Tuesday, 16 April 2019

Chapter 6: Ngoni Pronouns


1. The personal pronoun is used - 
(1) As the subjective prefix of a verb.
(2) As the objective medial, between the tense form and root of a verb.
(3) The full form, with or without a demonstrative, may be used after the verb, in apposition to, or instead of, the objective medial, to indicate emphasis.
(4) As the subjective prefix of an adjective.
(5) With the possessive particle forming a possessive pronoun.
(6) With a preposition or adverb.

2. The following table and examples will illustrate the method of using the personal pronouns. The pronouns of the 1st and 2nd persons are here given. The pronoun of the 3rd person must of course vary according to the class to which the noun belongs, there are consequently a singular and plural pronoun of the 3rd person to each of these classes (the 11th, 14th and 15th excepted, the singular and plural being the same): -
                                 Absolute Pronoun  Verbal  Subject       Verbal Object
1st person singular  mina (I, me)            ngi /ndi (I)              ngi/ndi (me)
1st person plural     thina(we, us)            si (we)                      si (us)
2nd person sing.      wena (you)                u  (you)                   ku (you)
2nd person plur.      lina (you)                   ni (you)                   li or ni (you)

2019 Update: Interesting to note that the Zimbabwe Ndebele and Malawi Ngoni use lina where as modern standardised Zulu uses nina. However there is some inconsistency in the ngoni language in that we only use lina in the absolute pronouns but use ni- in the 2ne person plural verbal subject where the Ndebele maintain consistency by using li-. For example the the ndebele say, linjani? (how are you) but the ngoni will say like the Zulus, ninjani? (how are you)

3. Examples of the use of the personal pronouns, 1st and 2nd persons: -

(1) The pronoun as the subject of the verb.

Ukuhamba, to go; ngihamba, I go; uhamba, thou goest. Sihamba, we go; nihamba, you go.

NOTE 1. Some Ngoni use pronoun Mu in place of ni. The mu corresponds to the pronoun in Tumbuka and has been adopted from that language. We have therefore dropped it in this edition.

Ngihamba, mina, I go, I (emphasis).
nihamba lina, ye go, ye.

Note 2. — Lina and nina (Zulu) are synonymous.

(2) The pronoun as the "pronominal verbal medial," or object.

Ukuthanda, to love; ngi-ku-thanda, ngikuthanda, I thee love, I love thee.
Si-ni-thanda > sinithanda (siyanithanda), we you love, we love you.
Si-ku-thanda > sikuthanda thina, we love you, we (do).
Ngi-thanda > Ngithanda wena, I love thee (wena is the object of the verb).

NOTE 1.—It is to be observed that for the 1st person singular and plural the nominative and objective (subjective and objective) forms are the same. The 2nd singular has ku as the objective form, and the 2nd plural may have li, or ni as the objective but not li as the subjective, forms. The language having reached a transition stage these forms exist. 

Zimbabwe Ndebele uses li as the subject for 2nd person plural they thus say 'lifuna ukuhamba' - (You (plural) want to go) where the Ngoni say, nifuna ukuhamba. A bit of inconsistency on the ngoni caused by I guess the different dialects of nguni that existed among the ngoni.

I would urge you to visit Isindebele for Beginners to appreciate the similarities between Ngoni and isiNdebele. I have noted that for instance they call maize umumbu just like the ngoni which modern Zulu no longer uses. They also use lina just like the ngoni where the Zulu use nina.

3. The full form in apposition to the verbal medial.

Ngi-ku-thanda lina/nina, I love you.  
nisithanda thina, you love us 
Usithanda thina, thou lowest us. 

The full form thus used above emphasizes the pronoun with which it agrees. See (2) 3rd Ex.

4. Personal pronouns of the 3rd persons singular and plural are given in the following table: -

Note: Please note the introduction of "ya" in the verbs below which in Ngoni denotes the Present Progressive tense (indicates continuing action, something going on now) e.g. Ngiyahamba manje (I am going/leaving now). This is different from the rule in Zulu which states that you use "ya" for verbs in the present tense that are not followed by an object nouns. 

In Ngoni however you drop the "ya" when the verb is in the Present Indefinite tense/Simple present tense (he goes, I go) e.g. Ngihamba, I go.

Further Examples to illustrate this:

Ngoni Present Indefinite: Ngithanda, I love. The Present Indefinite denotes what is true at all times and also a present act only.
Ngoni Present Progressive: Ngiyathanda, I love. The Present Progressive denotes that the action continues.

Below are the subject concords:

                               Subject Concord       Example
Class 1 um(u)-          u-                          umntwana uyakhuluma, the child is speaking.
Class 2 aba-               ba-                       abafana bayakhala, the boys are crying.
Class 1 (a) u-             u-                          ubaba ukhathele father is tired
Class 2(a) o-              ba-                        ogogo bayagula, the grandmothers are sick/ill.
Class 3 um(u)-           u-                         umuthi uyakhula, The tree is growing
Class 4 imi                  i-                         imithi iyakhula, The trees are growing.
Class 5 i(li)                 li-                         ilizwe liyakhala, The country is crying.  
Class 6 ama-              a-                         amanzi ayabanda, the water is cold.
Class 7 isi-                  si-                        isisebenzi siyafunda, the servant is studying
Class 8 izi                    zi-                       izisebenzi ziyafunda, the servants are studying.
Class 9 in-/im-           i-                          intombi iyahamba, the young lady is going
Class 10 izin-/izim-   zi                          izintombi ziyahamba, the young ladies are going.
Class 11 u(lu)-           lu-                         Ulukhuni luyavutha. the piece of firewood is burning.
Class 14 ubu-            bu-                       ubusika buyafika, winter is arriving
Class 15 uku-            ku                        ukudla kuyafika, the food is arriving.

Below are the negative subject concords:

Class 1 um(u)-          aka-        umntwana akakhulumi, the child is not speaking     
Class 2 aba-            aba-         abafana abakhali, the boys are not crying
Class 1 (a) u-           aka-         ubaba akakhathele, father is not tired. 
Class 2(a) o-             aba-       ogogo abaguli, the grandmother are not sick.    
Class 3 um(u)-           awu-       umuthi awukhuli, the tree is not growing.      
Class 4 imi               ayi-         imithi ayikhuli, the trees are not growing.
Class 5 i(li)              ali-       
Class 6 ama-              awa-      amanzi awabandi, the water is not cold     
Class 7 isi-              asi-
Class 8 izi                azi-
Class 9 in-/im-           ayi-       intombi ayihambi, the young lady is not going.    
Class 10 izin-/izim-    azi        izintombi azihambi, the young lady are not going       
Class 11 u(lu)-          alu-           
Class 14 ubu-            abu-      ubusika abufiki, the winter is not arriving.     
Class 15 uku-            aku       ukudla akufiki, the food is not arriving      

Below are the object concords

Class 1 um(u)-          -m-        Ngiyamthanda, I like him.     
Class 2 aba-            -ba-         Ngiyabathanda, I like them.
Class 1 (a) u-          -m-           Ngiyamthanda, I like him.
Class 2(a) o-            -ba-         Ngiyabathanda, I like them.
Class 3 um(u)-         -wu-       Uyawuthanda (umuthi), S/he likes it (the medicine).       
Class 4 imi               -yi-          Bayayithanda (imithi), S/he likes them (the medicine).
Class 5 i(li)              -li-           Uyalithanda (ilizwe), S/he likes it (the country).
Class 6 ama-            -wa-       Bayawathanda (amanzi), They like it (the water)    
Class 7 isi-              -si-             Uyasithanda (isikhwama). S/he like it (the bag).
Class 8 izi                -zi-           Bayazithanda (izikhwama). They like it (the bags).
Class 9 in-/im-           -yi-        Bayayithanda (inkomo). They like it (the cow). 
Class 10 izin-/izim-     -zi-       Bayizithanda (izinkomo). they like them (the cattle).      
Class 11 u(lu)-           -lu-         Ngiyaluthanda  (uludebe). I like it (the lip).
Class 14 ubu-            -bu-        Bayabuthanda (utshwala). They like it (the beer).    
Class 15 uku-            -ku-        Uyakuthanda (ukudla). S/he likes it (food).

Below is the full form or absolute pronouns:

Class 1 um(u)-  yena, ngiyamazi yena, I know him.
Class 2 aba-      bona (plural of class 1), ngiyabazi bona, I know them.
Class 1a u-        yena
Class 2a o-        bona(plural of class 1a)
Class 3 um(u)-  wona
Class 4 imi-      yona(plural of class 3)
class 5 i(li)-      wona
Class 6 ama-    wona(plural of class 5)
Class 7 isi-       sona
Class 8 izi        zona (plural of class 7)
Class 9 in-        yona
Class 10 izin-   zona (plural of class 9)
Class 11 u(lu)- lona
Class 14 ubu-   bona, utshwala, bona, abumnandi, The alcohol, as for it, is not nice.
Class 15 uku-   khona, ukudla, khona, kuyanambitheka, The food, as for it, is tasty.

 NOTE 1: - Regarding several of the objective medials see chap. 2. 3 (4) Note 1.
5. Examples of the use of the pronouns of the 3rd person: -
(1) Ukuthanda, to love; umuntu uyathanda wena, the man is loving thee.
 -dla, to eat; izimbuzi ziyadla utshani, the goats are eating grass.
-pheka, to cook; abantu bayapheka ukudla, the people are cooking the food.

(2) As the verbal medial objective: -
Umuntu uyakuthanda, the man is loving thee.
Izimbuzi ziyawudla utshani, the goats are (it) eating the grass (class 2).
Abantu bayakupheka ukudla, the people are (it) cooking the food (class 7).


1. The following tables show the invariable particle, which, preceded by the possessive particle belonging to the governing noun, forms the possessive pronoun: -


1st person singular  -mi (mine)
1st person plural -(i)thu (our)
2nd person singular -kho (your)
2nd person plural -(i)nu (your)


Class 1/1a    um(u)-               -khe, ikhanda lakhe,  his head (-khe, umuntu (the ma))
Class  2/2a   aba-/o-/bo-        -bo, amakhanda abo, their heads (-bo, abantwana (children)
Class 3         umu-                  -wo
Class 4         imi-                    -yo
Class 5         i(li)                     -lo
Class 6         ama-                   -wo
Class 7         isi-                       -so
Class 8         izi-                       -zo
Class 9         in-                         -yo
Class 10       izin-                      -zo
Class 11       u(lu)                      -lo
Class 14       ubu-                      -bo
Class 15       uku-                      -kho

2. The possessive particle belonging to the noun which denotes the thing possessed is prefixed to the root of the pronoun which corresponds to the noun denoting the possessor. The following examples will serve to illustrate the method of the use of the possessive pronoun: -


My hands (the hands of me), izandla zami.
His (the man's, class 1,) ox (class 3), inkomo yakhe.
Thy  voice (class 5), izwi lakho.
Their (people's, class 1,) trees (class 2), imithi yabo.
Their (cattle's) food, ukudla kwazo.
Our strength, amandla ethu.

NOTE. —The pronoun for class 4 is frequently used for things indefinitely, and also that for class 7.


1. The particle "zi" treated as a pronoun in the objective case is inserted before the verb root and signifies that the subject and object of the verb are the same person or persons; e.g., ngithanda, I love; ngizithanda, I love myself.

2. To express myself, thyself, &c., &c., the root -dwa (alone, only) is used with the personal pronoun; e.g., I myself, mina ngedwa; thou thyself wena wedwa, &c. For examples of this form see chapter VII. 5.


1. There are three demonstrative pronouns, denoting objects near at hand; objects at a distance; and objects previously referred to in speaking. The place of the demonstrative is usually after the noun, but it may precede the noun in a contracted form, in the case of objects near at hand. The really demonstrative part of it is thus used, and this as may readily be seen is Lo (ro), Le(re), or la

2. The following table presents at one view the various forms of the demonstrative pronoun: -

Below is the full list of demonstrative pronouns:

                                      This/These           That /Those              Those yonder
Class 1 um(u)-              lo/loya/loyi          lowo                          lowaya
Class 1(a) u-                  lo/loya/loyi          lowo                          lowaya
Class 2 aba-                   laba                      labo                           labaya
Class 2(a) o-                  laba                      labo                           labaya
Class 3 um(u)                lo                          lowo                          lowuya
Class 4 imi-                   leyi/le                    leyo                           leyiya
Class 5 i(li)                    leli                         lelo                           leliya
Class 6 ama-                  lawa/la                  lawo                         lawaya
Class 7 isi-                     lesi                        leso                           lesiya
Class 8 izi-                     lezi                        lezo                           leziya
Class 9 in-/im-               le/leyi                    leyo                           leyiya/leyaya
Class 10 izin-/izim-       lezi                        lezo                            leziya
Class 11 u(lu)-               lolu                        lolo                            loluya
Class 14 u(bu)                lobu                      lobo                          lobuya
Class 15 uku-                 lokhu/loku            lokho/loko                lokhuya/lokuya

As pointed out earlier in Ngoni the demonstrative usually occurs after the noun although it can occur before it as well. In some Nguni languages such as isiZulu usually occurs before the noun although it can also occur after as in Ngoni. When the demonstrative occurs before the noun, the initial vowel is deleter. Below are some examples

Lo mfana (umfana lo) uyakhuluma, This boy is speaking
Ngifuna leso siguli (isiguli leso), I want that patient.
Laba bantwana (abantwana laba), These children.
Abantwanat labaya. Those children over there.

NOTE 1: - L may be used instead of r in any of the above demonstratives.

NOTE 2: - Those in third column of the table before the examples "lowo,' &c., is used along with the full form of the personal pronoun, to mark emphasis; and along with, or instead of, the ordinary form of the relative pronoun q.v.

NOTE 3: - To denote objects very far away the form in the third column is used and the voice raised according to the degree of distance. It is to be observed that in many instances, in using a form of speech, as much attention must be paid to the correct tone of voice in which it is spoken as to correctness of form, else it may be meaningless to a native. This can only be attained by mixing with the natives and striving to imitate their tone of voice. It may here be added that these "notes" are merely aids to acquiring the language, the important work being the practical part.

3. There is also a locative demonstrative copulative to express, "here is/are", "there is/are" in Ngoni both for objects near at hand and at a distance. 

Nangu uYesu! Here is Jesus!
Nakhu ukudla! Here's the food!
Nasi isibhamu sakho! Here is your gun!

In English there are only two distinctions for expressing this i.e., "here is/are" to something near the speaker and "there is/are" referring to something relatively distant from the speaker. However in Ngoni, there are three way distinctions.

a) Something relatively near the speaker
 Nazi izinyawo zami! Here are my feet! (i.e. near me)

b) something relatively near the person being spoken to
Nazo izinyawo zabo! There are their feet! (i.e. near you)

c) something relatively distant from both of them.
Naziya izinyawo zabo! There are their feet! (i.e. some distance from both you and me).

The following table presents these according to each class of noun: -

              1st Position       2nd Position       3rd Position
Class 1   nangu                nango                  nanguya
Class 2   naba                  nabo                    nabaya
Class 3   nawu                 nawo                   nawuya
Class 4   nayi                   nayo                    nayiya
Class 5   nali                    nalo                      naliya
Class 6   nawa                  nawo                   nawaya
Class 7   nasi                    naso                    nasiya
Class 8   nazi                    nazo                    naziya
Class 9   nayi                   nayo                     nayiya
Class 10  nazi                   nazo                    naziya
Class 11  nalu                   nalo                     naluya
Class 14  nabu                  nabo                    nabuya
Class 15  nakhu                nakho                  nakhuya 

Note 1.—Such forms as nazonalo, may be heard for nazi; and nambanambaya instead of nabanabaya, for plural of class 1.

Further Examples on this:

Class 1 Nangu umfana (Here is the boy)
Class 2 Naba abafana (Here are the boys)
Class 3 Nawu umfula (Here is the river)
Class 4 Nayi Imifula (Here are the rivers)
Class 5 Nali ivila (Here is the lazy person)
Class 6 Nawa amavila (Here are the lazy person)
Class 7 Nasi isihlebi (Here is the slanderer)
Class 8. Nazi izihlebi (Here are the slanderers)
Class 9. Nayi indlovu (Here is the elephant)
Class 10 Nazi izindlovu (Here are the elephants)
Class 14 Nabu utshani (Here is the grass)
Class 15 Nakhu ukudla (Here is the food)

Here is the zulu version of the Demonstrative Pronouns and Locative Demonstratives.

Noun Prefixes
Demonstrative Pronouns (this, that, that over there)
Locative Demonstratives (here is, there is, over there is)
aba-, abe-
lo, lowo, lowaya
laba, labo, labaya
nangu, nango, nanguya
naba, nabo, nabaya
lo, lowo, lowaya
laba, labo, labaya
nangu, nango, nanguya
naba, nabo, nabaya
lo, lowo, lowaya
le, leyo, leyaya
nanku, nanko, nankuya
nayi, nayo, nayiya

nansi, nanso, nansiya
ama-, ame-
leli, lelo, leliya
la, lawo, lawaya
nanti, nanto, nantiya
nanka, nanko, nankaya
lesi, leso, lesiya
lezi, lezo, leziya
nasi, naso, nasiya
nazi, nazo, naziya
i(m, n)-
le, leyo, leyaya
lezi, lezo, leziya
nayi, nayo, nayiya
nazi, nazo, naziya

nansi, nanso, nansiya

lolu, lolo, loluya
lezi, lezo, leziya
nalu, nalo, naluya
nazi, nazo, naziya

lobu, lobo, lobuya

nabu, nabo, nabuya


lokhu, lokho, lokhuya

nakhu, nakho, nakhuya


lokhu, lokho, lokhuya

nakhu, nakho, nakhuya


The Relative Pronoun for all persons, numbers, and classes, is the vowel a. It is used in combination with the initial vowel of the inflex of the noun which is its antecedent or governing noun: hence we have the relative particle appearing as aeo, according as the initial vowel of the noun's prefix is ai, or u, by rule noted (chap. II 3 (3).) But the personal pronoun of the governing noun is also taken to form the relative clause, that is, where in English we say, " the man who sees," in Ngoni the relative clause is literally "the man who he sees." Unlike the adjectival concords that occur with only a limited number of (adjectival) stems, the relative concords may combine with most other words and stems.

We are therefore able to tabulate the forms of the relative pronoun according to each class of noun, as follows: 

Relative Concords

                           Subject Concord     Relative Concord
1st person sing.       ngi-                      engi-
1st person plur.        si                         esi-
2nd person sing.       u-                        o-
2nd person plur.       ni-                       eni-

Class 1 um-            u-                          o-
Class 2 aba-           ba-                         aba-
Class 3 um-            u-                          o-
Class 4 imi-           i-                            e-
Class 5 i-               li                            eli-
Class 6 ama-           a-                          a-
Class 7 isi-           si-                            esi-
Class 8 izi-           zi-                            ezi-
Class 9 iN-            i-                             e-
Class 10 iziN          zi-                        ezi-
Class 11 u-            lu-                         olu-
Class 14 ubu-        bu-                        obu-
Class 15 uku         ku-                        oku-

2. The Relative Pronoun is used according to the following rules: -

(1). When the relative is the subject of the verb (e.g., a man who sees,) the relative particle a combines with the initial vowel of the antecedent noun (man), and is followed by the personal pronoun belong to that noun.


The man who sees, umuntu obonayo.
I like people who know Zulu well, Ngithanda abantu abakwazi ukukhuluma isiZulu kahle.
The man who is calling you, knows my father, Indoda enibizayo yazi ubaba.
The voice which sounds, ilizwi elidumayo.
The cow which eats, inkomo eyidlayo.
The people who walk, abantu abahambayo.
The things which remain, izinto eziseleyo.

NOTE 1: - -yo is appended to the verb for the sake of euphony especially when nothing follows on the verbal relative stem.. Also, it serves as the sign of the relative where it is not otherwise expressed; e.g., lina enihambayo, ye who go. Ko is used instead of yo very frequently too in Ngoni.

(2). In a relative sentence the full forms of the personal pronouns may be treated as nouns. As they are primitive nouns each has a prefix, and it appears when they are thus treated as nouns in a relative sentence. Thus: -

u-mina or i


I who see, mina enibonayo, or mina nibonayo. Thou who seest, wena obonayo, or wena ubonayo. He who sees, yena obonayo, or yena wabonayo. We who see, thina esibonayo, or thina aba-, or thina sibonayo.
They who see, bona ababonayo, or babonayo.

(3). When the Relative is in the possessive case (e.g., a man whose cattle are many) the rule (2) holds good, and the relative precedes the noun which denotes the thing possessed. That noun loses its initial vowel, and the personal pronoun is attached to the verb or adjective, and the full form of the pronoun may be put after the noun. But the relative is often omitted, and the clause is a direct statement, the exact sense of which is to be gathered from the context.

EXAMPLE (as above).

Umuntu ozinkomo ziningi.
or, Umuntu ozinkomo zakhe ziningi.
or, Umuntu zinkomo zakhe ziningi.

(4). When the Relative is the object of the verb, the particle a combines with the initial vowel of the noun which is the subject of the verb, and the objective pronoun is inserted before the verb root or the full form of the pronoun follows the verb.


The man whom I see, umuntu enimbonayo. or, umuntu yena enibonayo. or, umuntu nibonayo yena.

(5) In oblique forms, such as, "to whom", from whom, with whom, by whom, &c., the foregoing rule (4) obtains, and the preposition appropriate to the expression is preferred to the pronoun, which may appear in a contracted form, or in the full form.

The following table illustrates these remarks: -

“i speak
of, through, by, &c., whom or which
to, at, from, on, &c., whom or which
with, whom, or which
umuntu, man
ngayena or ngaye
kuyena or kuye
nayena or naye
umuti, tree
ngawona or ngawo
kuwona or kuwo
nawona or nawo
imbuzi, goat
ngayona or ngayo
kuyona or kuyo
nayona or nayo
isibhamu, gun
ngasona or ngaso
kusona or kuso
nasono or naso
ilizwi, word
ngalona or ngalo
kulona or kulo
nalona or nalo
uluthi, rod
ngalona or ngalo
kulona or kulo
nalona or nalo
ukudhla, food
ngakhona orngakho
kukhona or kukho
nakhono or nakho
abantu, people
ngabona or ngabo
kubona or kubo
nabona or nabo
imithi, trees
ngayona or ngayo
kuyona or kuyo
nayona or nayo
izimbuzi, goats
ngazona or ngazo
kuzona or kuzo
nazona or nazo
izibhamu, guns
ngazona, or ngazo
kuzona or kuzo
nazona or nazo
amazwi, words
ngawona or ngawo
kuwona, or kuwo
nawona or nawo
izinti, rods
ngazona or ngazo
kuzona or kuzo
nazona or nazo

(4). When a personal noun singular (class 1) or the 3rd personal pronoun singular is the subject of the verb, the relative particle a alone is the subject pronoun in a relative sentence.

Umuntu ambonayo, the person whom he sees.


1. The following interrogatives are used with the personal pronouns according to the classes of nouns. The particle na may be used where in English we use the point of interrogation; but in many sentences an enquiring tone of voice indicates interrogation and na may be omitted.

(1). Ni. What? Who? Used in regard to nature, race, or quality.


Umuntu muni na? what man? who?
Ungumuntu muni na? what sort of person art thou?
Ngiyinto yini na? what sort of thing is it?
Wathini na? what did he say?

(2). Ni. Compounded with nja (manner) it means, how? with regard to manner, state, or degree.


Wayenza njani na? how did he work?
Unjani namuhla? how are you to-day?
Ukufa kwakhe kunjani? how great is his sickness?

(3). Nini. When?


Wabuya nini? when did he come?

(4). Phi. Which?


Umuntu muphi? which person?
Izwi liphi? which voice?
Izinkomo ziphi? which cattle?

(5). Phi. Where? Uvelaphi na? where do you come from?

(6). Kuphi. Where? Ukuphi uyihlo na? where is your father?

(7). Ngaki. How many?


Abantu bangaki? how many people?
Izinkomo zingaki? how many cattle?
Izihlangu zingaki? how many shields?

Note: - with the exception of nini, when? all the foregoing may be used with the substantive verb.

2. The following English interrogatives are expressed thus: -

(1). Who? Ubani?


Wafika ubani? (or ngubani = it is who) who arrived?
Ungubani? who art thou?

(2). Whose? By prefixing the proposition ka to (u) bani (who or what individual) according to the rule stated for the possessive case with proper nouns (chap. vi. 4).


Umfazi kabani? whose wife?
Izinkomo zikabani? whose cattle?

(3). By whom? The verb substantive is used with (u) bani.


Wabulawa ngubani? by whom was he killed?

(4). To whom? From whom? Against whom? The preposition ku is used with (ubani according to rule mentioned under " Whose?"


Ukhuluma ku bani? to whom do you speak?
Uvela ku bani, from whom do you come?

Wayonela ku bani? whom did he sin against?

(5). For whom? The objective form of the verb (q.v.) is used to express " for." -
(6). With whom? The preposition na is used with bani or ubani


Uya nabani? with whom do you go?

Ukhuluma nobani? with whom do you speak?
(7). How large?
(8). How great?
(9). How much?

7, 8 and 9 are expressed by ngaka (denoting degree), the preposition na (with) and the interrogative ni (what) to which is prefixed the pronoun of the governing noun.


Indlu ingakanani? how great is the house?
Ubude wake ungakanani? how tall is he? (lit., his tallness it is how great?)

Supplementary material 2019

Identifying Yourself 

There are two ways to say the equivalent of "I am", "She/he/it is" "or We are". If the equivalent of the "is", "am", "are" is followed by a non, then we use an identifying prefix, however if the equivalent of the "is", "am", "are" is followed by a verb we use a subject concord. Thus to say she is crying, we say uyakhala and to say I am a fool, you say Uyisiphukuphuku (using identifying prefix yi-).

Below are the identiftying prefixes.

yi- before consonants

y before the vowel i

ng- before other vowels.


NguSipho - It is Sipho.
Ngamanzi - It is water.
Yimanje - it is now.

For 1st and 2nd person identifiers we use the subject concord eg, ngi, si, ni plus the indefying prefix plus the noun or pronoun. It therefore follows SC-IP-Noun/pronoun.

Ngiyiswazi. I am a Swazi
Ngi- + ng- + uSipho > NginguSipho. I am Sipho
Si- + ng- + amandebele > Singamandebele. We are Ndebeles.
Ni- + ng- + obani > Ningobani? Who are you?

For the third person you normally just use the indentifying prefix plus the noun or pronoun.
Ngoni garden and watch hut 1895

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