is generally
radical; grammatical relations are shewn by changes in the
ending. Bantu inflexions are mainly indicated by prefixes;
hence it is the beginning of Bantu words which is constantly
changing. Such a reversal of the processes of language as
he knows them is not readily grasped by the European.
After distinguishing mo-tu as a Bantu word for person, it
is usually some time after hearing the word ba-tu that one
realises that this is simply the plural form of the same
word and not a new word at all. So strong is the instinctive
feeling that the inflectional element should be a suffix, that
it is not at all uncommon to hear a long-resident white
man speak of the Ba-Ngalas, not noticing that Ba-Ngala
is a noun of plural form. Often one hears from trader and
State official the word mi-takos, brass rods, where mi-
again is a plural prefix.
Further, we may note that Bantu has shed but few of its
In English the bare root generally stands for the Sing.,
the Plur. being formed by adding s, as tree, trees, car, ears;
in Bantu, nouns usually bear a prefix in both Sing. and
Plur.--mo-ete, tree, plur. mi-ete; li-toi, car, plur. ma-toi.

44. In Bantu, grammatical agreement is shewn by
agreement in form.
In English, we say the verb agrees with its Nominative,
and write the stone sinks." How is the agreement shewn ?
The verb indicates that it agrees with the noun stone by
the suffix s, but the noun is known to be singular because
its has no suffix. Again, the word stones shews its plural
number by the suffix s, but the verb agrees with the noun
in being plural by appearing without a suffix. Thus, there
is no agreement in form between noun and verb-quite the
opposite, in fact; for whilst the noun adopts the suffix s to
shew that it is plural, the verb takes the same suffix to shew
that it is singular. In Ngala, the above sentence appears
thus-li-bwa li-kijinda, t/ze stone sinks, i.e., the syllabic
li- shews the noun li-bwa to be singular, and is also attached
to the verb to mark its agreement with the noun.
45. Dean Farrar, inveighing against the :. .. ,..1
claims that have been made for Bantu, considers this
repetition of the prefix syllable to be exceedingly childish.
Says he (Language and Languages, p. 399)-" I find from
a grammar of Dr Bleek, that if a Zulu wants to say 'Our fine
nation appears we love it,' he repeats the leading syllable si
nolessthanfivetimes-i-si-zwe s-etu e-si-xle si-yabonakala
si-si-tanda ; exactly as if we should say 'Our na-nation na-
fine na-appears we na-love the na.'" Certainly in English
this looks absurd, but the absurdity lies in supposing that
this is a fair statement of the case. Nation in English is a
noun as it stands, hence the prefix na- is superfluous; zwe
in Zulu is an indeterminate root, and not a word at all, until
it has incorporated the prefix si-. It seems hardly necessary
to point out, however, that all English nouns are not roots
merely, and that a few at least are formed by derivative
suffixes as "work-cr," good-ness." It just is as essential
to attach the prefix si- to the root zwe to form the noun
i-si-zwe, nation, as it is to apply the.suffix -er to the verb
work to make the noun worker.
The prefix si- attached to the pronoun, adjective, and verb
marks the relations of gender, number, and person. I

suppose Dean Farrar is not prepared to abolish all these
inflexions from English words ; if not, it is difficult to see
that it is more childish for the Bantu speaker to inflect his
words to mark these relations by prefixes, than for the
Englishman to represent Number by the suffix s, and to
mark Gender, Number, and Person in the pronoun by
changing its form. Bantu certainly has the inestimable
merit of clearness and the advantage that comes from unity
of method.
Then take zwe na-love (si-si-tanda). In English we
represent the object by a pronoun following the verb, love
it. Is it so much more childish to represent the object by
an unmistakable element before the verb? If so, what of
nous le vimes ?
It is hardly fair to take a sentence in which a Bantu
grammarian has endeavoured to shew the force of inflexions
in terms of a language in which there are either no equiva-
lents or they are differently expressed, and then to speak
of it as childish. A native Bantu speaker may retaliate some
day by rendering an englishh sentence with its lack of
inflexions by a number of Bantu roots, and hold it up to
ridicule as a language without form or sense from a Bantu
point of view.

I. Phonetic Change.

As the list of sentences above (35) was written to
illustrate the principle of concord the grammatical elements
were given their full value; no account was taken of the
phonetic changes to which these elements are constantly
These changes, exhibiting on the one hand the antipathy
of certain letters to the presence of some others, and on
the other hand, the preference some letters show to be
preceded or followed by certain other letters, are of so
far-reaching a character as to render some words almost
unrecognisable to a beginner.

By means of these changes, so many irregularities are
grafted on to an otherwise simple method of word structure,
that some attempt must be made to state the laws by which
they are governed. Their main cause is laziness, i.e., an
unconscious minimising of muscular exertion in the organs
of speech. These changes have been generally ascribed to
euphony, i.e., a desire to make sounds pleasing to the ear;
most of them seem due rather to an attempt to ease the
organs of speech. The resulting sounds are not always
easier to the European, but certainly are to the speakers
who have moulded their language. From a general survey
of the examples yielded by the Congo languages, the
principle of phonetic change as it affects the grammatical
elements may be stated in these terms:-

46. The grammatical elements of these languages are
subject to changes in accordance with certain laws by which
vowels are elided, contracted, and harmonised ; consonants
are retained, changed, and harmonised, the regular working
of these laws being suspended only when it is felt that the
resulting changes would cause confusion of meaning. To

47. Vowel Elision-
M-inu m-a-ndi m-a-buja, hiis itcth are broke, for ina-inu ma-a-ndi

Vowel Contraction-
Ba-tu ba-iki ba-telo-i, many people stood p ; ai and oi are pronounced
as 0I, ,,_

Vowel Harmony-
Batu bamosoko-ko bamobete-ke bamoboma-ka, people blasplieed
him, beat him, killed hiit.
The suffix ko, ke, ka is the same element in the three verbs, but the
vowel is harmonized with the vowel in the preceding syllable.

Consonant Retained-
An-s-eniki na ntongo, he saz in at cockcrow. I cre the nasal prefix
n-, inc, retains the initial s of the verb sene, to sec ; after any other
letter the verb appears without the consonant,-namo-eni, I saw
himI, aba-eni, he saw lthe.

Consonant (hanged---
Lo-lemo, l/o,nc : n-demo, l/on u,.s. The initial 1 of the stem lemo
which appears in the Sing. becomes d after adopting the plural
prefix n-.
Consonant harmonised -
Kuna, /i saow : \Appl. Verb, kuni-na, /ii sow i'i/i but Baka, io aichl;
bak-ila, to raich witih (Kongo). Verbs with a nasal in the stem
prefer a nasal in their suffixes wherever possible (Kongo).
48. Mr Bentley (Kongo Grammar, p. 525) gives a
curious example of phonetic change. Isu is the stem of
the noun ma-isu, eycs, but ai contract into e ; thus we get
m-esu as the first change, but again the ending u is
changed into o by the influence of the contracted e ; thus
m-eso results from ma-isu.
49. Not many laws can be stated as of universal
application. In most' i, i t the necessity forgrammatical
clearness overrides them.
50. Thus in Ngala, as a general rule, the vowel a elides
before the initial i of a stem, thus, ma-inu, tectk, becomes
m-inu; ma-iu, eyes, becomes m-iu, but ma-iki becomes
maiki, though this word is made up in exactly the same
way of a prefix ending in a and a stem commencing with i.
In this case, the a would seem to combine with i
to distinguish maiki, referring to nouns in ma-, as ma-kemba
maiki, many fpantains, from m-iki, referring to nouns in
Mi-; mi-ete m-iki, manly /ltres.
Again, in Ngala the a of the Present Tense prefix ka-
harmonises into o after the personal prefixes bearing that
letter; na-ka-bete, / am b eatig; but o-ko-bete, ithou art
beatrig. \When it. is desirable to give this tense a future
reference, this Iarmonisation is suspended, as o-ka-bete,
you w/ill beat.
So in Lolo h- c- i-*.,:. thu/ are not loving; but ba-fa-
olanga, they wi l not love. The a of the :.. I; .. particle is
dropped in the present tense, but retained to mark the
51. The principal phonetic changes may be grouped
into two classes:-
(i) ( I1.i, .. in Vowels, (2) C(i iio -.. in Consonants.

J. Changes in Vowels.

Under this head we may note.

52. (a) (I i I..'. due to the collision of two or more

53. A generally disappears before other vowels.

54- Kongo: m-aki
angi : m-ambi
Lolo : b-asi
Ngala : m-ala
Poto : b-ana
Ngonbe : b-antakf
Soko: h-atu
Kelc : b-ao
Swahili : w-atu
A elides before e.
Kongo: m-evwa
Bangi: m-engo
Ngala m-elo
Polo : m-ele
Ngomle : b-enge
Swahili : w-enzi
A disappears before o.
Kongo: m-oko
i: m-ombi
Ngala: m-olo
A elides before u.

,, ma-ambi, palavers.
,, ba-asi, wives.
., ma-ala, irdens.
,, ba-ana, Ihildren.
,, ba-antaka, j(/males.
, ha-atu, lcnoes.
,, ba-ao, Jb//ed b ra, h/cs.
,, wa-atu, 9of/e.


for ma-evwa, jackals.

,. ma-engo,
., ma-elo,
., ma-ele,
,, ba-enge,
,, wa-enzi,


'.0111pa)! liolls

ma-oko, aris.
ma-ombi, ai.
ma-olo, /oses.

Lolo : b-uina for ba-uina, ,us.
Poto : m-umu ,, ma-umu, b//lies.
Ngombc : m-uli ,, ma-uli, knces.

55. When a comes before i there is no such agreement
between the languages. Kongo contracts a-i into e-
me-so for ma-isu,tycs. In Lolo and Kele the a is retained,-
ba-inu, tee/i (Lolo); ba-iso, cyes (Kele). Ngala, Bangi, Poto,
and Ngombe usually elide the a-mi-nu for ma-inu, teeth.
Swahili--j-ino, a toot/i; m-eno, teeti, not ma-ino.

56. In Ngala, all these rules bow to the necessity of
grammatical clearness. Thus the a prefix of remote time
is never dropped,--o-a-oloko ndaku yena, tiou didst
choose liat house; so in Kele, tw-a-ilaka isandu, zve lfted
i/le ltre ; a, the stem of the Possessive Particle of, does not

for ma-aki, .ic

elide, but combines with, the Possessive Pronoun u, to
form the diphthong au, in both these languages ; b-ana bau,
tmy children, lit. children( of tlee, ba-ana ba-a-u.
Exceptions to the above rules for the same reason exist in
most languages.
57. Lolo, Ngala, Poto, Ngombe, Kele, and, to a smaller
extent, Bangi, drop the initial consonant of some verbs.
As a general rule the initial vowel thus left exposed is not
tampered with.
38. Ngombe offers some exceptions, however,-ika, to
hear ; a-ki, he heard; k only is left of the original verb.

59. Lokele people find no difficulty in pronouncing
three or four vowels one after the other, and a man may be
heard to say 'a'e'e for babele, 'a'u'u for Yakusu.
60. Speakers of other languages do not find it easy to
do this, so we note that when two vowels, one of which is
generally elided before or after the other, come together in
such a position that for the sake of clearness it is
necessary that both be retained, the semi-vowels w or y
are introduced between them,--Bangi: ako-y-isa, ie is
able Ngala: motu o-w-ajataka, the ilan vwho walked.
61. In the Upper River languages, e usually becomes a
y before another vowel---Ngala: y-anga, an island, for
e-anga. Ngombe: y-enge, a boy, for e-enge. Kele:
y-engo, a cooking pot, for e-engo. Kongo drops the e,-
k-amwene ko, for ke-amwene ko.
62. O before a, e,i, euphonises into. Bangi: mw-ene, a
izoman ; Poto : mw-ali, a wife; Ngomb : mw-antaka,
female. Iolo: w-aji, a wife; Kele: w-ina, a friend,
for bo-ina.
63. O elides before o, u,-Ngala: m-ombo for mo-ombo
a slave; Bangi: m-oto, a star, for mo-oto.

64. In such cases as bo-oto, gentleness (Kele), the b of
the stem has been dropped ; so the two o's appear, really

65. In Kongo, u is euphonised into w, except when in the
initial lu,-lu-eto but tw-eto. Swahili: mw-ana, a son;
mw-oga, a coward.
66. In Ngala, the u of the prefix tu, we, is dropped by
some speakers but retained by others ; t-eni or tw-eni, we
67. I usually retains its proper sound before vowels,-
Lolo: bi-asasi, yawns; Bangi: mi-oto, stars; Ngombe:
mi-eka, /orns.
68. The I-prcfix of the (S)i-To Class in Lolo, Poto,
and Kele, becomes y before vowels stems,-y-anda, a
hatchet; y-ala, firewood.
69. Before o and u, this prefix becomes sh in
Kele,-as shondo, an arc. In Swahili, i usually becomes
y,-as vyombo, vessels.
70. We have next to consider the changes effected by
the influence exerted by Ihe vowel of one syllable on the
vowel of another, even though a consonant stands between
the two vowels. The workings of this principle are best
seen in Kongo ; its effects in the other languages are less
71. In Kongo, when the vowels a, i, or u appear in the
stem of the verb,i or u are induced in the suffixes attached to
them; e or o induce e or o,-sumb-a, to buy; sumb-ila, to buy
for; kel-a, to filter, kel-ela, to filter with; bong-a, to
tae ; bong-olola, to take r,-gain.
72. In Bangi, Ngala, Poto, Ngombe, and Kele, the
vowel of the suffix adapted to the simple form of the verb
to form the Emphatic Imperative is harmonised with the
ending vowel of the simple form. Bangi: beke, bring,
beke-ke; tambola, wa/k, tambola-ka; bioko, rejoice,
bioko-ko. Ngombe: ke, gv, ke-ke; pala, love, pala-ka; ko,
make, ko-ko.
In Ngala, Poto, and Kele, the suffix of remote time
harmonises with the ending vowel of the sten; Ngala:
bajata-ka, they walked; babete-ke, ticy beat, bakolo-ko,
they talked. Poto : basomba-ka, they borrowed; basese-ke,

tkey carved; basono-ko, ti'ey wrote. Kele: baoma-ka,
they beat; baene-ke, i/iey saw; basongono-ko, they
gat'lzcred together.
73. Other examples might be iven ; thus, in Bangi, the
negative particle harmonises in the same way when following
immediately after the verb,--aliki nde o ke ke, le did not
go ; aliki nde o tambola ka, he did not ,walk ; anga nde
o bioko ko, /h1 does not re'jice.
74. In Kele the letter -a, which, preceded by the class
prefix, represents the possessive of changes the final o of
the pronouns iso, us, ino, you, into u ; thus ba-tu ba-aiso
becomes batu ba'su, our perple,; w-ato wa-aino becomes
wato wa'nu, your canoe.
Space forbids the attempt to trace the manfold effects of
the working of these laws of phonetic change; a volume
might well be written on this subject alone. [ must content
myself with these examples here, and with marking such
other changes as it seems essential to notice as they occur
in the after sections of this book.

K. Phonetic Changes in Consonants.

75. The most important factor is the prefix nasal. It
appears as m- before b, f, p, v, w, as n- before the other
consonants. Amongst the changes caused by the nasal
we may note--
76. L is changed into d:-
Kongo: landa, tofollow ; ndanda, a.
Bangi: luka, to paddc; nduka, palddlins.
Lolo : lolemo, a tonguc : ndemo, lolglues.
Ngala : lolenge, a sort; ndenge, sorts.
Poto : le, to cal nde, I ca/.
Soko : lolame, a tongue : ndame, longues.
Swahili: ulimi, a tongue ; ndimi, longes.
77. In Ngala, y is changed into j,-yela, to '
o-n-jela, bring to ine.
78. In Bangi, y changes into z,-lo-yembo, a song;, plur.
n-zembo, songs. (Some Europeans would write njembo).

79. In Lolo and Kongo, f and v are changed into p,-
Lolo: lo-fiko, the liver,; plur. m-piko ; lo-vanzi, the side;
plur. m-panzi. Kongo: lu-vusu, a fibre of cotton; plur.

80. In Swahili, w into b, as u-wau, a plank; plur.

81. In certain cases the nasal induces a euphonic
consonant between itself and a following consonant. In
Kongo, g before y,-yala, to spread;, n-g-yala, a spreading,.
In Bangi, t before s,-lo-sende, a spider; n-t-sende, spiders
(written n-cende). in Kongo also, g before w,-as wana,
to imet, n-g-wana, a meeting. In Bangi and Ngala, b
before w,-as lo-woko, a jerk ;, plur. m-b-woko (Bangi);
wele, to iunidertake ; a-m-bweli, lie undertook for me (Ngala).
In Swahili, y before a vowel,-as uso, a face plur. nyuso.

82. Whilst the nasal is thus the main cause of change in
consonants, its conservative force must not be overlooked.
Dropped consonants are frequently' restored by the nasal;
of course, phonetically changed according to rule. This
effect of the nasal is clearly seen in some Ngombc words,-
matoi ma mbi madi na yogo; ntaka ka ngando njoki e
mbi esi boya, nmy ears are in pain, I cannot hear anything, my'
is quite dead. From this sentence the verb to hear
would seem to be ka, as will be seen if we analyse
n-ta-ka; n is the pronoun I, ta the negative prefix. But
the derivative noun is n-joki, hearing. The nasal thus
restores a consonant dropped in the verb; not only so,
but also the fundamental vowel of the stem.

So from the influence of this nasal we are able to infer
that the verb to hear was originally yoka. Take another
example: Na-ti njoti, I have dreaJmed a dream ; t only is
left of the verb which the form of the noun shews must
have been yota (cf. Bangi lota, Ngala loto). Ngombe has
several verbs which have dropped not only the initial
consonant, but the fundamental vowel; as a rule, however,
the nasal restores both in the derivative noun.

83. A dropped y is thus restored :-
Bangi: lo-ole, a beard; plur. nzole ; original form of sing. lo-yole.
Lolo: 1-ungu, a hoe; ,, njungu ; ,, ,, lo-yungu-
Ngala: lo-embo, a so/,; ,, njembo ; ,, ,, lo-yembo.
Poto : iba, to steal; n-jibi, I have stolen.
Ngombe : ika, to hear; n-joki, a hearing:

84. In Ngala also a dropped s,-a-mo-eni, he saw him ;
but a-n-seni, he saw me; a-m-oki, he heard him; but
a-n-soki, he heard me.

85. In Lolo, the vowel i exerts the same changing
influence as the nasal. L is changed into d,-ji-dongo, a
, .r,, plur. ba-longo ; e-leko, a period, plur. bi-deko.
F is changed into p,-ji-poku, an adherent, plur. ba-foku.
S becomes c (ts),-ji-camba, an armpit, plur. ba-samba. I
also restores dropped consonants,-e-oko, a basket, plur.
bi-boko; ji-bako, direction, plur. b-ako.
In Poto, i has a softening influence on an initial
s,-sono, to write, e-shonelo, pencil.

86. Several other languages also offer examples of the
changing influence exerted by i on a preceding conso-
Kongo: vata, to cultivate, perf. vashidi.
'oto : ata, to r d, ,, achi.
Ngombe: teta, lojWt, ,, techi.

In Kele, when the negative particle ti appears before a
vowel, it is pronounced ch,-a-ti-lue, he does not know,
a-ch-a-luaka, he did not know. In Ngombe also, d is
often pronounced asj before the i of the Perf.-dinda, to sink,
Perf. dinji. In Kongo also, i has a softening influence on
s and z in some districts; shisa becomes shisa, and jiji,
zizi. In the same language, however, i suffixed to 1
changes that letter into d,-sala, to work, sadila, to work

L. Various Phonetic Changes.
87. The final vowel of a word generally elides before
another vowel, though this rule has exceptions in all
languages. The final unaccented vowel when preceding
a consonant is so much affected by preceding and following
letters that its precise value is often difficult to determine,
e being pronounced like i, o like u, and vice versa.
88. J. T. Torrend calls attention to a principle which
causes some apparent irregularities in Bantu. Particles which
in most cases begin with a vowel, or consist of a vowel only,
often take a consonantal sound before them when preceded
by a vowel, as if the consonant were introduced to strengthen
the vowel sound. Thus in Ngala, a-o-eni is frequently
pronounced a-ko-eni, he sawz thee. I have also heard
a-o-keni, as though the necessity is sometimes felt to
strengthen the vowel of the stem; so ba-ko-yasa and
ba-o-kasa for ba-ka-o-asa, tIicy are seeking thee.
89. Very frequently, as we have seen, this introduced
letter represents a dropped consonant, as if when dropped
a consonant leaves behind it some aspiration which is
restrengthened into a consonant in certain cases," generally
when after a prefix, or between two vowels. Some such
reason must be given to account for the fact that the proper
nasal appears introducing the right consonant before the
vowel of the stem that has dropped it. Poto: oka, /ear,
n-joki, I /iard; eka, ca//; m-b-eki, I, .'
90. In some cases, however, the distinctive value of this
aspirate seems to be lost, then through false analogy the
more common euphonic consonant is introduced-oma,
kill, n-jomi, I killed; n-jomi m-b-oma iwali, 1 killed two
killings. The original verb was probably boma.
91. In Kele, the nasal, as a grammatical element, has
almost disappeared. There is ample evidence of its previous
existence, however; thus nouns of the Lo-N Class common

to the Congo languages shew no nasal in the plural on many
nouns. Stems of these nouns, however, which appear in
the singular with an initial vowel, as 1-ongo, a hill, take an
initial consonant in the plural, which has evidently been
induced by the nasal now dropped,---ongo, a h/ill, plur.
f-ongo. Sometimes the nasal appears in the plural, as
loela, copper, plur, mbwela.
92. For the beginner I would sum up the lessons of
this section under three heads :-
(1) Approach the study of a Bantu language by the
analytical method. Accustom yourself to regard the word
not as a fixed whole, but as a compounded form which
may be broken up at will. Tale the words apart and
build them up again until you clearly recognize the stem
and the formative syllables. Learn all the modifying
syllables, both their form and force, and method of usage.
Practise the art of building up words until you can do it
with ease and facility. In a word, seek to acquire the
habit by which the native speaker, without apparent effort,
attaches these syllables in different combinations to the
stem, and produces any possible modifications of the
general idea latent in the stem which he desires to
(2) Learn the language in sentences. Begin with the
noun, but given any noun, form at once its demonstrative
adjective, its pronouns; link up with it a qualifying adjective
and a verb with the proper prefixes ; talk, read, write that
you may think in sentences, and soon it should be difficult
to speak ungrammatically.
(3) Do not learn by rote the forms which analysis has
shewn to result from the iitlr I ... ; of phonetic change, but
rather acquaint yourself thoroughly with the changing
influences of the letters; produce tf/z changes, then you will
find the correct forms rising spontaneously to your lips,
and incorrect forms will be rejected as by instinct.
These points mastered, the remaining difficulties of
acquiring a Bantu language are neither many nor of great


A. On Substantives.

93. We have seen that Substantives were originally
distributed into (I .-.- by their formative prefixes, and
that one of the best preserved of Bantu languages (i.e.,
Tonga) possesses eighteen such prefixes (24); but as some
of these prefixes correspond regularly as plural to certain
prefixes which are singular, by grouping each singular
prefix with its plural into one class, the number of classes
may be reduced to twelve. Neither of the languages here
dealt with agrees with Tonga in possessing (a) the full
number of prefixes, (b) the same forms of them, or (c) the
same correspondences of singular and plural. The following
table exhibits these variations, and also the arrangement
of classes adopted:-

Tonga AKongv Ba Is o/u | Nya'a PoIlo IN Ymbe t oho I Afle S;ahill
Mu-Ba Mu-A Mo-lia lo-a if o-tia MuI-lia 'i/o-Ba it o-Ba oaio Mu-Wa
Mu-Mi Mu-MMi o-ai B-BC Mo-lMi i M o-W.i Mi MMe Bo- lie Mul-Mi
In-in Nasal Nasal Nasal asal Naa Nasal Nasal l Nasal
Li-Ma Di-Ma Li-Ma Ji-Ba Li-MA Li-Mai Li-Ma Li- a Ii-Ba Ji-Ma
Ci-Zi Ki-Yi E-Bi E-Bl E-i E -Hi E-li i 1 E-lii E-Bi Ki-Vi
Bu--MaM U-Ma ao-Ma t oa o-Mai Bo-Ma Bo-a a Io-
Lu-Zin Lu-Tu Lo-N Lo-N Io-N Lo-N ... LN o-L(N) U-N
Ka-T Fi- ... ITo ... -To Si-To Si-To .
Ku-Ma Ku-Ma.o-Ma ... Lo-Ma .. ... ... ... -Ma

95. The three Locative prefixes (P)a-, Ku-, and Mu-,
which form the other three classes in T.. .. are found in
Swahili, also in Kongo, where they appear as Va-, Ku-, and
Mu-. They are dealt with in the chapter on Locatives.
These Locative prefixes, as such, have practically disap-


A. On Substantives.

93. We have seen that Substantives were originally
distributed into (I .-.- by their formative prefixes, and
that one of the best preserved of Bantu languages (i.e.,
Tonga) possesses eighteen such prefixes (24); but as some
of these prefixes correspond regularly as plural to certain
prefixes which are singular, by grouping each singular
prefix with its plural into one class, the number of classes
may be reduced to twelve. Neither of the languages here
dealt with agrees with Tonga in possessing (a) the full
number of prefixes, (b) the same forms of them, or (c) the
same correspondences of singular and plural. The following
table exhibits these variations, and also the arrangement
of classes adopted:-

Tonga AKongv Ba Is o/u | Nya'a PoIlo IN Ymbe t oho I Afle S;ahill
Mu-Ba Mu-A Mo-lia lo-a if o-tia MuI-lia 'i/o-Ba it o-Ba oaio Mu-Wa
Mu-Mi Mu-MMi o-ai B-BC Mo-lMi i M o-W.i Mi MMe Bo- lie Mul-Mi
In-in Nasal Nasal Nasal asal Naa Nasal Nasal l Nasal
Li-Ma Di-Ma Li-Ma Ji-Ba Li-MA Li-Mai Li-Ma Li- a Ii-Ba Ji-Ma
Ci-Zi Ki-Yi E-Bi E-Bl E-i E -Hi E-li i 1 E-lii E-Bi Ki-Vi
Bu--MaM U-Ma ao-Ma t oa o-Mai Bo-Ma Bo-a a Io-
Lu-Zin Lu-Tu Lo-N Lo-N Io-N Lo-N ... LN o-L(N) U-N
Ka-T Fi- ... ITo ... -To Si-To Si-To .
Ku-Ma Ku-Ma.o-Ma ... Lo-Ma .. ... ... ... -Ma

95. The three Locative prefixes (P)a-, Ku-, and Mu-,
which form the other three classes in T.. .. are found in
Swahili, also in Kongo, where they appear as Va-, Ku-, and
Mu-. They are dealt with in the chapter on Locatives.
These Locative prefixes, as such, have practically disap-

peared from the other languages, leaving only faint traces
of their former existence on some Adverbs, Prepositions,
etc. (See Locatives 332-5 ).

96. Under the Mu-Ba Class, I have included the -Ba
Sub-Class found in most languages.

Under the Mu-Mi Class, the Sub-Class W-Bi, found in
Lolo and Kelc.

Under the Bo-Ma Class, the Sub-Class Bo-, found in
several languages, and the Sub-Class U-U, found in Kongo,


97. To this Class belong all nouns which agree in
imposing on their dependent words the same concording
prefixes as the noun mo-tu, person, plur. ba-tu. With

this Class are connected the





n-kaza, plur. a-kazi.
mw-asi, ,, b-asi.
w-aji, ,, b-aji.
mw-ali, ,, b-ali.
mw-ali, ,, b-ali.
mw-ali, ,, b-ali.
mo-hali, ,, ba-hali.
w-ali, ,, b-ai.
mu ke, ,, wa-ke.

two Sub-Classes (r) and (b)

mw-ana, plur. -ana.
mw-ana, ,, b-ana.
w-ana, ,, b-ana.
mw-ana, ,, b-ana.
mw-ana, ,, b-ana.
mw-ana, ,, b-ana.
mo-na, ,, ba-na.
w-ana, ,, b-ana.
mw-ana, ,, w-ana.

m-bundu, plur. a-bundu.
mo-ntamba,,, ba-ntamba.
bo-kwala, ,, ba-kwala.
m-ombo, ,, b-ombo.
m-ombo, ,, b-ombo.
mo-buli, ,, ba-buli.

mu-tumwa, ,, wa-tumwa.

(In Kele, bo-koa, slave, plur. be-koa, is a noun of the
2nd Class.)


Kongo :
Balngi :
Lolo :
P'oto :
Soko :
Kcle :
Swahili :

Kongo :
]Iangi :
Lolo :
Ngala :
Poto :
Ngomi ie
Soko :
Swahili :


99. It will be observed that the plural form of the
Kongo noun mw-ana, r7cld, appears as -ana, the prefix
being dropped. Also in Lolo and Kcle the noun w-aji,
w-ali, wzfe, drops the b of the prefix and cuphonises the o
into w-. Al Iy nouns, both in these and other languages,
now shew a weakened form of the prefix, or have lost it
altogether; hence many nouns cannot be classed by their
own prefixes. IIowever there need be little diiliculty in
apportioning a noun to its proper (lass; the colncording
prefixes which appear on their determinative- words will
always shew the Class to which they belong.

too. Mu- in Kongo and Swahili, also in Ngala in a
few nouns, as mu-ntaka, a female.
Mo- in Bangi, I'oto, Ngombe, and Soko, generally in
Bo- in Lolo and Kele, usually weakening into w- before
vowel stens. In Kele, bo- when the noun begins a
sentence or stands alone; generally o- wlicn following
another word. Boto omwito, onie person, but tosota oto
omwito, we liave called oneperson.

moI. Ba- regularly in Bangi, Ngala, and Ngombme,
sometimes in Poto.
A- regularly in Kongo. In P'oto and Kclc, plural nouns
of this Class take ba- as a prefix when they stand at the
head of a clause; in the midst of a clause the b is usually
In Kongo, the plural of mu-ntu, person, and of mw-ana,
child, sometimes appears as wa-ntu, w-ana.

102. In most languages a number of word are found
without a prefix in the singg, but which regularly require
the concording prefixes of the [st Class. They form their
plur. in ba-, as sanduku, /qr, plur. ba-sanduku.

(r) The names for fati/er and mother.
langi: sango, plur. ba-sango. nyango, plur. ba-nyango.
Lolo: ise, ,, ba-ise. nyango, ,, ba-nyango.
Ngala: ango, ,, b-ango. nyango, ,ba-nyango.
Poto: sango, ,, ba-sango. nyango, ,, ba-nyango.
Ngombc: sango, ,, ba-sango. nyango, ,, ba-nyango.
Soko: haha, ,, ba-haha. iyo, ,, ba-yo.
Kcle: sango, ,, ba-sango. nyango, ,, ba-nyango.
In Kongo, ese, father, is a noun of the Ist and 4th
Classes,-ngwa, mother, a noun of the 2nd or Mu-Mi
In Bangi, these nouns impose on qualifying Adjectives in
the sing. the prefixes proper to the Nasal Class.
104. In several Bantu languages these nouns have
different forms for the several Persons ; the only one of the
Congo languages in which I have evidence of this change
of form is Ngala. When followed by the Possessive
Pronouns of the 2nd Person sing. and plur., the a of the
stem changes intoo,--nyango wa ngai, my mother; nyongo
wau, thy mother ; banyango ba bango, their mothers;
banyongo ba binu, your mothers; Ongo wau, thy father;
ba-ongo ba binu, your fathers.
105. (2) On the Upper River introduced words are
generally put into this Class. In Kongo no regular rule
obtains. Ngala, punda, a horse, plur. ba-punda. Paipai,
th/e awpaw, plur. ba-paipai. Foreign words are forced to
conform to the rules of syllabic formation. Kongo,
vinegar, becomes vineka (g- cannot stand alone; it must
always take n before it). So in Ngala, the English word
blanket becomes bolankete; the vowel o is introduced
because bl cannot stand together. Here, however, the
first syllable bo is the same as the prefix of the Bo-Ma
Class, and is thus taken as the sing. prefix, and the noun is
treated as belonging to the Bo-Ma ( i I ; plur. ma-lankete.
(See also meza, table, in Kongo, from the Portuguese
mesa, which is treated as a plur. noun of the Li-Ma Class
through false analogy with meso, eyes).

io6. (3) In Ngombc, the names of small insects and
animals appear in this Class,-koko, a fowl; ba-koko,
fowls. In Ngala, bengi, a sweet potato; plur. ba-bengi.


107. In Kongo, many personal nouns bear the sing.
prefixes of the other C I .-, but form their plur. in ba-.
The general rule is that these nouns may be treated in the
sing. either as nouns of the ist C I- or as if they were
nouns of the classes of which their prefixes are character-
istic. M-bunji is a noun of either the Ist or 2nd Class in
the sing.; ese, father, of the Ist or 4th. A few nouns in
Bangi-as senga, a species of fisi, e-yanzi, a jigger, are
treated in the sing. as nouns of the Nasal Class ; the plur.
takes ba-.
io8. The nouns which belong to the Mu-Ba Class are
mainly personal; hence animals, when pesonified in native
stories, are treated as belonging to this class.
109. In Ngala, the prefix ba- is often used before
proper names in address-Yoka or Ba-yoka.

2nd or MU-MI CLASS.
iio. Comprises all those nouns which require the same
concording particles as mo-kulu, cord; plur. mi-kulu.
II Sugar can. Il'ari .
Kongo: mu-nse, plur. mi-use. n-tima, plur. n-tima.
Bangi: mo-koko, mi-koko. mo-loko, ,, mi-loko.
Lolo: bo-sungu, ,, be-sungu. bo-loko, ,, be-loko.
Ngala: mo-nkoko, ,, mi-nkoko. mo-tema, ,, mi-tema.
Poto: mo-sungu, ,, mi-sungu. mo-tema, ,, mitema.
Ngombe : mo-ngau, mi-ngau. mo-lema, ,, mi-lema.
Soko : -- mo-tema, ,, me-tema.
Kele : -bo-tema, ,, be-tema.
Swahili: mu-a, ,, mi-wa. mu-tima, ,, mi-tima.
Aloutl. l' i', ven.
Kongo: nua, plur. nua. m-vuvu, plur. im-vuvu.
Bangi: mu-nya, mi-nya. mo-ncisa, ,, mi-ncisa.
Lolo: bo-mua, ,, be-mua. bo-sisa, ,, be-sisa.
Ngala: mo-noko, mi-noko. mu-nsisa, ,, mi-nsisa.
Poto: mo-noko, mi-noko. mo-sisa, ,, mi-sisa.
Ngombc:mo-noko, ,, mi-noko. mo-sisa, ,, mi-sisa.
Soko : mo-nwa, ,, me-nwa. mo-sile, ,, me-sile.
Kele : bo-noko, ,, be-noko.
Swahili : m-shipa, ,, mi-shipa.

In Kelc, li-yolo, s/'ugar cone, plur. ba-yolo, is a noun of
the Li-Ma Class; i-lili, an artery, plur. to-lili, is a noun of
the (S)i-To Class.
i12. As in most Bantu languages, this prefix takes
generally the same form as in the Mu-Ba Class.
Mu- in Kongo contracts into m- and n- before some
stems. (This not being an original nasal, does not exert
the changing ;Il, ..... on following consonants as is
exerted by the nasal proper to the Nasal Class. Hence,
such words a.s n-lele, cl/oi, arc found in this Class (not
Mo- gcncrally in Bangi, Ngala, Poto, and Ngombe;
Mu- in a few words.
Bo- in Lolo and Kele (o in the latter language when
the noun is not at the head of a clause).
113. Mi- in Kongo changing into m- and n- before
some stems. Mi- in all the other languages, except Lolo
and Kcle, which have be-, and Soko me-
114. In Ngala, P'oto, N gombe, and Kele, many nouns
of this Class use the plural form only when a few or a
definite number is spoken of or implied. When used in a
collective sense, the stem lakes the Nasal prefix, and is
treated as a plural noun of that (lass. Ngala-mu-nke,
an ;, mi-nke mi-bale, i,'o nke, eggs. When the
stem bears a nasal, no prefix is added for the collective
form, as mu-nswi, a zair ; plur. mi-nswi; collective nswi.
Kele-bo-ndoindoi, a. bcc,; plur. be-ndoindoi; collective
ndoindoi. When the stem does not bear a nasal, that
prefix is added in Ngala with the usual phonetic effects-
mo-ete, a ctre mi-ete, i-cts; collective n-jete (cf. Kongo,
lu-vusu, a fibre of cotton i plur. tuvusu; collective
115. In 'Poto and Ngombe, the collective form has
almost driven out the plural in mi-, making what might be
regarded as the Sub-Class Mu-N. In Bangi, a few of

these nouns which generally bear the prefixes mo-mi,
having the stem commencing with a nasal, may be heard
without the prefixes, thus, mo-nkoko or nkoko, sugar canc.
Such nouns are then treated as nouns of the Nasal Class;
apparently there is no distinction in the sense in these
two forms. (For Collectives in Bangi, see Li-Ma Class).

116. In Lolo and Kele, there are a number of nouns
in this Class which bear regularly the prefixes w-bi,
though in Lolo they impose the concording particles
proper to the Mu-Mi Class on all dependent words.
Lolo-w-asasu, yazvn; plur. bi-asasu. In Kele the
singular of these nouns takes the prefixes of the Mu-Mi
Class, the plural those of the E-Bi Class-w-atu, plur.
B is a very weak letter in Kcle, and is frequently
dropped, so one hears o-to, person, for bo-to ; wo-ndoindoi
for bo-ndoindoi; y-ombo for bi-ombo, faces. As a general
rule, one may say that vowel stems in other languages of the
Upper River, which take the prefixes proper to the Mu-Mi
Class, will be found in Lolo and Kele bearing the prefixes
w-bi. A few nouns with vowel stems, usually appearing
in the Bu-Ma Class in the other languages, take these
prefixes in Lolo and Kele,-as w-atu, canoc, plur. bi-atu;
Ngala,--bw-atu, plur. m-atu.

117. Comprises all those nouns which impose on
dependent words the same concording prefixes as the
noun n-dako, a /oulse; plur. n-dako.
'ow/. Goal. 'ish.
i" .: n-susu. n-kombo. m-biji.
Hangi: n-coso. n-taba. n-cu.
Lolo : n-susu. n-taba. n-sui.
Ngila: n-susu. n-taba. n-su.
olo : n-koko. n-taba. n-su.
ugomlbe: koko. n-taba. sui.
Sk : koko. meme. sue.
1Kel: koko. m-buli. swi.
Swiiili : kuku. ni-buzi. samaki.

'a'. Pabh. Shame.
Kongo: m-vula. n-jila. n-soni.
Bangi: m-bula. n-zela. n-coni.
Iolo: m-bula. m-boka. n-sonyi.
Ngala: m-bula. n-jela. n-soni.
Poto : m-bula. n-jila. n-soni.
Ngomb c: m-bula. n-jea. soni.
Soko: m-bula. n-dole. soni.
Kele: m-bula. m-boka. soni.
Swahili : m-vua. n-jia.


119. The prefix is m- before b, f, p, and v; n- before the
other consonants. The prefix is the same in both sing. and
120. Before many nouns in Ngombe and Kele the
prefix has disappeared, but in Ngombe traces of its former
existence may be noted in the euphonic letters introduced
before the initial consonant of the stem, as k-boto, soil,
g-bie, garden.
121. When nouns derived from verbs are put into this
Class, the nasal exerts the usual phonetic effects on initial
consonants. Kongo-mona, lo see, m-bona, a seeing;
vunda, a rest, m-punda, a rcstina .
122. There is no difference in the form of the prefixes
borne by the nouns themselves to mark sing, and plur.,
but several of the languages agree in requiring a different
concording prefix on some of their determinatives to mark
Kongo: n-zo -ambote, a god c ous/ : n-zo z-ambote, ,iod houses.
Bangi : n-dako e-lamu, a .o;o house; n-dako li-lamu, s;od /ioises.
Ngombe: n-taba e-pele, a good gatl n-taba ji-pele, good gvals.
Kele: m-buli e-lau, a good gal/; m-buli (b)i-lau, good goals.
So in the other languages.
In Ngombc, nouns like sui, fish, which no longer bear a
'prefix, are often treated as nouns of the Sub-Class -Ba.
124. Some Kele speakers introduce i before the nasal
in the plur.,-ngbaka, or i-ngbaka, council-houses; or
before the stem when the nasal has disappeared,--swi, a
fis ; plur. i-swi.


125. In Bangi and Ngala, some few of these nouns
make a second plur. by prefixing ma- to the noun, thus
the noun bears two prefixes. Bangi-n-daka, a promise;
plur. n-daka and ma-n-daka, promises. Ngala-n-dako,
a house; plur. n-dako, houses; ma-n-dako, building's.
The form in ma- is generally used in a collective sense.

4t/1 or LI-MA CLASS.

126. Comprises all nouns which require the same

concording particles as

Kongo : d-isu, plur. m-eso.
Bangi : 1-iso, ,, m-iso.
Lolo : j-isu, ,, ba-isu.
Ngala : j-i, m-iu.
Poto : 1-isu, ,, m-isu.
Ngombe : 1-isu, ,, n-isu.
Soko : 1-iso, ,, ha-iso.
Kele: 1-iso, ,, ba-iso.
Swahili: ji-cho, ,, ma-cho.
Kongo: e-dionga, plur. ma-dionga.
Bangi: li-kongo, ,, ma-kongo.
Lolo : ji-kongo, ,, ba-kongo.
Ngala : li-kongo, ,, ma-kongo.
Poto : li-kongo, ,, ma-kongo.
Ngombe: li-kongo, ,, ma-kongo.
Soko: li-kunga, ,, ha-kunga.
Kele: li-konga, ,, ba-konga.
Swahili: fumo, ., ma-fumo.

li-kemba, p(lataiz ;


Too Ih.
d-inu, plur. m-eno.
1-ino, ,, m-ino,
j-inu, ba-inu.
j-inu, ,, m-inu.
1-inu, ,, m-inu.
1-inu, ,, m-inu.
1-ino, ,, ha-ino.
1-inyo, ,, ba-inyo.
j ino, ,, m-eno.
di-nkondo, plur. ma-nkondo.
li-ko, ,, ma-ko.
ji-nko, ,, ba-nko.
li-kemba, ,, ma kemba.
li-kondo, ,, ma-kondo.
li-kondo, ,, ma-kondo.
li-bo, ,, ha-bo.
li-kondo, ,, ba-kondo.


128. Di- in Kongo, before stems with an initial vowel
or an original nasal; e- before other stems (di- in some
districts before all stems).
Li- in Bangi ; z- before vowel stems-z-ambi, a matter.
Ji- regularly in Lolo. Li- in Ngala, with a tendency
towards di- before consonants ; j- before vowel stems-j-ala,
a garden.

Li- in Poto and Ngombe, with a tendency towards d-
bcforc vowel stems. Li- in Kele, frequently weakening
before consonantal stems into i-. Li- in Soko. Ji- in Swahili
before monosyllables or vowel stems, otherwise dropped.


129. Ma- in Bangi, Ngala, Poto, and Ngombe before
consonants, m- before vowels.
Ma- in Kongo before consonants ; m- before all vowels
but i; a-i becomes e, as m-eno, tcct/, for ma-inu. So in
In Lolo and Kele, ba- before consonants and the vowel
i, as ba-inu, tc/z ; b- before other vowel stems. Ha- in


13o. To this ( I -. belong all nouns in Kongo which take
the same concording particles as ki-mbi, a hazk,, plur.
yi-mbi. In the Upper River languages, all nouns which
agree in taking the same concording particles, as e-lamba,
clot/, plur. bi-lamba.

Kngo -: -bobo, ph r. -bobo.
]im i : c-beku, ., bi-beku.

Loj : -mcku,
Ngiii : e-beko,
Pot 111.1 lu,
'NloIIiIc : c-banga,

1;mti c-lamnba,
e tau,
Nga~ia; c lamba,
P tau,
e : -sza,

I di (": e-siriea,



plur. bi lamba.
, bi-tau.
, bi-lamba.
,, itau.


ki-ndcnde, plur. yi-ndende.
e-lenge, ,, bi-lenge.

e-lengi, ,, bi-lengi.
e-lengi, ,, i-lengi.
y engec, ,, b-enge.
ki-jana, ,, vi-jana.
"11 qll hofousr.
-yaka, Iplur. -yaka.
e-tutu, ,, bi-tutu.
e tuu, ,, bi-tutu.
e kuka, ,, bi-kuka.
e tutu, ,, bi-tutu. "
e-tutu, ,, bi tutu.
c-tutu, ,, bi-tutu.
e-'utu, ,, bi-tutu.
ki wambaza, vi wambaza,


132. Ki- in Kongo before vowel stems and those
beginning with an original consonant nasal. Before stems
with an initial consonant not protected by this nasal, the
prefix is dropped. E- in all the other Congo languages,
euphonised into y- before vowel stems.
Ki- in Swahili ; ch- before vowel stems.


133. Kongo-yi- (y- before vowels) before those stems
which take a prefix in the sing. ; the other stems take
no prefix.
Bi- in the Upper River languages frequently reduced in
Poto and Kele into i-.
Vi- in Swahili; vy- before vowel stems.

6t/ or BU-MA CLASS.

134. Comprises those nouns which require the same
concording particles as bo-kumbi, a scrzy, plur. ma-kumbi.
Also those abstract nouns which form the sing. in bo- and
have no plur. form ; also the verbal noun, which follows the
same rule. With this class also is included the U-U Cla's
in Kongo, containing abstract nouns which require the
same concording particles as nouns of the Bu-Ma Class.

Kongo : -lungu, plur. ma-lungu.
langi : bw-engo, ,, m-engo.
Ngala : bw-atu, ,, ma-tu.
Poto: w-atu, ,, m-atu.
Ngombe : bw-atu, ,, m-atu.
Soko: w-ato, ,, h-ato.


Konguo: -
1 _: b-ongongo, plur.
Xgala : bo-ngongo,
Poto : bo-ngongo,
Ngombe: bo-ngongo,
Sul, ; b-ondo,

m ongongo.

-ko, plur. ma-ko.

bo-kilo, ,, ma-kilo
bo-kilo, ,, ma-kilo.
bo-kio, ,, ma-kio.
bo-bili, ,, ha-bili.

zayi. plur. -
,, ma-yele.
bo-pasa, ,, ma-pasa.

Nouns found in this Class in the other languages
appear i.- il ,il;. in Lolo and Kele in the Bo-Be Class,
or the W-Bi Sub-Class connected with it. Kele-
bo-ngongo, plur. be-ngongo, brains, wele, wisdom, plur.

136. But a few nouns fall regularly into the Bu-Ma
Class ; in Kongo not half a score, and these take no prefix
in the sing.
In Bangi, Ngala, IPoto, Ngombe, and Soko, bo- before
stems commencing with a consonant. In Poto and Soko,
before initial vowels bo- is weakened into w-; in the other
languages, as a rule, bo- becomes bw- before vowels.

137. This prefix is the same as the ma- of the Li-Ma
Class (for variations see 129). In Ngombe, the gerund
wears the prefix bo- in the sing., but it makes its plural in
ma-,-bina, to dance, bo-bina, dancing, plur. ma-bina; or
by regarding the stem as a noun of the Nasal Class, which
concordsaccordingly,-bo-hema, an inlp'iration, pl ur. hema.
Many nouns which connote an abstract idea have no
plural form.

138. Consists principally of abstract nouns bearing the
prefix u- (w- before vowels) in both sing. and plur. Before
consonants the prefix is usually dropped,-bi, wickedness,;
w-onga, fear.

71/ or LU-ZIN CLASS.
139. Comprises those nouns which require the same
concording particles as lo-lemu, a tongue, plur. n-demu;
with which are included those nouns in Kongo which
require the same concords as lu-kau, a gift, plur. tu-kau.

Tongue. Firewood.
Kongo: lu-bini, plur. tu-bini. lu-nkuni, plur. nkuni.
Bangi: lo-lemu, ,, n-demu. lo-kanzu, ,, n-kanzu.
Lolo : lo-limu, ,, n-dimu. lo-nkoni, ,, nkoni.
Ngala: lo-lemu, ,, n-demu. lo-koi, ,, n-koi.
Poto: lo-limo, ,, n-dimo. lo-nkuni, ,, n-kuni.
Soko : lo-lame, ,, n-dame. -
Kele : lo-lame, ,, n-dame.
Snahili: u-limi, ,, n-dimi. u-kuni, ,, kuni.


141. Lu- in Kongo; lo- generally in the other langu-
ages; u- in Swahili.


142. In all languages m- regularly before b, f, p, v, w;
n- before the usual consonants, with the usual phonetic effect
on consonants and initial vowels.

Ngala, lo-beki, a bowl, m-beki, bowls; lo-jingo, love, plur.
n-jingo; 1-embo, a song n-jembo, song's.

143. In Kongo the Prefix tu- corresponds as plural to
lu-, in many nouns (cf. Herero, Ndonga, Dualla). Some
nouns, however, with the sing. lu- have a collective plural
in the Nasal Class, as lu-nsala, a feather, nsala, feathers.
Other nouns have both plurals, as lu-suki, a hair, tu-suki
a hair or two, n-suki, hair.

144. Quite a number of nouns used in a collective sense
adopt the prefixes lu-tu when a few or a definite number
is spoken of, as ma-kaya, leaves (a plural noun of the Li-
Ma Class), lu-kaya, a leaf tu-kaya, aleafortwo. This use
of lu-tu corresponds to Ngala, Poto, and Ngombe use of

8t/ or SI-TO CLASS.

145. Found in ILolo, Poto, Soko, and Kele. The sing.
prefix of this Class in most known Bantu languages is ka-;
in these Congo languages si- generally weakened into i-.
Contains those nouns which require the same concording
particles as (s)i-kwaka, boot, plur. to-kwaka.
Vith this Class is connected those diminutive nouns in
Kongo which form the sing. with the prefix fi-, with no
corresponding plur. (Compare, however, Nywema, fi-ulu,
a little bird, plur. tu-fulu).
Bird. Bat.
Lolo: i-fulu, plur. to-fulu. i-vuki, plur. to-fuki.
Poto : i-fulu, ,, to-fulu. i-fuki, ,, to-fuki.
Soko: i-soso, plur. to-soso.
Kele: i-kulu, ,, to-kulu.


147. In the several languages the sing. prefix is
usually i- before consonants. In Kele pronounced sh-
before vowel stems, as shondo, anr a re; shuma, fruit. In
Lolo the plur. prefix is sometimes co- before vowel stems.
148. Kongo has not a single stem peculiar to this Class;
fi-is a diminutive prefix applied to the stems of nouns
which normally appear in the other Classes.
149. Kele makes its nouns diminutive by introducing
the roots into this Class, the general rule being to repeat
the first syllable of the root before applying the prefixes,-
bo-kenge, a town, (s)i-kekenge, a village, mboka, a road,
(s)imbomboka, a small pat/i.
Nouns which properly belong to this Class are made
diminutive by the repetition of the first syllable of the
root,-to-sandu, trees, to-sasandu, small trees. Lolo
follows the same rule,-mpo, a rat, i-mpompo, a sima/l/ rat.


9th or KU-MA CLASS.

150. To this Class belong three nouns in Kongo
having the above prefixes, also the Infinitive noun which
originally bore the prefix ku- (now dropped), in Swahili the
Infinitive noun in ku,- also the noun ma-hali,p/aces, which
in that language has a special set of prefixes. In Bangi
and Ngala, two nouns with the sing. prefix lo-, plur. ma-.

1 /,in.
KonLo: k-oko, plur. m oko. ku-lu, plui. ma-lu.
Bangi: lo-boko, ,, ma-boko. lo kolo, ,, ma-kolo.
Ngala: lo-boko, ,, ma-boko. lo-kuln, ,, ma-kulu.
The other Kongo noun is ku-tu, an cir, plur. ma-tu.

B. Etymology.

152. I have so far attempted no etymologies though the
subject is a very tempting one, especially so with regard to
the noun prefixes.
What were the original forms and meanings of those
words which have now become mere classifying prefixes ?
The answer to this question would show on what principle
gender in Bantu is based, and give an intelligent notion
why a noun falls into one class rather than another.
I53. J. T. Torrend thinks the division of Bantu nouns
was based mainly on the degree of unity and consistency
of the objects of which they are the names ; as determined
by their natural position, shape, their proper notions, effects,
relative strength, etc. A sufficiently vague classification,
but as near as we can get, maybe, in the present state of
knowledge of Bantu languages.
154. It is only in languages that have a long literary
history that such words can be traced historically and with
a high degree of certainty. Thus, in order to prove that
the adverbial suffix -ly in /t n-/', rcal-ly, etc., is only another
form of the independent adjective like, it is necessary to
trace it through Anglo-Saxon into Mcoso-Gothic-the oldest

Germanic dialect. As Bantu peoples have never expressed
their languages in i ithn, it is impossible thus to trace these
155. Help on this point can come from two sources
(1) A comparison of the words bearing one prefix may
shew an 111.. 1 in,-: notion, which may give some clue to
their grouping.
(2) The present use of the prefixes in noun derivation
may indicate something of their original meaning.
156. Thus J. T. Torrend thinks the classifier li- is the
naked form of the verb lia, to cat. (Kongo, dia, Ngala, ja,
Ngombe, ya; Bangi, Lolo, and Poto, le).
He bases this conclusion on a comparison of the nouns
which bear the prefix li-. He finds in most languages the
names of fruits, eggs, etc. ; the names for teeth, and stone
used for grinding food, etc., so of many nouns (as the name
for bone) which denote strength as the result of assimilation,
etc. ; all bearing this prefix.
But many of the nouns he relies upon do not bear the
prefix li- in the Congo languages at all; they appear in quite
different classes. In Lolo, the word for ego is bo-keli;
Ngala and Poto, mu-nke; the word for bone in Kongo is
visi; Bangi, lo-nkwa; Ngala, mo-nkua. So the word for
sun in Kongo is n-tangwa; in Ngala, mu-nyele, and so on.
But the writer goes on to say;-" Other nouns are more
probably related to the element le, long, tall, etc. (Kongo,
anda, Bangi, sanda, Lolo, tali, Ngala and Poto, lai,
Ngombe, yai), and others again to li, of lila, to produce a
sound." (Kongo, dila, Ngombe, yea, Bangi, Lolo, Ngala,
and Poto, lela).
157. Thus it would seem highly probable that these
prefixes cannot be traced back to one word, but that the
large class of nouns which bear the prefix li- is made up of
a number of smaller groups, which each gathered about a
different prefix word, so that li may be all that survives of
a prefix word which gathered a group of nouns all having

some relation to the general notion of cating, and of another
which attracted others having some relation to the idea of
lcZngtt, and of another which grouped some referring to the
notion of sound, and so on. On the other liand, of course,
it is quite possible that the li of lia, to eat, and lila, to cry,
may come from the same original root.

158. The fact that the same stems appear, -bearing
different prefixes in the different languages, shews that words
have adopted them from other causes as well as that of
meaning; in Ngombe, the principle of false ..... !.. is now
at work. In common with other languages, Ngombe treats
foreign words, whose first syllable cannot be regarded as a
prefix, as roots, putting them into the Mu-Ba Class. Many
nouns which originally bore the prefix nasal have lost this,
and are now frequently treated as roots, and thus words
like sui, fis/, make a plur. in ba-.
Hence etymologies based on general meaning cannot be
regarded as at all certain, as one may see if in English one
tried to shew the meaning of the suffix -cdon from a
comparison of the nouns that bear it.

159. The same difficulty meets us when we consider the
present use made of the prefixes in noun derivation; ka- in
most languages has a diminutive meaning, as in Tonga, mu-
lilo, afire, ka-lilo, a match; but in Hlcrero ru- has this force;
in the Congo languages, Lolo and Poto, i- is diminutive,-
as Lolo, i-mpompo, a little rat, Poto, i-somisomi, a drizz.lino.
rain. Kongo has the ka- prefix, but uses ki- as a diminutive
prefix, as ngulu, a pig;', ki-:. .!., a little i.'; (ki-
also forms another derivative, signifying the rights, etc.,
appertaining to an office, etc., as .:-., .. .I :-docto r,'- -.- a
a doctor'sfc). Fi- is also diminutive in Kono, as di-kondo,
a plantain, fi-dikondo, a little plantain' Strange to say,
though, Ngombe uses the prefixes of the -Ba or Personal
Class to form diminutives,--as *-.'.., a o, mo-ediba, a
'razin pdle, plur. ba-ediba ; a far away depart ure from the
original i. if as Kolbe says, the prefix mu- -conzys
Ike idea, of socmt//tini up/>rmg!/ / Bangi and Ngala place the

particle mwa before a noun to make it diminutive (probably
an abbreviation of mwana, a child). I have heard in Ngala,
mwa-elengi mwangai, my small boy ', in this case used as
a prefix. Thus Ngala may be going on to form a new prefix
Again, in Kongo, the prefix lu- has a separating individ-
ualising force-as nsuki, /air, lusuki, a hair, plur. tusuki.
In Ngala, mo- has this force-mo-ete, a tree, mi-ete mibali,
two trees; njete, trees. So in Poto and Ngombe. This
supports Torrend's view that mu- is related to mue, one, but
why lu- in Kongo ?

160. Altogether it seems that a satisfactory etymology
of these prefixes will not be obtained (if even then) until
not only the laws which govern phonetic change between
the many Bantu languages are more fully known, but also the
subtle preferences which have led to the same stems
appearing in different classes in the several languages.

0. The Article.

161. Found in Kongo only. Consists of three particles,
a, e, and o, distributed as follows :
1, o a
2, 0 e
3, 5, 8, e e
4, e o
6, 7, 9, o o
The Article in Kongo gives more or less definiteness to
the noun. It indicates that it has been previously spoken
of, or it is a case in point, or in some way well known;
but when the article is absent, the omission specially marks
the indefiniteness of the noun. (Bcntley's Appendix
p. 995. For methods of usage see that Appendix.)
162. For one method of i.[.1. ; the place of the
article in Bangi and Ngala see (296).

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