At the insistent request of some English-speaking visitors, I was forced to translate this lexicon from French to English. It’s a colossal job that took me a lot of time, I applied myself and tried to do my best. Despite this, since English is not my usual language, there could be some translation errors here and there. If you find any, do not hesitate to report them to me by writing to me through the contact page of this website.
Thank you in advance !
INTRODUCTION TO KIKONGO : GRAMMAR LESSON (SECOND PART).
The Kikongo uses all the letters of the Roman alphabet, except the letters “q”, “r” and “x” which are unusual, even if the letter “r” may appear in some “Lari” words.
In Kikongo the “u” is pronounced “oo”, the “s” is pronounced “ss” regardless of its position in the word and the “g” is pronounced “gg” when preceded by the letter “n” and “ghe” if this is not the case and this only when the following letter is the vowel “a”, “e” or “o”, if the following letter is the vowel “i” or “u”, the “g” is pronounced “gg”.
The letters “y” and “w” which are used as vowels in Kikongo can also become consonants when they are at the beginning of the word or when they are preceded by the letters “n” and “m” respectively.
1.3.8. Particular forms of conjugation :
220.127.116.11. Conjugation in the reflexive form :
To transform a transitive verb into a pronominal verb that allows the action of the verb to be applied to the subject itself, the reflection indicator “ki” is inserted between the prefix “ku” of the verb and its radical, the conjugation of the verb thus obtained at any tense uses exclusively the formula “to be in the process of”.
Example : the verb “kutala” (to look) which becomes “kukitala” (to look at oneself) and whose conjugation to the present tense is :
– (mono) ngieti (ku)kitala : I am looking at myself
– (ngeye) weti (ku)kitala : you are looking at yourself
– (yandi) weti (ku)kitala : he (she) is looking at himself (herself)
– (kima) kieti (ku)kitala : it is looking at itself
– (beto) tweti (ku)kitala : we are looking at ourself
– (beno) lweti (ku)kitala : you are looking at yourself
– (bawu) beti (ku)kitala : they are looking at themself
– (bima) bieti (ku)kitala : they are looking at themself
Note : in this conjugation, the prefix of the infinitive “ku” can remain attached or not to the radical “kitala” of the verb depending on what we want to express.
18.104.22.168. Conjugation of the form of anticipation “already” or “acting in advance”:
To indicate that the action of the verb is a prerequisite and that it has already been accomplished, this verb is modified by inserting the anteriority indicator “ki” between the infinitive prefix “ku” and the radical of the verb, then by modifying the suffix according to the group to which this verb belongs (see 22.214.171.124.1.).
Below are some verbs transformed according to their group and their conjugation in the immediate present tense :
– “kubakisa” (to understand) becomes “kukibakisila” and is conjugated “nikibakisidi”
– “kuzimbakana” (to forget) becomes “kukizimbakanana” and is conjugated “wukizimbakanane”
– “kuzola” (to like, to love, to want) becomes “kukizodila” and is conjugated “wakizolele”
– “kukoma” (to hammer) becomes “kukikomina” and is conjugated “nikikomenene”
– “kudia” (to eat) becomes “kukidila” and is conjugated “yikidididi”
– “kubua” (to fall) becomes “kukibuila” and is conjugated “tukibuididi”
– “kunua” (to drink) becomes “kukinuina” and is conjugated “wukinuinini”
– “kutambula” (to accept) becomes “kukitambudila” and is conjugated “bakitambudidi”
– “kusala” (to work) becomes “kukisadila” and is conjugated “tukisadidi”
– “kusala” (to stay) becomes“kukisidila” and is conjugated “wakisididi”
– “kuvana” (to give) becomes “kukivanina” and is conjugated “lukiveninini”
– “kuzaba” (to know) becomes “kukizabila” and is conjugated “nikizabidi”
– “kukondua” (to lack) becomes “kukikondulua” and is conjugated “nikikondololo”
– “kutengama” (to bend) becomes “kukitengamana” and is conjugated “wukitengamanane”
– “kuyema” (to suck, to feed) becomes “kukiyemina” and is conjugated “nikiyemenene”
– “kuzokula” (to perforate) becomes “kukizokudila” and is conjugated “tukizokolele”
– “kuzokuna” (to peel) becomes “kukizokunina” and is conjugated “bakizokonene”
– “kuenda” (to leave) becomes “kukiyendila” and is conjugated : wukiyendele
– “kumona” (to see) becomes “kukimonina” and is conjugated : tukimuenene
Example 1. Conjugation of the verb “kukidila” from “kudia” in the immediate present tense :
– (mono) yiki/niki-dididi : I have already eaten
– (ngeye) wukidididi : you have already eaten
– (yandi) wukidididi : he (she) has already eaten
– (kima) kikidididi : it has already eaten
– (beto) tukidididi : we have already eaten
– (beno) lukidididi : you have already eaten
– (bawu) bakidididi : they have already eaten
– (bima) bikidididi : they have already eaten
Example 2. Conjugation of the verb “kukidila” from “kudia” in the imperative mood :
– wukidila : eat first
– tukidileno : let’s eat first
– lukidileno : eat first
126.96.36.199. Conjugation of the negative form “do not… ” (“ka… ko”):
To deny the action of the verb, the expression used in the affirmative conjugation is preceded by “ka” and ended by “ko”, which we illustrate in the following few examples concerning the conjugation of the verb “kudia”:
Example 1. The negative form of the present tense :
– (mono) ka ngieti dia ko : I am not eating
– (ngeye) ka weti dia ko : you are not eating
– (yandi) ka keti dia ko : he (she) is not eating
– (kima) ka kieti dia ko : it is not eating
– (beto) ka tweti dia ko : we are not eating
– (beno) ka lweti dia ko : you are not eating
– (bawu) ka beti dia ko : they are not eating
– (bima) ka bieti dia ko : they are not eating
Example 2. The negative form of the immediate present tense :
– (mono) ka ndidi ko : I didn’t just eat
– (ngeye) ka wudidi ko (kudidi ko) : you didn’t just eat
– (yandi) ka didi ko : he (she) didn’t just eat
– (kima) ka kididi ko : it didn’t just eat
– (beto) ka tudidi ko : we didn’t just eat
– (beno) ka ludidi ko : you didn’t just eat
– (bawu) ka badidi ko : they didn’t just eat
– (bima) ka bididi ko : they didn’t just eat
Example 3. The negative form in the imperative mood :
– kudie ko (ka wudie ko) : don’t eat
– ka tudie ko : let us not eat!
– ka ludie ko : don’t eat
188.8.131.52. Conjugation of the form “not yet”:
To indicate that an action is not yet completed, the conjugation is done with the same construction as the negative form by using the auxiliary “kuteka” (to do first), which gives the following example for the present conjugation in the indicative mood :
– (mono) ka natekele dia ko : I haven’t eaten yet
– (ngeye) ka watekele dia ko : you haven’t eaten yet
– (yandi) ka katekele dia ko : he (she) hasn’t eaten yet
– (kima) ka kiatekele dia ko it hasn’t eaten yet
– (beto) ka tuatekele dia ko : we haven’t eaten yet
– (beno) ka luatekela dia ko : you haven’t eaten yet
– (bawu) ka batekele dia ko : they haven’t eaten yet
– (bima) ka biatekele dia ko : they haven’t eaten yet
- PRONOUNS, ADVERBS, PREPOSITIONS AND CONJUNCTIONS.
2.1. Personal pronouns :
The kikongo personal pronouns are the same ones that are used as subjects, direct or indirect object complements, these pronouns are :
– mono/meno/monu/munu : I, me, myself
– ngeye/ngeyi/nge : you, yourself
– yandi : he (she, it), himself (herself, itself)
– beto/betu/heto/yeto : we, ourselves
– beno/benu/heno/yeno : you, yourselves
– bawu/hawu : they, them, themselves
2.2. Possessive pronouns :
To indicate a possessive pronoun, the personal pronoun of the possessor is preceded by a possession conjunction, which is therefore interposed between the possessed subject or object and the personal pronoun that indicates the possessor, we then obtain the following formula:
(subject/object possessed) + (conjunction of possession) + (possessing or personal pronoun of the possessor).
– my (mine): nkento wa mono (my wife)
– your (yours): nzo ya ngeye (your house)
– his (his), her (hers), its (its) : kitunga kia yandi (his basket, her basket, its basket)
– our (ours): diambu dia beto (our concern)
– your (yours): lupangu lua beno (your parcel)
– their (theirs): buzoba bua bawu (their idiocy)
The above formula is a theoretical formula, because in practice, a contraction is made between the possession conjunction and the possessor’s personal pronoun when it is used in place of the possessor. This contraction is done by replacing the terminal letter “a” of the conjunction by the contracted personal pronoun of the possessor.
Below are the different personal pronouns contracted according to the owner with the corresponding examples:
– ame/ani/ama : my (mine): nkento wame/wani (my wife)
– aku : your (yours): nzo yaku (your house)
– andi : his (his), her (hers), its (its): kitunga kiandi (his basket, her basket, its basket)
– eto : our (ours): diambu dieto (our concern)
– eno : your (yours): lupangu lueno (your parcel)
– awu : their (theirs): buzoba buawu (their idiocy)
The conjunctions used between the possessed subject or object and the personal pronoun of the possessor are the following conjunctions :
– in the singular : wa, ya, kia, kua, dia, dia, dia, lua, bua.
– in the plural : ba, za, bia, ma, mia, lua, bua.
The choice between one or the other conjunction depends on the syllable that comes before the possessed subject or object. When the subject to whom the possession relates is a human being, the conjunctions “wa” in the singular and “ba” in the plural are used, the other conjunctions refer to everything that is not human, except the conjunction “bua” which refers only to abstract things such as qualifiers or behaviours.
2.3. Demonstrative pronouns :
As a general rule, the demonstrative pronoun depends on the beginning of the word to which it refers.
Below, the list of demonstrative pronouns with their different translations as well as their variants corresponding to the different classes of words that can be designated:
– this : di/edi, ma/ema, ki/eki, bi/ebi, yi/eyi, zi/ezi, wu/ewu, mi/emi, ba/eba, lu/elu, bu/ebu
– this : di/edi, ki/eki, yi/eyi, wu/ewu, lu/elu, bu/ebu
– this : di, ki, yi, wu, lu
– these : ma, bi, zi, mi, ba
– this one, that one : dio/dina, kio/kina, yo/yuna, wo/wuna, lo/luna, bo/buna
– this : diadi, kiaki, yayi, wawu, lualu, buabu
– that : diodio, kiokio, yoyo, wowo, lolo, bobo
– the one : ndioyo, ndondo, ndiona, ndiena, ndiuna, nduna
– those : mo, bio, zo, mio, bo
– these ones : mami, biabi, zazi, miami, buabu
– those ones : momo, biobio, zozo, miomio, bobo
– this one : diadi/diawudi, kiaki/kiawuki, yayi/yawuyi, wawu/wawuwu, lualu/luawulu, buabu/buawubu
– these ones : mama/mawuma, biabi/biawubi, zazi/zawuzi, miami/miawumi, baba/bawuba
– that one : dina/diawudina, kina/kiawukina, yina/yawuyina, wuna/wawuwuna, luna/luawuluna, buna/buawubuna
– those ones : mana/mawumana, bina/biawubina, zina/zawuzina, mina/miawumina, bana/bawubana
2.4. Adverbs :
– where : ku (ou kua)
– where ?: kue ? nkia kuma ?
– when : mu ntangu
– when ?: nkia (ntangu, lumbu, …) ?
– how ?: bueyi ?
– how much/many ?: (zi, bi, ma, mi, ba, …)kua ?
– here : vava, gaga, eva, ega, ku/eku, kuaku, kuawuku
– there, over there : kuo/kuna, kuokuo, kuawukuna, kuawukuo
– evreywhere : kuakuo, kuakuanso, kuakonsono/kuawonsono
– since : tuka…
– already : teka
– then : bosi
– very : beni
– before : ntete
– long time : ntama
– only : kua
– standing : ntela
– before : buntete
Come here: yiza eva, wiza vava, wiza kuawuku
Sleep over there : lambila kuna
When I came…: mu ntangu yinayizidi …
When did you arrive ? : nkia ntangu luekidingi? (ou nkia ntangu wayizi luakila?)
Where did you go ? : kue wayele ? ou nkia kuma wayele?
– to : ku, kua, kue, kuna
– in/into : ku, mu
– of : na, ya, wa
– since then : tuka
– on : ga/va zulu
– under : ku nsi ya
– according to : bonso bu…
– for : mu
– with : ye
– after : ku manima
– without : (wa)kani, walembo
– except: katula
– until : te ye / ti na
– between : mu kati dia/kia/…
– concerning : mu mo matadidi
– behind : ku manima
– before : ku ntuala
– during : mu ntangu ya
– as : bonso bu
– at : kua/kue
– towards : kua/kue
– then : idina
– finally : ku(na) nsuka
– first : ku(a)/bu(a) ntete
– before : ntete
– because : mu diambu dia
– despite : mpeleko
– towards : ku matadidi
– by : mu (nzila ya)
2.6. Conjunctions :
– and : na, ye
– because : kadi
– when : bu
– but : kansi
– that : nde
– that : ti
– that : vo
– that : vo
– according to : landila
– if : keti
Some examples of pronouns, adverbs, prepositions and derived expressions :
– akulu : all, all together, in totality
– ambo : and (as opposed to or compared to)
– ankaka : else, other, another
– ansoni : all, all together, in totality
– beni : very
– bidi : several, multiple
– bisi : those of (place)
– bonso : like, similarly
– bosi : then
– bosi diaka : as well as
– buawubu : now
– bueyi ? : how? in what way?
– bungu : because, for that
– diaka : again, still, more
– djekabo : thus, therefore
– ebu : like this
– evo : or, either
– funa : so much, full of, several
– ibuna : that’s how it is
– idina : that’s why, so
– ina : that
– ingi : many, a lot
– isa vo : that’s to say, i. e.
– fioti : little, few, a bit
– kaka : only
– kala : already, long time
– kani : negation, no, not to, never, without
– kani kima : nothing
– keti : if
– kibeni : self, really
– kidi mana : so that
– kidi vo : so that
– kikilu : really
– kima kani : nothing
– kima nkatu : nothing
– kimana : so that
– ko : not
– ko : really, certainely
– kolo : long time
– konso : each, every
– kua : at, among
– kua : only
– kua nda : far away
– kuandi : only
– kuanka : elsewhere
– kudi : as for
– kulu : all, wholly, in full
– kuma : why
– (kuma) kua nkaka : elsewhere
– landa : afterwards, after, after which
– landila : according to, depending on
– malembe : slowly, gently
– mbidi : so much, too much
– mbo(ki) : so, then
– mboki (mboko) : so that
– mpamba : useless, unimportant, without anything
– mpamba-mpamba : unnecessarily
– mpasi vo : so that
– mpe : also
– mpeleko : despite, even if, although, notwithstanding
– mpila : full, very, very different
– mua : about, a little, some, a few
– muanki : although, even if
– mvimba : whole, full
– na : to,in, into, with
– nanga : maybe
– nani : who
– ndaki (vo) : so that
– ndiki (vo) : so that
– nga(nu) : otherwise
– ngana : others
– ngati (vo) : so that, for fear that, it may be that
– ngatu (vo) : so that, for fear that, it may be that
– nkaka : else, other, another
– nkati : really
– nkatika : really, quite, entirely
– nkatu : negation, no, not to, never, without
– nki : what, which
– nkia : what, which
– nkia kima ? : which one ?
– nkiongo(no) : while
– nkutu : even, by the way
– nseke : before
– nsualu : quick, quickly
– ntama : long time
– onso : every, all
– onsono : all together, in totality
– pele : not, negation
– pembeni : near, close, nearby, next door, aside
– pene-pene : near, close
– teka : first, beforehand, already, before, previously
– tekela : before
– ti : until
– toma : well
– vika : first, beforehand
– vo : if
– zimunina : late, afterwards, finally, lastly
- QUALIFYING ADJECTIVES.
As a general rule, to indicate a qualifying adjective, the attribute that qualifies the subject is preceded by a conjunction that means “of”, in other words, “having the quality of”.
The conjunction used depends on the beginning of the word representing the subject to which the attribute refers. Below, the lists of the different word beginnings with the corresponding conjunctions, we can classify them into three categories:
1) Words beginning with the syllable :
– “di” use the conjunction “dia” in the singular that turns into “ma” in the plural.
Example: diki “dia” bola which gives the plural maki “ma” bola to mean : a () rotten egg (s)
– “di” use the conjunction “dia” in the singular that turns into “ma” in the plural.
Example : dinu “dia” bola which gives the plural meno “ma” bola to mean : a () decayed tooth (teeth)
– “ki” use the conjunction “kia” in the singular that turns into “bia” in the plural.
Example : kitambala “kia” mpembe which gives the plural bitambala “bia” mpembe to mean : a () white foulard(s)
– “mu” use the conjunction “wa” in the singular that turns into “mia” in the plural.
Example : muinda “wa” mpa which gives the plural minda “mia” mpa to mean : a () new lamp(s)
– “ku” use the conjunction “kua” in the singular that turns into “ma” in the plural.
Example : kulu “kua” mvindu which gives the plural malu “ma” mvindu to mean : a () dirty foot (feet)
– “ko” use the conjunction “kua” in the singular that turns into “ma” in the plural.
Example : koko “kua” mvindu which gives the plural moko “ma” mvindu to mean : a () dirty hand(s)
– “lu” use the conjunction “lua” in the singular that turns into “ma” in the plural when that exists.
Example 1 : lupangu “lua” nene which gives the plural mapangu “ma” nene to mean : a () large parcel(s)
Example 2 : luzingu “lua” mbote which means a good life, this word is only used in the singular
– “tu” use the conjunction “tua” in the singular, there is no corresponding conjunction in the plural.
Example : tusevo “tua” kiese which means a happy laugh
– “bu” use the conjunction “bua” which is used only in the singular.
Example : bukolo “bua” yuku which means an usual disobedience
2) Words beginning with the letter “n” or the letter “m” and whose second letter is a consonant, in which case words beginning with the letter :
– “m” use the conjunction “wa” in the singular that turns into “mia” in the plural.
Example: mvu “wa” mpasi which gives in the plural mimvu/mvu “mia” mpasi to mean : a () difficult year(s)
– “m” use the conjunction “ya” in the singular that turns into “za” in the plural.
Example : mbuata “ya” mona which gives the plural (zi)mbuata “za” mona to mean : a () new bottle(s)
– “n” use the conjunction “wa” in the singular that turns into “mia” in the plural.
Example : nkunga “wa” kiese which gives the plural minkunga/nkunga “mia” kiese to mean : a () happy song(s)
– “n” use the conjunction “ya” in the singular that turns into “za” in the plural.
Example : nsusu “ya” mpembe which gives the plural (zi)nsusu “za” mpembe to mean : a () white hen(s)
3) In the particular case where the subject designates a human being, we will always use the conjunction “wa” for the singular and “ba” for the plural.
Example 1: muana “wa” mbote which gives in the plural bana “ba” mbote to mean a () pleasant child (s)
Example 2: nkento “wa” mbote which gives in the plural bakento “ba” mbote to mean a () pleasant woman (women)
The classification of words presented here has been established empirically by working on my memory, so it is possible that it may be incomplete, for more information, please refer to the specialized documentation.
When the qualifier is assimilated to the past participle of a verb, it is translated by preceding the verb by one of the conjunctions mentioned above by following the same association rules with their subject.
Example with the verb “to dry” (kuyuma): nguba “ya” yuma which gives in the plural (zi)nguba “za” yuma to mean: a () dried peanut(s).
- FIGURES AND NUMERATION.
0=nela, mpavala ; 1=mosi; 2=zole; 3=tatu; 4=ya; 5=tanu;
6=sambanu; 7=nsambuadi ou nsambodia; 8=nana; 9=vua; 10=kumi;
11=kumi na mosi; 12=kumi na zole; 13=kumi na tatu; 14=kumi na ya; 15=kumi na tanu;
16= kumi na sambanu; 17=kumi na nsambodia; 18=kumi na nana; 19=kumi na vua; 20=makumole (makumi mole); 21= makumole na mosi … 29= makumole na vua;
30= makumatatu; 40= makumaya; …. 90= makumavua; 99= makumavua na vua;
100=nkama mosi; 101= nkama mosi na mosi; 110= nkama mosi na kumi;
127= nkama mosi makumole na nsambuadi;
1.000= funda dimosi; 6.000=mafunda sambanu;
6.938= mafunda sambanu nkama vua makumatatu na nana;
1.000.000= fuku/lundu kimosi; 1.000.000.000= kiazi kimosi;
1.530.089= fuku/lundu kimosi mafunda nkama tanu na makumatatu makumanana na vua
1.320.048.481= kiazi kimosi mafuku/malundu nkama tatu na makumole mafunda makumaya na nana nkama ya ye makumanana ye mosi
First (firstly): ya ntete (ya/mu nkumbu’a ntete)
Second (secondly): ya nzole, ya bizole, ya zizole (ya/mu nkumbu’a zole)
Third (thirdly): ya ntatu, ya bitatu, ya zitatu (ya/mu nkumbu’a tatu)
Eleventh (in the eleventh place): ya kumi na mosi (ya/mu nkumbu’a kumi na mosi)
nkumbu means: times.
– Ten clothes: binkutu (bi)kumi
– Six oranges: malala (ma)sambanu
– 42 plates: malonga makumaya na mole
- TIME MEASUREMENT.
– time : ntangu
– era : (ki)tandu
– day : kilumbu (plural : bilumbu)
– on this day, in today’s day : wunu, mu kilumbu kia wunu, mu muini wa wunu
– morning: nsiuka (the sun rises : kuma kukiele, muini wuvayikidi)
– this morning : mu nsiuka wawu, wunu mu nsiuka
– evening : nkokila
– this evening tonight : mu nkokila yayi, mu nkokila ya wunu, wunu mu nkokila
– night : fuku (it’s night : mpimpa yibuidi)
– tonight : mu fuku kia wunu, wunu mu fuku, mu mpimpa ya wunu, wunu mu mpimpa
– yesterday : mazono
– today : wunu, lelo, lolo
– tomorrow : mbazi
– day after tomorrow (next day) : ku nima mbazi
– the day before yesterday : mazuzi
– the other day : (ki)lumbu kina (kia luta)
– Monday : ((ki)lumbu) kia lendi
– Tuesday : ((ki)lumbu) kia nzole, ((ki)lumbu) kia bizole
– Wednesday : ((ki)lumbu) kia ntatu, ((ki)lumbu) kia bitatu
– Thursday : ((ki)lumbu) kia n’ya, ((ki)lumbu) kia biya
– Friday : ((ki)lumbu) kia ntanu, ((ki)lumbu) kia bitanu
– Saturday : ((ki)lumbu) kia sabala, kia sabala
– Sunday : ((ki)lumbu) kia lumingu, kia lumingu
– week : lumingu, kisabala
– month (moon) : ngonda
– year : mvula, mvu
– hour (clock) : gola/wola (ngunga)
– hour : kilokolua
– 1st hour : kilokolua kia ntete, ngunga ya ntete, gola/wola ya ntete
– 6th hour : kilokolua kia sambanu, ngunga ya sambanu, gola/wola ya sambanu
– midday : kati dia lumbu
– moment : ntangu
- PLURAL OF WORDS.
As a general rule, the plural of words is done by modifying the beginning of words beginning with :
– the prefix “di” that is replaced by “ma”,
example : “dibulu” (hole) becomes “mabulu”
– the prefix “ki” that is replaced by “bi”,
example : “kisalu” (work) becomes “bisalu”
– the prefix “lu” that is replaced by “ma”,
example : “lukaya” (leaf) becomes “makaya”
– the prefix “lu” that is replaced by “tu”,
example : “lumantu” (tomato) becomes “tumantu”
– the prefix “mu” that is replaced by “mi” when the word does not designate a physical human, example : “muanzi” (root) becomes “mianzi”
– the prefix “mu” that is replaced by “ba” when the word designates a physical human,
example : “mukulu” (ancestor) becomes “bakulu”
– the prefix “mu” that is replaced by “bami” when the word designates a human both by his physique or by his quality, for example : “mundele” (European) becomes “bamindele”
– the letter “n” or “m”, they are added the prefix “zi”, except on the one hand in the case where the second letter is a consonant and if it is possible to replace the first letter “n” or “m” with “mu”, in which case the prefix “mi” is added to them which may or may not absorb the first letter of the word, except on the other hand in the case of words which designate a human being in its physical aspect, in which case the prefix “ba” is added to them,
example 1 : “mpangi” (fellow man) becomes “zimpangi”
example 2 : “nsaka” (game) becomes “zinsaka”
example 3 : “nsamu” or “musamu” (message) becomes “minsamu” or “misamu”
example 4 : “mpangi” (brother) becomes “bampangi”
If the word does not belong to any of the above categories, an attempt should be made to add one of these prefixes to them to infer the plural, and if none of them is appropriate, either “zi” or “ba” is placed at the beginning of the word to obtain the plural.
Example: “sivi” (miracle) or “disivi” becomes “masivi”.
In addition, to indicate a small number or a small quantity of this word, this word in the plural is preceded by the adverb of quantity “mua” which means “some / a few”.
example 1 : “vata” (village) becomes “mua mavata” (some villages)
example 2 : “kibulu” (animal) becomes “mua bibulu” (a few animals)
example 3 : “nti” (tree) becomes “mua minti” (some trees)
example 4 : “nsusu” (hen) becomes “mua zinsusu” (a few hens)
- DIMINUTIVE OF WORDS.
As a general rule, to designate the diminutive of a word, this is modified by prefixing it with “fi”:
example 1 : “nuni” (bird) becomes “finuni” (fledgling)
example 2 : “sabuni” (soap) becomes “fisabuni” (bar of soap)
example 3 : “ngunga” (bell) becomes “fingunga” (small bell)
example 4 : “ngulu” (pig) becomes “fingulu” (piglet)
When we want to emphasize the small amount of this word or when we want to minimize its effect, we make it preceded by the adverb of quantity “mua” which then means “a bit of / a little bit of”.
example 1 : “nguba” (peanut) becomes “mua finguba” (a little bit of peanuts)
example 2 : “loso” (rice) becomes “mua filoso” (a little bit of rice)
example 3 : “mbongo” (money) becomes “mua fimbongo” (a bit of money)
example 4 : “mvula” (rain) becomes “mua fimvula” (a little bit of rain)
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