Your Very First steps in Chichewa - Combination of subject (personal pronoun or noun) and verb in the sentence Print

a) personal pronoun and verb

Personal pronouns proper are: ine, iwe, iye, ife, inu, iwo.
In combination with verbs they become pre-fixes that look differently.

ndikupita (I am going)
ukuyimba (you are singing)
akusewera (he/she is playing)
mukuyankhula (you are talking)
tikuba (we are stealing)
akumanga (they are building)

personal pronouns proper can be added for emphasis.

Ine ndikupita
Iwo akumanga

b) noun and verb

The noun  and the verb are coordinated: the prefix belonging to the noun is repeated as prefix of the verb.

Amuna akuyimba (The men are singing)
Chipatso chikugwa (The fruit is falling)

How do we know the prefix that should be used?

In all Bantu languages, including Chichewa (or Chinyanja) the nouns are divided into a number of classes. Each class has its own rule for making a noun plural, which means that the nouns of each class have their own distinctive prefix. Here are some examples: 

class of persons etc.
mwamuna - amuna (man - men) mwamuna akuyimba  -  amuna akuyimba
mnyamata - anyamata (boy - boys) mnyamata akuyimba - anyamata akuyimba
mtsikana - atsikana (girl - girls) mtsikana akuyimba - atsikana akuyimba
munthu - anthu (person - persons)

chi-zi class
chipatso - zipatso (fruit - fruits) chipatso chikugwa - zipatso zikugwa
chithunzi - zithunzi (photo - photo's) chithunzi chikugwa - zithunzi zikugwa

i-zi class
ng'ombe - ng'ombe (cow-cows) ng'ombe ikuyenda - ng'ombe zikuyenda
nyumba - nyumba (house-houses) nyumba ikugwa - nyumba zikugwa
nyimbo - nyimbo (song-songs) nyimbo ikuyimbidwa - nyimbo zikuyimbidwa (-yimbidwa = to be sung)
nkhuku - nkhuku (hen-hens) nkhuku ikukonda mpunga - nkhuku zikukonda
mpunga (-konda = to love; mpunga = rice)
ndime - ndime (verse-verses)
njinga - njinga (bicycle-bicycles)

li-ma class
tsiku- masiku (day-days) tsiku ikuyamba - masiku akuyamba (-yamba = to begin)
galimoto - magalimoto (car-cars)
dziko - maiko (country-countries)

u-i class
mpando - mipando (chair-chairs) mpando ukugwa - mipando ikugwa
mpingo - mipingo (church-churches)
mwendo - miyendo (leg-legs)
moyo - miyoyo (life - lives)

kuyimba (singing) kuyimba kukuyamba

Assignment: This is a text from the Bible, John 3: 16. Look at every word, write down its meaning and grammatical definition:

‘Mulungu amakonda dziko la pansi kotero, kuti anapatsa Mwana wake wobadwa
yekha, kuti yense wakhulupirira Iye asatayike, koma akhale nao moyo

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