Your Very First steps in Chichewa - The Usage of Verbs Print

Verbs in Chichewa have one, two or more syllables. The infinitive (form of the verb independent of its function in the sentence) is always indicated by: ‘ku’. For expediency’s sake in the following survey I have replaced ‘ku’ by a hyphen:

-dya (to eat)
-ba (to steal)
-gwira (to grasp)
-lakwa (to err, make mistake)
-gula (to buy)
-sewera (to play)
-khulupirira (to believe)

When Verbs are used in a sentence they become a bit different from the infinitive form. A syllable is added, either as (a) a prefix, or (b) an infix, or (c) a suffix.

a) prefixes

Prefixes are coordinated with the Subject of the sentence. The Subject is either a personal pronoun or a noun.

-subject is  a personal pronoun:

ndikudya (I am eating)
mukulakwa (you are making a mistake)

-subject is a noun:
zipatso zikugwa (the fruits are falling)
ng'ombe ikuyenda (the cow is walking)

b) infixes

There are two kinds of infixes that are places between the subject-prefix and the stem of the verb:

-infixes of the tenses

present tense: (activity) Tikupita (We are going)
present tense: (habit) Timapita (We go)
past tense: Tinapita (or: Tidapita) (We went)
future tense:  Tidzapita ( We will go)

-infixes of the direct object

If the direct object refers to a person or persons, the following syllables are infixed:
ndi = I, u = you, mu = he/she, ti = us/we, ku = you (plural), wa = they.

Anandipatsa ndalama (He gave me money)
Tikumulanga (We are punishing him)
Mudzawaona (You will see them)

Mind: If the infix ‘ku’ is used the verb is lengthened by adding the suffix ‘ni’.

adzakuonani (He will see you)

If the direct object refers to things, an infix`is used that belongs to the noun-class of that thing.

Anaimanga (He built it ... nyumba)
Ndimazidya (I eat them ... zipatso)
Ndikuziona (I see them ... zithunzi)

Mind: This direct object infix is always placed immediately before the stem of the verb.

c) suffixes

In this case there are changes in the end of the verb. These changes change the meaning of the verb. Examples:

-ona (to see)                          -onetsa (to show)
-gula (to buy)                       -gulitsa (to sell)
-gwira ntchito (to work)       -gwiritsa ntchito (to use)
-yenda (to walk)                    -yendetsa (to drive)

Assignment: This is the Apostolic Creed. Try to find the  verbs and define them.

‘Ndikhulupirira Mulungu Atate wa mphamvu zonse, wakulenga wa za kumwamba
ndi za pansi.

Ndikhulupirira Yesu Khristu, Mwana wake wobadwa yekha, Ambuyathu amene
anapatsidwa ndi Mzimu Woyera, nabadwa ndi Mariya namwaliyo, nasautsidwa
kwa Pontio Pilato; napachikidwa pa mtanda, nafa, naikidwa m'manda,
natsikira kwa akufa; tsiku la chitatu anaukanso kwa imfa, nakwera ku
mwamba, nakhala pa dzanja lamanja la Mulungu Atate wa mphamvu zonse,
kudzera komweko adzadza kudzaweruza anthu a moyo ndi akufa.

Ndikhulupirira Mzimu Woyera.

Ndikhulupirira Mpingo wa Mulungu woyera wa kwa anthu onse,
chiyanjano cha oyera mtima, kukhululukira kwa machimo, kuukanso kwa
thupi, ndi moyo wosatha.

Amen’.

 

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