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Reader in Swahili, etc., School of Oriental Studies, 

London Institution. 


Author of Language'Familiea of Africa^ Native Races 

of British Central Africa^ etc. 






^ 5 s.3> 

' APR 27 1 920 




Inter arma silent artes et amicitice : 
ne sileant in ceternum ! 

IX. Kal. Sept. MC MX VIII 



X RKFACE ••• ••• ••• ••• IV 


I. Introductory ... ... ... i 

II. The Alliterative Concord ... ... 20 

III. The Noun-Classes ... .r. ... 51 

IV. The Noun-Classes (continued) ... ... 54 

V. Cases : The Locative ... ... 70 

VI. The Pronoun ... ... ... 86 

VII. The Copula and the Verb VTo Be * ... xog 

VIII. The Adjective ... ... ... 118 

IX. The Numerals ... ... ... 133 

X. The Verb ... ... ... 143 

XI. The Verb {continued) — Moods and Tenses 156 

XII. Adverbs and Particles ... ... 182 

XIII. Word Building ... ... ... 199 

XIV. Some Phonetic Laws ... ... 218 

Appendix I. Texts — i. Zulu ... ... 232 

„ 2. Herero ... ... 248 

3. Ila ... ... 264 

4. Nyanja ... ... 272 

„ 5. Swahili ... ... 276 

6. Ganda ... ... 295 

Appendix II. Bibliography — i. General ... 307 

„ „ „ n. Special Languages 309 

^thjmLa ... ... ... ... ... 3 ¥3 

j» >» ij 

»» »> >» 

»» »» 

>i »» »» 


It is well to state at the outset that this little book 
makes no pretensions to originality. It has not, in all 
cases, been possible to give detailed references for 
statements which may be recognised as derived from one 
or other of the standard authorities (they are not 
numerous) on the subject. Sometimes, in the course of 
studies covering, intermittently, a period of some thirty 
years, one assimilates an idea so thoroughly as to forget 
where one first piqjced it up ; sometimes, too, doing 
first-hand work at a language, one may, unknowingly, 
arrive at facts or deductions already recorded. In all 
such cases, the original owners are requested to believe 
that no misappropriation was intended. 

It may be as well to state that the languages at which 
I have worked in situ, that is to say, in the countries 
where they are spoken, are Nyanja, Swahili, Zulu, and, 
in a lesser degree, Giryama and Pokomo. Some others 
I have, to a certain extent, studied from the inside, with 
the helprof books. 

It will, I hope, be sufficiently clear from the title that 
the present work is only an * Introduction ** and does 
not in any respect seek to enter into competition with 
those of Bleek, Professor Meinhof, Father Torrend and 
Sir Harry Johnston. I am under great obligations, 
more or less, to all four, though compelled to differ, 
occasionally, with all respect, from each ; but I venture 
to think I have occupied some ground not completely 
covered by any of them, yet important from the beginner's 
point of view. 

If I might venture to appeal to my own experience I 
should say that my feeling on first introduction to Bleek's 
Comparative Grammar was one of mere bewilderment, 


caused, I think, partly by the highly technical character of 
the first part, which presupposes a considerable acquaint- 
ance with phonetics, and partly by the use of Lepsius's 
alphabet, which, though not very difficult, involves a little 
preliminary training if one is to use the book profitably. 
Moreover, this alphabet has been considerably modified 
(and, in my view, improved) by Meinhof, so that there 
is a slight additional difficulty involved for those who 
have already made the acquaintance of the latter. 

It is superfluous to say anything in commendation of 
the Lautlehre and the Grundziige einer vergleichenden 
Grammatik der Bantusprachen ; they are as yet 
practically the only works of their kind,* with the 
exception of Mile. L. Homburger's highly specialised 
study, which is of comparatively limited scope. But 
experience has taught me that they are of very little use 
to at least three-quarters of the students, whom it has 
been my lot to induct into one or other of the Bantu 
languages. For one thing, there is as yet no English 
edition of either, and — in spite of recent improvements 
in this respect — the number of English people who can 
study a subject by means of a French, German or 
Italian book (which is a diflferent thing from gathering 
the drift of a novel or a newspaper article) is still 
deplorably small. For another, like Bleek, they pre- 
suppose a kind and degree of philological knowledge 
which few of the people who take up some Bantu 
language at short noticff have had time or opportunity to 

Here, parenthetically, at the risk of seeming to attempt 
the impossible feat ascribed to " Old Man Hyena," who 
split in two with the effort— I want to say a word about 
two opposite errors. 

I have repeatedly insisted, in the following pages, on 

1 Father Torrend's book, valuable enough in some ways, has 
to be used with caution, not only because of the irrata unavoidable 
in a pioneer work, but because the learned author has not been 
proof against that temptation to unbalanced theorising which is apt 
to beset the African philologist. De Gregorio's Cenni di Glottologia 
Bantu , so i^t as I have examined it, does not seem to go beyond the 
material furnished by Bleek and Torrend. 


the (feiiger of being misled by preconceived notions of 
gramnaar into erroneous treatment of Bantu speech. 
Therefore it would seem as if a knowledge of Latin and 
Greek were no help towards the acquisition of African 
bmg^ages, and indeed, as we shall see, such knowledge 
ftas in some cases given rise to positive stumbling-blocks. 
But the fact remains that those who have enjoyed a 
sound classical training are best fitted to cope with the 
unfamiliar prefixes, affixes and infixes of the " Lingua 

The truth is that — at any rate till quite recently — the 
classics have been the only subject taught in our schools 
and universities which provided a thorough grounding in 
the principles of comparative philology. Neithef Latin 
ftor Greek will by itself throw any light on the structure 
of, say, Zulu or Ganda — nor, for that matter (except for 
its greater approximation, in some points, to primitive 
characteristics) will Hebrew. No very great amount of 
classical scholarship is needed to discriminate between 
roots and formative elements, to distinguish and compare 
the functions of the latter and to ascertain and apply the 
faws of sound-shifting. But it is the method and the 
principle which make all the difference, and those who 
follow them will never go astray over fruitless compari- 
sons with Akkadian, Tibetan or what not. So that, if 
some parts of my book should seem to be needlessly 
elementary, I may be allowed to point out that I have 
found them by no means superfluous in practice. 

I have not dealt with theories of origins or conjectures 
as to the successive Bantu migrations. Neither have I 
attempted a classification of the Bantu languages into 
" branches " (Bleek) or " clusters " (Torrend). I cannot 
help thinking that it would be premature at present and 
will be for some time to come. Father Torrend 
perceived that new facts had (to some extent) disturbed 
Bleek's arrangement; and there are still so many languages 
of which little or nothing is known, that we can 
scarcely regard his own as other than provisional. 
The queerest isolated links of affinity are continually 
cropping up in unexpected places and upsetting one's 


most cherished prepossessions ; and, for my part, i am 
perfectly content, to take the languages as we find themj 
leaving the questions of how they came to be whai» 
they are, and whether they have a right to be there, to 
more competent heads and a future stage of inquiry. 

Neither have I attempted to treat of Bantu phonetics 
from the strictly scientific point of view. This branch 
of the science^ which is still more or less in the pioneer 
stage, is safe in the liands of Mr. Daniel Jones and 
Professors Meinhof and Westermann — I would only 
take this opportunity of emphasising its importance. 
The time has passed when the practical linguist or the 
research student could afford to rely on his ear and a 
certain amount of theoretic knowledge gained from the 
older works on the subject. It is one which can never 
be satisfactorily studied from books alone, and everyone 
intending to proceed to Africa ought to avail him or 
herself of the excellent practical courses now open. 

I have tried to explain in the text the various shifts 
and compromises I have been forced to adopt in order to 
arrive at a working orthography for my own immediate 
purpose. Both Meinhof's diacritic marks and the 
alphabet of the LA. P. have raised endless typographical 
difficulties, and I have found it -best in the end to fall 
back on Steere's rule-of-thumb, explaining, where they 
occur, such symbols as he failed to provide for. It may 
be necessary to repeat that kh, th, ph, stand for the 
aspirated consonant and not (except where specially 
pointed out, as in the case of Herero th) for the sounds 
which we associate with those symbols. 

The aim of the book is not to furnish all details with 
regard to any particular language, but to depict the 
broad principles underlying the structure of all belonging 
to the Bantu family, in such a form as to facilitate the 
subsequent study of the one specially chosen. Their 
grammar is of so homogeneous a character that it is 
unusually easy to construct such a general outline. Nor 
need the student be afraid with any amazement when 
he finds that his own chosen idiom fails to conform in 
one or more particulars to the outline here sketched. 


By the time he has advanced so far as to discover this, 
he will know enough to fit the differences as well as the 
resemblances into the framework. 

It has, of course, been impossible to provide for every 
contingency, for instance, I have just become aware that 
Chaga possesses an infixed adverbial (intensive) particle 
for which I know no parallel elsewhere. I shall be 
grateful to anyone who can give me any information 
throwing light on the distribution of this particle, if it is 
not an isolated phenomenon — but no doubt we shall be 
able to read all about it in Sir Harry Johnston's great 
book, when the present distress permits of its publication. 
Very likely it contains the answers to many other puzzles 
here suggested ; but, all the same, I venture to repeat that 
there are some who will read it to better purpose, when 
it comes, after making use of the humble stepping-stone 
here offered them. 

It only remains to thank those who, by word or letter, 
have contributed information, advice and encouragement, 
both in former years apd recently. Chief among these 
I wouldmention Professor Meinhof ; Sir H. H. Johnston; 
Dr. Cook, Miss Allen (of Gayaza), and the Rev. H. K. 
and Mrs. Banks (of Mbale), all of Uganda ; the mission- 
aries of the C.M.S. at Mombasa ; the Rev. Dr. H ether- 
wick, Blantyre ; Mrs. Lloyd of St. Faith's, Rusape, 
and the Rev. H. Buck (Rhodesia), the Rev. H. B. 
Barnes (Penhalonga, Rhodesia) ; Miss Nixon-Smith, 
U.M.C.A., Likoma; the Ven. Archdeacon Woodward 
and Miss Woodward ; the Rev. W. A. Crabtree (late of 
Uganda) and others. I hope anyone accidentally 
omitted will not think me ungrateful. 

Any criticisms or comments — especially coming direct 
from Africa, will be heartily welcomed. 

Wasalaam ! 

A. Werner. 

School of Oriental Studies, 
Finsbury Circus, 

London, E.C. 2. 





The Bantu family of languages is spoken 
•throughout Southern and Central Africa, as 
far as the Gulf of Cameroons on the north- 
west, and the Tana river on the north-east. 
This area is interrupted by the following 
islands or * enclaves ' of speech belonging to 
other families : 

The Galla : between the Sabaki and Tana. 

The Masai: to the east and south-east of Lake 

The Jaluo (* Nilotic Kavirondo ') : at the north- 
eastern corner of Lake Victoria. 

The Hottentots and Bushmen : in South Africa. 

Also several small and little known tribes (Mbugu, 
Sandawi, etc.), in the depression south-east of 
Kilimanjaro, whom we need not specify more 


In the Cameroons and along the southern 
edge of the Congo basin, the Hne of demarca- 
tion between Bantu and non- Bantu (in this 
case Sudan or ' Nigritian ') languages is not 
very easy to draw. In the former territory 
we find several languages classed as * Semi- 
Bantu/ or * Bantoid,' which share certain 
characteristics with the family, though not 
apparently belonging to it. But these, and 
the exact delimitation of the frontier, need 
not concern us for the purposes of this book. 

The number of known Bantu languages is 
well over 200 ; but as there are probably 
others yet to be recorded, and as some names 
may have to be omitted (being synonyms, or 
denoting mere dialects — if not altogether 
erroneous), this figure must be regarded as 
merely provisional. 

The principal features of the Bantu lan- 
guages are so clearly marked in all, that, as 
far as .grammar goes, a knowledge of one 
materially facilitates the acquisition of the 
rest. Most of them diflfer from each other no 
further than do French, Spanish and Italian ; 
in some, the resemblance is even closer. 
Natives of one tribe cannot, in general, 
understand the language of another, without 


learning it (though they pick it up very easily), 
nor can the European expect to do so ; but 
the second language should cost him far less 
labour than the first. And an acquaintance 
with the framework of Bantu grammar, 
comprising, at least, those features which all 
the languages have in common (and which, to 
those who know only the idioms of Europe, 
are so striking and novel as to impress them- 
selves readily on the memory) is a useful 
preparation for taking up the study of any 
particular language in Africa. 

The name Bantu was first introduced by 
Bleek (1827-1875), who may be called the 
father of African philology. It is simply 
one form of the word for * people,' wliich is 
used throughout the languages of this family. 
Various objections have been raised to this 
name, but no better one has been 4)roposed, 
and it has now so far gained currency that it 
would be extremely difficult to displace. 
As its meaning is perfectly clear, and as it 
is easily pronounced, there seems to be no 
sufficient reason for rejecting it. We shall 
therefore continue to speak of the Bantu 

Though the name was not introduced till 


the middle of the nineteenth century, the 
existence of 'this language- family was at any 
rate conjectured as early as 1808, when the 
German naturalist, Lichtenstein (who had 
spent four years travelling in South Africa), 
published a paper entitled Remarks on the 
Languages of the savage tribes of South Africa^ 
with a short vocabulary of the most usual dialects 
of the Hottentots and Kafirs. The two Bantu 
languages of which he collected specimens 
were * Kafir ' (Xosa) and Chwana. Many of 
his words are recognisable, in spite of a curious 
orthography ; but he does not seem to ' have 
grasped the system of prefixes, and sometimes 
confuses the singular and the plural of a word. 
However, he }iad no doubt as to the relation- 
ship of these languages to each other and the 
fundamental difference between them and that 
of the Hottentots He says : * All the idioms 
of the South African savages must be regarded 
as dialects of one or the other of these two 
principal forms ' ; and the information he was 
able to obtain respecting the more northerly 
tribes led him to the conclusion that * we are 
justified in considering all the inhabitants of 
the East Coast of Africa, from 10** or 12** S. 
to the frontiers of the Dutch Colony, as one 


nation to which further research 

may perhaps compel us to add the inhabitants 
of the South-west Coast.' 

A similar conclusion was reached inde- 
pendently, a few years later, by our own 
orientalist, William .Marsden (1754-1836). 
In 1816, he drew up a paper of instructions 
for collecting words and sentences, to be used 
by the members of Captain Tuckey's ill-fated 
expedition to the Congo, in which he remarks 
on the similarity between the vocabularies 
previously obtained in Angola and Loango and 
the specimens of the Mozambique language 
dictated by a native of that country who had 
been Marsden's servant in. India. But the 
study of the Bantu languages singly, and 
without reference to their place in a system, 
goes back to the middle of the seventeenth 
century. In the library of the British Museum 
is a curious little book — with Southey's 
autograph, dated * Keswick, 18 10,' on the 
title-page — printed in 1642 and containing a 
short exposition of elementary Christian 
doctrine, under the form of a dialogue, in the 
language of Angola, with a Portuguese version" 
on the opposite page, and a few introductory 
hints (in Portuguese) on pronunciation and 


grammar. It was the work of a Jesuit 
missionary, P. Francisco Pacconio, but was 
revised and edited after his death by P. 
Antonio Do Couto, to whom it is generally 
attributed. The language is that now called 
Mbundu, and, though somewhat disguised by 
the Portuguese spelling, appears not to differ 
appreciably from that spoken to-day. Some 
years later, in 1659, an Italian friar, Giacinto 
Brusciotto, published in Latin a grammar of 
the Congo language, to which we shall have 
occasion to refer more than once in subsequent 
pages. Cust remarks: * The book is very small, 
and the author was not a linguist ' ; which 
seems to me unduly severe. He certainly 
grasped the characteristic features of the 
language in a way some later writers failed to 
do : Cust himself says, * he remarks the use 
of prefixes, and he classes the nouns.' We 
have just seen that Lichtenstein did not 
understand the system of prefixes ; — it is, of 
course, not surprising that a passing traveller, 
picking up, in the short time at his disposal, 
what linguistic information he can, should be 
unable to do more than record words and 
phrases without penetrating very far into their 
grammatical relations. But it does seem 


Strange that Dr. Van der Kemp, whose help 
he acknowledges with regard to the Xosa 
language, should not have called his attention 
to peculiarities so striking and so unlike 
anything that could previously have come in 
his way. 

But the great advance in the knowledge of 
African languages followed the remarkable 
development of missionary activity which 
characterized the end of the -i 8th and the 
beginning of the igth century. Moffat's 
translation of the Bible into Sechwana was 
begun in 1831 ; Archbell's grammar of the 
same language appeared in 1837, Boyce's 
Xosa grammar in 1844 ; while at the same 
time Casalis, Arbousset and the other French 
missionaries were active among the Basuto 
and marking their progress by valuable 
linguistic work. About the same time, Krapf, 
on the eastern coast of Africa, was practically 
tife first to make the Swahili language known 
to European scholars : — for, though tw(3 or 
three vocabularies had been collected (chiefly 
by the praiseworthy exertions of British naval 
officers) they do not seem to have attracted 
much attention. It was the material sent 
home by Krapf which first made possible 


anything like a scientific study of the subject, 
and the beginnings of this may be seen in 
three remarkable essays contributed by Ewald, 
Pott, and Von der Gabelentz to the first and 
second volume of the Zeitschrift der Deutschen 
Morgenldndischen Gescllschaft — work produced 
in the golden age of German scholarship, 
before it had begun tQ lose itself in over- 
specialisation. These essays were the pre- 
cursors of Bleek's Comparative Grammar^ the 
first part of which appeared in 1862. 

Bleek's book, though of course it has been 
supplemented by later research, and, as might 
be expected, requires some correction in detail, 
remains the foundation of everything that has 
been done since. I shall not attempt to give 
any account of this more recent work, though 
I shall frequently have occasion to refer to 
the outstanding names of the last thirty or 
forty years — men who have not merely given 
us grammars and dictionaries of separate 
languages, but examined their structure from 
a scientific point ^f view and done something 
towards determining their relationship to each 
other and to the other speech-groups of the 
world. Such have been Miiller, Lepsius, 
Meinhof, De Gregorio, and others. In this 


country, Sir Harry Johnston is, sad to say, 
almost the only writer who has occupied 
himself with the Bantu languages not merely 
in detail but also from the comparative point 
of view. 

Bleek confirmed Lichtenstein's view (which, 
considering the data he had to go upon, 
almost deserves the name of a brilliant intui- 
tion) that all the languages of South Africa 
fall into two groups,* and he was able, as 
Lichtenstein was not, to account for the 
differences on philological grounds. The one 
crucial distinction between them, he considered, 
lay in the fact that the one group — the 
Hottentot — has grammatical gender ; the 
other — the Bantu — has not. 

This difference, Bleek thought, was based 
on a fundamental difference of organization, 
and from it he deduced an ingenious argument, 
proving that people whose speech has no 
grammatical gender were not merely at present 

* Bleek was uncertain whether to reckon two groups 
or three. He felt that not enough was known about the 
Bushman language to pronounce definitely as to its 
classifiQation, but was inclined to think it of a distinct 
type from the Hottentot. Recent research goes to show 
that he was probably right and that it is allied to the 
Sudan family. 


incapable of personifying nature, but that they 
could never in the future advance beyond a 
certain limited range of ideas. However, as 
fuller knowledge has shown many of his 
premises to be untenable (he thought, for 
instance, that the kind of animal-stories so 
well known to us through Uncle Remus was 
confined to the Hottentots and unknown to 
the Bantu), we need not occupy ourselves 
with his conclusion. 

It is certainly remarkable that the three 
great inflected families of language — the 
Aryan, Semitic and Hamitic — corresponding 
to the three divisions of the ancient world and 
the civilizations (broadly speaking) of Europe, 
Assyria and Egypt, should possess gram- 
matical gender and the rest be without it. 
But we need not think that the possession of 
this characteristic draws a hard andjast line 
on one side of which no progress is possible, 
for (setting aside the case of Japan and China), 
recent research has thrown a goo"3 deal of 
light on the way in which gender arose, and 
we find that some languages, classed with the 
Hamitic ^ sex-denoting ' family, only have it in 
a rudimentary form ; some Bantu languages 
show signs of a tendency to acquire it ; and 


languages at a very advanced stage, as 
English, tend to lose it. 

* Absence of grammatical gender,' it may 
hardly be necessary to say, means, not that no 
account is taken of sex-distinctions, but that 
they are not in any way shown by the form of 
words. All languages have words for * man ' 
and * woman,' * male ' and * female ' ; but those 
of which we are speaking hjave nothing corre- 
sponding to * he,' * she,' * his,' * her' ; nor can 
they indicate a feminine noun by any change 
in the word : if it is absolutely necessary to 
distinguish the sex a word is added, as in our 
* he-goat,' * she-goat,' ' buck-rabbit,' ' doe- 
rabbit,' etc. Still less do they attribute sex, 
by a grammatical convention, to inanimate 
objects, as is done in Latin, French, German, 

The Sudan languages (which include Twi, 
Ga, Ewe and others, spoken in Western and 
Central Africa) have no grammatical gender ; 
but neither have they, properly speaking, any 
grammatical inflections at all. The Bantu 
languages, however,rfo indicate number, person, 
and, in a limited sense, casQ; and, for verbs, 
in addition, voice, mood and tense. 

They are usually reckoned as belonging to 


the class of Agglutinative languages. These 
are^istinguished from the Isolating languages 
on the one hand and the Inflected on the other 
by the fact that, while they indicate gram- 
matical relations by particles prefixed or 
suffixed to the root, these particles are 
recognizable as independent words and can be 
used as such. This, as we shall see, does not 
quite apply to the Bantu languages, where 
some of the ^ formative elements ' (prefixes and 
suffixes) can no longer be used separately, 
and sometimes we even find internal changes 
in a word, comparable to those by which in 
English we form the plural of a noun like foot 
of the pkst of a verb like run. 

So that it would be nearer the truth to call 
them * partially inflected languages,' or * lan- 
guages in course of acquiring inflection.' For 
we must rernember that the three classes just 
mentioned are not hard and fast divisions, like 
water-tight compartments ; but a live language 
is continually growing and changing* and will 
* sooner or later pass from one class to another. 

The first point which strikes one on 
beginning to examine these languages is the 
employment of prefixes where we should 
expect to find suffixes — e.g.^ to indicate the 


plural of nouns, the agreement of adjectives, 
etc. We shall find that suffixes are also used 
in certain cases ^ but the system of prefixes is 
so characteristic and peculiar that Bleek rightly 
regarded it as a distinguishing feature of this 
family, which — before finally adopting the 
designation * Bantu * — he called the * prefix- 
I^ronominal languages/ 

It was also noticed by Brusciotto who, at 
the very outset of his Grammar, says : * In 
the first place it must be observed, in general, 
that in this language we have to attend, not to 
Declensions {i.e.^ terminations), but rather to 
Principiations {i.e.j Prefixes).' 

For want of acquaintance with this principle 
we sometimes give a double plural to an 
African word, as when we speak of * the 
Basutos,' * the Mashonas,' or use a.plural for a 
singular, as * a Basuto,' ^ a Bechwana ' — the 
singular in these cases being Mo-suto, Mo- 
ckwana. Besides these prefixes indicating 
singular and plural, there are others indicating 
the language (as Ki'SwahiliyLu-ganda^ Se-chwana, 
Chi-nyanja) and the country (as U-kami, Bu- 
gandaj etc.) — varying, of course, with different 
tribes. It may be well to note in this place 
that we shall uniformly throughout this book 


use the names of languages without prefix, as 
Chwana, Ganda, Svvahili, etc. 

Though Bantu nouns have no gender and 
so cannot be classified as masculine, feminine 
and neuter, they are divided into several 
classes — usually eight or nine, distinguished 
by their prefixes. These prefixes are repeated, 
in one form or another, before every >^ord in 
agreement with the noun ; and this method of 
indicating agreement (which will be fully 
explained and illustrated in the next chapter) 
is called the Alliterative Concord. 

These three points : the absence of gram- 
matical gender, the system of prefixes, and 
the Alliterative Concord, may be called the 
principal characteristic features of the Bantu 

We may mention a few others, piut on 
record long ago by Lepsius, as distinguishing 
the Bantu family from the Sudan languages 
on the one hand and the Hamitic (Berber, 
Galla, Somali, etc.) on the other. 

(1) Personal Pronouns are always prefixed to 

verbs, never suffixed — as they are in Hebrew, 
Arabic and the Semitic languages, 

(2) The Genitive always follows its governing 


word. That is, they always say * the house of 
the man,* never (as in the Sudan languages) 
* the man's house.' 

(3) The usual (but not invariable) order t)f words 

in the sentence is : Subject + Verb + (Noun) 

(4) The object-pronoun is inserted C infixed *) 

between the subject pronoun and the verb-root. 
Thus, in Zulu, ngiya-m-bona, * I see him,* 
is made up of ngi = * I,* ya (tense particle), 
m = * he,* bona = * see.* 

(5) Syllables always qnd in a vowel. 

Here it is well to say a word about stress 
(accent) and intonation. 

In many Bantu languages it is an invariable 
rule that the accent — at any rate the accent 
most readily noticed — falls on the penultimate 
syllable, and, if a syllable is added, the accent 
moves forward. Thus, in Zulu, we have 
bona, ' see,' whicTi becomes, in the causative, 
bonisaj * make to see.' In Swahili, nyumba is 
* house,' but, the locative, ' in the house,' is 
nyumbdni. This is called the ' rhytlimic 
stress,' but there is also an ^etymological 
stress,' — viz.y one on the root syllable. In 
words like bonay nyumba, these coincide ; but 


otherwise, in Zulu and Swahili, the rhythmic 
stress seems to be much more strongly marked. 
In Ganda, it is the stress on the root-syllable 
which is noticed. There are a few languages 
which have the rhythmic stress on the ante- 

Intonation J or pitch, is a very important 
feature in some languages, as in Chwana, 
where it serves to -distinguish many words 
otherwise similar. It exists in Zulu, Xosa, 
Nyanja, etc., — probably to a much larger 
extent than has hitherto been observed. All 
learners are advised to attend to this point 
very carefully .^ 

This book being devoted to the grammatical 
structure of the Bantu languages, it does not 
enter into my plan to discuss their sounds from 
a scientific point of view. Indeed many of 
them have not been examined at all in this 
respect, and others very imperfectly. Almost 
the only comprehensive work on Bantu 
phonetics at present in existence, Professor 
Meinhof's Lautlehre der Bantu-Sprachen^ is 
not yet published in an EngHsh edition, 

^ It is possible that in some cases, pitch and stress 
have been confused. This, also, requires particular 

IKTR0DUCf5RY • 17 

though a translation is being prepared. Some 
of the Bantu languages are being phonetically 
analysed by Mr. Daniel Jones, Reader in 
Phonetics in the University of London, who 
has published some provisional results of his 
studies in Le Maltre Phonetique^ in his pamphlet 
The Pronunciation and Orthography of the 
Chifidau Language {Rhodesia) y^nd more recently 
in the Sechuana Reader (see Bibliography ♦in 

The sounds of the Bantu languages are, 
superficially, not very difficult, except in a 
few cases which at once strike the newcomer 
by their strangeness, such as the clicks in 
Zulu (which, however, do not properly belong 
to Bantu), the 'laterals' in this and some 
other South African languages ; the Thonga 
and Venda * labio-dental,' the very common 
* bilabial ' f and v, etc. But there are subtler 
gradations, both of vowels and consonants, 
which are at once perceiyjed by a trained 
phonetician, and which an untrained linguist 
with a good ear will consciously or uncon- 
sciously adopt without being able to define 
them, but which frequently escape the notice 
of the average person. Thus, perhaps, in 
Nyanja, the learner will be in doubt whether 


the word for ' five (people) ' is asanu or asano ; 
and an old resident who knows the language 
fairly well will tell him that ' these endings 
are very uncertain, and the people themselves 
sometimes say one and sometimes the other.' 
The truth is that the sound is intermediate 
between u and o, the mouth-opening being 
wider than for the first and narrower th^ for 
the second. As this is not a treatise on 
phonetics, I shall make no attempt to spell 
the words quoted as examples according to 
the system of the International Phonetic 
Association, more especially since the sounds 
of so few Bantu languages have been sufficiently 
analysed to make this possible. For my 
purpose, the spelling introduced by Bishop^ 
Steere for Swahili and generally used in 
Swahili books is, in general, sufficient. Its 
principle may be stated thus : the vowels are 
pronounced with the sound they 'have in 
Italian, the consonants (including the com- 
pound s)'^mbols ch, sh, th) as in English — each 
symbol standing for one sound and no more, 
and no sound having more than one symbol. 
On this system, c, q, and x are superfluous, so 
are sometimes used to denote sounds not 
provided for in the Roman alphabet, as the 


clicks in Zulv.^ (C is often used for the sound 
of ch in " church " but may also stand for the 
somewhat different " palatal plosive." 

As, however, some languages have sounds 
not found in Zanzibar Swahili, on which 
Steere's Handbook is based, a few extra 
symbols will be needed in our examples, and 
these will be explained where they occur. 
But it must be repeated that this can give 
only e very general idea of the sounds, and 
that anyone who has to acquire a Bantu 
language for practical use cannot do better 
than take a course of general phonetics, which 
will enable him to accomplish very useful 
work in recording correctly the sounds of 
unwritten, or, as is sometimes the case, 
hitherto atrociously mis-spelt, languages.^ 

* Dinuzulu (late Chief of the ZuWs) used to say that 
the English alphabet needed * several more letters' in 
order to write Zulu satisfactorily. The Europeans who 
first recorded the language have in some cases expressed 
two entirely distinct sounds by the same symbol. 

^ See D. Jones, The Pronunciation of English and 
Noel-Armfield, General Phonetics, A table of the Inter- 
national Phonetic Association's Alphabet, and also of a 
script largely used on the Continent (Meinhof's moderni- 
zation of Lepsius's Standard Alphabet) will be found 
n Language-Families of Africa, 

• ^ 


The Alliterative Concord. 

In Latin we say, * Equus albus currit ' — * the 
white horse runs ' ; in the plural, * Equi albi 
currunL* The termination of the noun 
indicates the declension, case, and number; 
of the adjective, the gender, case, and number 
in agreement with the noun ; of the verb, the 
tense, number, and person. The terminations 
of the noun and adjective are the same ; that 
of the verb is different and has no relation to 

This arrangement is somewhat different 
from that of the AlHterative Concord in the 
Bantu languages, but will help us to understand 
it, if we try to imagine the endings all alike^ 
and transferred to the beginning of the word. 
Let us take a specimen sentence in Zulu. 

They are not really as much alike as the word 
* alliterative * might imply, but they are all recognizable 
as derived from the prefix. ^ 



Untfana omubi uyatshaya inkomo yomfundisi 
wami, ngiyakumlungisa. * The bad boy is 
beating the ox of my teacher : I will punish 

This sentence contains nouns of two different 
classes and words agreeing with them, t/m- 
fana is a noun of the first or * person '-class : 
the root is /ana, the prefix «m-, "shortened from 
umu' (as se^n in umu-ntUy * person '). Omu-bi^ 
'bad,' is an adjective agreeing yfMi umf ana 
the prefix assumes the form omu because it 
was formerly preceded by a demonstrative 
particle a, and a+u coalesce into o {i.e.^ the 
broad o, pronounced like ou in * ought*)/ 
This mearls that, when the adjective is used 
attributivily (that is, as in * the bad boy ' — not 
predicatively, as in ' the boy is bad '), it Is 
really a relative construction that is employed : 
— ' the boy who is bad.' We shall be able to 
make this clearer in the chapter on relative 
pronouns. In the same way ' good* is omu-hle 

The equivalent for an adjective can never 
be given in its complete form, unless the noun 

* When it is necessary, in,^his book, to distinguish 
this o from the narrow o (as in ' stone ')> it is printed 
with a line under it, as in Meinhof *s notation. 


with which it agrees is known. * A good ' (or 

* handsome ') * person/ is umu-ntu omu-hle; * a 
fine ox/ inkabi en-hle ; * a beautiful country ' 
ili'Zwe eli'hle ; ' a fine cattle-kraal/ isi-baya esu 
hie; 'a beautiful face/ ubu-so obu-hle; 

* beautiful language/ uku-kuluma oku-hle. For 
this reason, adjectives must be given in the 
dictionary under their root only : -hie, -bi^ 
-kulu (large), etc. But these roots are never 
found standing by themselves in any Bantu 
language. They are always used with the 
prefix of the class to which they belong — viz.^ 
that of the noun with which they are in 

U-ya-tshaya. Tshaya is a verb meaning 

* beat.' The bare root in this form is never 
found alone, except in the second person 
singular of the imperative. Everywhere else 
it has some addition. Even the second person 
plural of the imperative takes a suffix, -w ; 
tshaya-ni = ' beat ye.' The other moods and 
tenses all take prefixes. 

U' is the personal pronoun of the first (or 

* person ') class. It will be recognised at once 
as part of the prefix timu. (The prefix, except 
in some languages which have departed 
considerably from the original type, is not in 


all cases identical with the pronoun.) This 
is the subject-pronoun : the second part of the 
prefix, -mu (usually contracted to -m) is used 
as the object-pronoun, as we shall see presently. 
It should be noted that this subject-pronoun, 
«, can never "be used apart from a verb or its 
equivalent. There is a separable, or inde- 
pendent, pronoun, of quite a different form, 
which will be considered in the chapter oir 

-ya- is a tense-particle : originally the 
auxiliary verb ja, *to go.' It imparts a kind 
of habitual continuative "force : uyatshaya is 
rather * he is beating,' or * he is in the habit of 
beating,' than simply ' he beats.' In Zulu, 
the -ya- tense is the present most commonly 
used, though it cannot always -be translated 
as above. 

In-komOy * a cow,' is of the class which has 
the prefix i, or in- originally ini-. Nouns 
have no indication of case (except that they 
suffix -ni for the locative), so that they have 
no distinct form for the objective, though 
some pronouns do. 

Yomfundisi is for ya um/undisi, Ya is the 
particle corresponding to * of,' which expresses 
the genitive case and varies its initial according 


to the noun with wliich it agrees — which is 
always the thing possessed, not the possessor. 
/, the initial vowel of inkabij becomes y before 
a vowel : i+a=ya. In Zulu, p> before u 
amalgamates with it to form o, which is an 
intermediate position of the mouth between 
the two. In many other languages this 
amalgamation does not take place, because 
the initial vowel has been lost; thus, in 
Nyanja, .we say ya muntUj not yomuntu — 

Um-fundisij a noun of the person-class 
meaning * teacher,' derived from the verb 
fundisa, ' teach.* 

W-ami — ' my.' The roots of the possessive 
pronouns are : -ami^ ' my ' ; -ako^ ' thy ' ; -ake^ 
•^ his, her ' ; -etUy * our ' ; -enu^ * your ' ; -abo^ 
* their.' They take as prefixes the pronoun of 
the class with which they are in agreement : 
in this case the thing possessed is of the person 
class {tiinfundisi) , and the pronoun will be u. 
But u before a vowel becomes Wj u+ami=:wamf. 
Similarly, * thy teacher ' is umfundisi wako 
{u+ako), and so on. 

Ngi-ya-ku-nt'lungisa. Lungisa (causative 
of lunga) is properly ' make right,' ' straighten,' 
and so * correct,' * punish.' Ngu is the 


inseparable subject-pronoun of the first person 
singular. Ya- is the tense-particle already 
mentioned, but, in combination with the 
following particle — ku — it indicates the future, 
-m- is the object-pronoun of the third person 
singulars:' him/ 

All these prefixes change for the plural. 
Supposing we take as our English sentence : 

' The bad boys are beating the cows of our 
teachers ; we will punish them.'* 

The Zulu will be : 

A ba-fana aba-bi ba-ya-tshaya izin-komo zaba- 
fundisi betUy si-ya-ku-ba-lungisa. 

This needs ^no further analysis ; but we 
may call attention to two points : the plural 
pronoun (inseparable) of the first person, si-/ 
and the double plurality, if one may say so, 
of the possessive betu. It must be *our,' 
plural of * my,' in order to agree with the 
possessors, Cwe,' understood), but the initial 
must be 6-, not w- in order to agree with the 
things (or persons) possessed {abafundisi) . 
This double concord of the possessive is an 
important point, to which we must recur later 

The same sentence would read in Ganda 
as follows : 


OmU'lenzi omu-bi a-kuba en-te yomu-igiriza 
wa-nge ; n-na-mu-kangavula. 

Aba-lenzi aba-bi ba-kuba en-te zaba-igiriza 
ba-nge tu-na-ba-kangavula. 

Here^ though the roots are mostly different, 
the identity of the formative elements will be 
evident on examination. The chief differences 
are : a instead of u for the pronoun of the 
third person singular (which will be noticed 
in the chapter on the pronouns), and e instead 
of i as the initial vowel for the in- class. The 
possessive of the first person is -nge instead 
of -mij but this is evidently connected with 
the Zulu subject-pronoun of the first person, 
ngi'y which, in Ganda, has been reduced to n-. 

This sentence affords a very good illustration 
of the fact that, in comparing languages, one 
should take into account the grammatical 
structure father than the vocabulary. All the 
noun-roots are entirely different from the Zulu 
ones ; so are the two verbs, kuba and kanguvula. 
If wd^ looked to these alone, disregarding the 
prefixes, we might come to the conclusion 
that there was no sort of relationship between 
the two languages. But we should not be 
justified in doing so, for a comparison of 
single words may very easily lead us astrajf. 


Take the case of four European languages, 
which we know to be closely related : English, 
German, Dutch, and Danish. Here are four 
words which cannot possibly be derived from 
the same root : 

Boy ; Knabe ; jonge ; Dreng. 

Yet the Dutch word exists in English as 
the adjective * young,' and is used in German 
(Junge) side by side with Knabe, which is our 
* knave ' — an instance of the way in which the 
same root may assume different meanings. 
Dreng is found in Anglo-Saxon in the sense 
of * warrior,' and the old Icelandic use of it to 
mean * a valiant youth,' supplies the connection 
between the two. 

^ Queen ' is the same word as the Danish 
Kvinde^ * a woman,' and therefore has nothing 
to do with the German Konigin, which is the 
regularly-formed feminine from Konigj or the 
Danish Droitningy which, though used as the 
feminine of Konge (' king ') is really that of an 
obsolete word Drott, meaning ' lord.' 

Or take the French word cheval : it has 
nothing in common with the Latin^ equus, but 
is derived from a different word, caballus, not 
used by the classical writers, but existing in 
the language, of the people. Again, the 


Spanish comer , ' eat,' cannot possibly come 
from the same root as the French manger; 
and the classical Latin is edere, which, at first 
sight, does not seem to be connected with 
either. But comer is derived from comedere, 
properly * to eat up ' — a more colloquial and 
popular word than edere — and manger comes 
from manducare, properly ' to chew ' ; ^whence 
also the Italian mangiare. 

Why one language should choose the first of 
these two words, and another the second, is a 
question which, in the present state of our 
knowledge, cannot be answered — or only in 
the same way as Moliere's doctor explained 
why opium sends people to sleep by saying 
that * it has a dormitive virtue.' 

So the roots, lenzij kuba, iga (* learn,' from 
which are derived igiriza^ * teach, and omu- 
igiriza, * teacher ') and kanga (frown,' of which 
kangavula, ' rebuke ' or * punish ' is a derivative) 
are probably to be found in other Bantu 
languages, though I have as yet been unable 
to trace them. Ente^ I believe, is not Bantu, 
though I cannot say whence it has been 
adopted. -6i, 'bad,' will be recognised as 
identical : it is found in most Bantu languages. 

Let us now take, from Swahili, an example 


of the concord in another class, which has the 
prefix ki'^ in the plural vi-. 

Ki'ti cha-ngu cha m4i ki-me-vundika^ ni-me- 
ki'Ona ki'ki-anguka. 

' My wboden chair is broken ; I saw it when 
it fell.' 

Ki'ti, ' chair,' is originally ' a wooden thing ' 
— ti being a root which, with the prefix w-, 
means ^ tree.' (The most primitive form of 
seat, after the mere stump or fallen log, is the 
stool cut out of a solid block, the cross-section 
of a tree.) * Of ' in this class is cha, because 
ki becomes ch- before a vowel. The possessive 
pronoun consists of cha prefixed to the pro- 
noun-root, which is for the first person -ngu 
(cf. Ganda, -nge : the subject-pronoun for the ' 
first person is ni). Cha mti, * wooden,' — • 
literally * of wood,' or * of tree.' Ki-me-vundika^ 
* it is broken ' : ki-, subject-pronoun of the ki- 
class, agreeing with kiti ; 'tne-, a particle 
denoting the perfect tense of the verb ; 
vundika is the neuter-passive of the verb vimda, 
' break.' Nimekiona : ni- subject-pronoun of 
the first person singular ; -me-y tense-particle ; 
'ki', object-pronoun agreeing with kiti; 
ona, verb, meaning * see ' (in Zulu, bona) ; 
anguka is a verb, meaning * fall ' ; the first 


ki is the subject-pronoun agreeing with 
kiti ; the second a tense-particle equivalent to 
* if ' or * when/ often giving the verb a kind of 
participial force. 

The plural of the above is : 

Vi'ti vy-etu vyamti vi'me-vundikajtu-me'Vi-ona 

This needs no further explanation. 

We thus see that the prefix of the noun is 
repeated, in a form more or less recognizable 
before every word in grammatical agreement 
with it. The way in which it enters into the 
composition of pronouns other than the simple 
subject and object prefixes, will be explained 
later. • 


The Noun-Classes 

We have already referred to Giacinto 
Brusciotto as the author of the first attempt 
at a Bantu GrjLmmar. He was an ItaUan 
Capuchin, Prefect of the Apostolic Mission to 
the Kingdom of Congo, about the middle of 
the seventeenth century. Judging from his 
book (published at Rome in 1659), his 
linguistic aptitudes were of no mean order, 
and no doubt he had profited by many years' 
residence in the country. It is remarkable, at 
least, that he succeeded in grasping the 
principle of the noun-classes, which eluded 
more than one of his successors. We have 
seen that Lichtenstein missed it ; and — even 
more unaccountably — Burton, writing about 
i860, with the work of Krapf and Rebmann 
before him, could speak of * the artful and 
intricated system of irregular plurals ' in 



Swahili.i In Cavazzi's History of the Kingdom 
of Congo ^^ first published in 1671, it is stated 
that a missionary, after six years spent in 
trying to learn the rules of the language, 
only found out that there were none ! It is 
strange that this book takes no notice whatever 
of Btusciotto or his grammar. 

The first section of Brusciotto's manuaP 
has the following heading : ' Of the Declen- 

* sion of Nouns, or, as it is better expressed, 

* their Principiation, and their Rules ; wherein 

* it is shown what articles are to be attributed 

* to each noun, both in direct and oblique 

* cases, for their correct construction in them- 

* selves, or when they are joined to other 

* words ; and generally this is first to be noted 

* th'it in the present tongue we must not look 

* for declensions but rather principiations, for 

* which we have the following Rules.' . • . 

^ Zanzibar, I, 443. 

* Istorica Descrizione de* tre Regni, Congo, Mlatamha 
et Angola^ situati nell 'Etiopia Inferiore Occidentale 
e delle Missioni Apostoliche esercitatevi da Religiosi 
Capuccini, accuratamente compilata del P. Gio. Antonio 
Cavazzi da Montecuccolo. (Milan, 1671.) 

* Regulae quaedam pro difficillimi Congensiutn 
idiomatis faciliori captu, ad Grammatical nprmatn 
redact ae, (I^me, 1659.) 


Later on, having reached the end of the 

* Principiations,' he says, once more : 

* As has been said above, the language of 

* the Congos and others of Negro lands is not 

* founded, nor forms its rules upon the 

* declension of words, but on their principiation; 

* therefore the rules which are distinguished 

* and marked in this idiom are chiefly taken 
*from the various principiations of the sub- 
*stantives and varied accordingly.' From 
this it appears that he duly appreciated the 
importance of the noun-classes as a feature of 
the language. 

The first thing we have to do in studying 
Latin is to master the declensions — the classes 
into which nouns are divided according to 
their terminations and genders. Such classes 
exist, though to a less extent, in German ; 
they have almost disappeared in Dutch, and 
entirely so in English. When we think of 
declensions, we also think of cases, each 
having its own case-endings. 

It was quite natural that anyone educated, 
Hke Brusciotto, mainly on the classics, and 
more especially on the Latin grammar, should, 
in trying to discover the laws of an entirely 
strange language, look first for the declensions. 

34 THE noun-clAsses 

He soon recognized that the plural of nouns 
was formed in different ways, according to 
distinct rules, but that the inflection came at 
the beginning of the word instead of at the 
end, so that he invented, as we have seen, 
the name of * principiatipns ' for the different 
classes so distinguished. Of these he enu- 
merates eight, which can he identified without 
difficulty in present-day Kongo,* allowing for 
diflerences of dialect and for some mistakes 
and confusions. It is curious that he does 
not notice the person-class, but makes * gentile 
nouns ' exceptions to his first and second 
principiations. At the end of his chapter, he 
quaintly adds : 

* Note, with regard to the preceding, that 
' there is no rule so strictly observed as to be 

* without many exceptions, all which by 

* practice and the Spirit of God inspiring, wiU- 

* be easily understood and by continuous and 

* unwearied labour overcome/ 

Exceptions are the refuge of the imperfect 
grammarian, and a knowledge of the Bantu 

^ This spelling is preferred in modern books when 
referring to the particular language treated by Brusciotto, 
while * Congo ' is retained as the name of the river or 
its adjacent territories. 


languages, unattainable by our pioneer (though 
not, in his case, for want of * continuous and 
unwearied labour ') would have shown that 
they usually exemplify rules not immediately 

Brusciotto may have been led astray partly 
by his belief in the existence of an article — a 
part of speech which, as we understand it in 
English, is not found in Bantu. He is not 
alone in giving this name to the initial vowel 
of the prefix — a point as to which we shall 
have more to say presently; — but it is less 
easy to see why he should have extended 
it to the possessive particle {wa^ ba, ya, etc.). 
We shall return to this point in the fifth 

The number of noun-classes, as the * prin- 
cipiations ' are now generally called, varies in 
different languages, but is mostly eight or ten. 
There is some uncertainty about the* original 
number, and Meinhof s theoretical table is, as 
he points out, not complete, since some 
languages have anomalous forms only to be 
interpreted as survivals of lost classes, and 
more of these may yet be discovered. 

Meinhof, following Bleek, counts singular 
and plural classes separately, thus arriving at 


'a total of twenty-one. Some singular prefixes 
have no corresponding plural, while some 
plural prefixes are attached to two or more 
classes having different prefixes in the singular. 
As the order in which these classes are 
arranged is hardly the same in the grammars 
of any two Bantu languages, it seems most 
convenient in this book to follow Meinhof s 
arrangement and refer to the prefixes by his 
numbers. Some advantages are secured by 
placing singular and plural in the same class, 
and in drawing up a practical grammar it 
might be better to folfow that arrangement ; 
but the want of uniformity makes reference very 
difficult in a comprehensive survey. When we 
find, c,g.^ most Zulu grammars giving as the 
second class what Steere, in Swahili, calls the 
fifth, the French Fathers in Ganda the sixth, 
and Madan in Lala-Lamba the ninth, one is 
ready to ask why we cannot adopt some 
uniform system. But, when we remember 
how many classes have been dropped by one 
language and another (Duala, ^.5^., having only 
.seven in all) we see that it is impossible to 
number them always in the same way, though 
we may keep in every case the same relative 
order. Some writers, conscious of the difficulty, 


have frankly given up the numbers and simply 
designate the classes by their prefixes (* the 
^mU'ba class,' * the tnu-tni class,' and so on). 
But as the prefixes assume different forms, 
and are sometimes lost, this arrangement is 
useless for comparative purposes unless some 
standard form is agreed upon. The following 
table contains the forms which Meinhof has 
arrived at as probably the original ones- 
Even if this view should be erroneous in some 
cases, it is at least possible to see how all the 
forms actually in use could have been derived 
from them ; and, in any case, this does not 
affect their use as a means of reference. 

The prefixes are given in Prof. Meinhof s 
orthography, as to which the following points 
should be noted : v is the sound called 
* bilabial v 'which is very common in present- 
day Bantu, though in some languages it 
has become b or w.^ z may here be 
disregarded, merely remembering that in 
Meinhofs opinion the vowel of the vU 
prefix originally differed from that of the ki- 
prefix, also the li of the tenth class from that 
of the fifth. The etymological importance of 

^ See Noel-Armfield, General Phonetics^ p. 71. 


this ' heavy i ' is shown in his book on Bantu 
phonetics. 7 stands for the ' voiced sound ' 
(which does not occur in English) of Scots 
ch in 'loch.'^ 

It may be as well to state* here that the 
orthography used in this book for specimens 
of^ Bantu languages is that adopted in the 
pointed texts available for each particular 
language. Where it has been found necessary 
to depart from this orthography, or where 
any symbol needs special explanatiorf, the 
fact is mentioned in a note. No attempt has 
been made to unify the various systems : the 
only satisfactory uniformity would be that 
obtained by transcription into I. A. P. charac- 
-ters, and for this the study of Bantu is not 
sufficiently advanced. The reader not already 
familiar with this script, is referred to Mr. 
Noel-Armfield's General Phonetics (1915). 

He will also find a table of it facing page 30 
of the author's Language-Families of Africa. 





Plural of 1. 





Plural of 3. 



* For which, in this book, we use the Greek character x- 





Plural of 5 and 14. 





Plural of 7. 





i Pluralof 9and 11. 





Plural of 11, 13 an 







No plural. 





Locatives. No pli 










Plural of 20. 



Other classes and prefixes of which occa- 
sional traces survive, will be discussed later on. 

It will- make matters clearer if we subjoin 
to the above skeleton table of prefixes, which 
are mere abstractions and, as such, difficult to 
grasp and remember, specimen nouns from 
eight fairly typical languages, showing the 
forms in actual use for each class, with their 
concords as exhibited in the adjective and the 
possessive particle. As far as possible, words 
have been chosen which are found in all the 
eight languages, so as to facilitate a comparison 
of roots. 



No. 1 NOUN- 






Human Being 





Do. pi. 










Do. pi. 






i(Ii) zinyo 




Do. pi. 





Chest (thorax) 





Do. pi. 










Do. pi. 










Do. pi. 





Little stick 





Human nature 







Xo shwa 



Place, at 





— to 





— in 






[Found in Duala 

, e.g.f i-seru '• d 

warf antelope" 


Clumsy person 





Do. pi. 













NoTB. — Words in square brackets are inserted when 



































































drop of water] 



little thing] 



little goat] 












pa malo 

[nyumbani (pa)] 




ku malo 



[ku-mpi, near] 






the inside] 



— pi. lo-seru 12, 

and Ny-wema fi- 

nlu "bu-d," pi. 

tufulu 12] 

little knife] 




















[lat with the same meaning has a different root. 


Zulu and Ganda — both too well-known for 
further comment — indicate, approximately, the 
two extremities of the Bantu area. Herero — 
called by South African colonists Damara — is 
spoken in the south-western territory which till 
recently^ was German. It is a language, in 
many respects, of the highest interest ; but its 
speakers are now sadly reduced in numbers. 
Nyanja extends, more or less, from the north 
end of Lake Nyasa to the Zambezi and is 
closely cognate — if not virtually identical — 
with the main speech of Southern Rhodesia — 
usually, though not very correctly, called 
* Mashona ' or * Chiswina.' The range of 
Swahili is roughly from Warsheikh on the 
Somali coast to Cape Delgado (though the 
people themselves limit the name * Swahilini ' 
to the coast north-east of the Tana mouth), but 
it has been carried as a trade language far 
into the interior, and eyen to the Congo, 
Gisu, sometimes called * Masaba,' is a very 
remarkable tongue, whose principal speakers 
live round Mount Elgon in the north of the 
Uganda Protectorate: it has, perhaps, pre- 
served more ancient forms than any othen 
Kongo (sometimes called Fiote) is spoken by 
large numbers of people on both sides of the 


Lower Congo, as far up as Stanley Pool, and 
in the old * Kingdom of Congo ' south-east of 
the river, where the Portuguese missionaries 

Originally, we may suppose that some 
definite meaning attached to each class, just 
as, in languages possessing grammatical 
gender, the masculine and feminine termina- 
tions corresponded to a real-* distinction of sex. 
It would be difficult now to give any reason 
why hortus should be masculine, or mensa 
feminine ; but no doubt, when it had once 
become an accepted fact that nouns in -us 
were mostly masculine and nouns in a mostly 
feminine, words which happened to end in 
these ways were ranged under one category or 
the other, without regard to their meaning. 

Sometimes it is still possible to say that a 
class consists of nouns denoting a certain kind 
of objects, such as the first (or * personal ') 
class, the fift;eenth, which contains verbal 
nouns (infinitives), and the diminutive class 
found in some languages. Again, certain sets 
of nouns may be found in one class— ^.^., 
trees in the third, though it contains others as 
well. Much ingenuity has been expended — 
and, I cannot, but think, wasted— in drawing 


up definitions of the classes : the attempt 
seems to be hopeless at the present day, 
because prefixes originally distinct may have 
become identical in form, through elision or 
contraction, and so two or more classes have 
been merged into one. We know this to have 
happened in Swahili, where ii (lu) and 14 
(vu) have alike been contracted into u and are 
now treated as one and the same class. 

Class 3-4 {mU'ini) contains, besides trees, a 
number of the parts and organs of the body, 
which may, at one time, have formed a 
distinct class.* 

It should also be noted that the same word 
is found in two or more languages with 
different prefixes, ^.^.,^ year ' ; Zulu, umnyakaj 
2 ; Nyanja, chaka, 7, etc. 

The Fulfulde language of West Africa has 
a most remarkable system of noun-classes, 
much fuller and more clearly defined than 
anything now to be found in Bantu. Professor 

Mt is quite possible that they were originally locatives 
with the prefix mu {mu-kono, really * in the - hand *)i 
which became confounded with this class owing to the 
similarity of the prefix. To understand how this might 
have happened, we may refer to Nyanja, where the noun 
kamwa, * mouth,* is never used by itself — ovAyPa^amx^a 
and m-kamwa, * at * and * in the mouth.' 


Meinhofs theory as to this language and its 
possible connection with the Bantu family 
is set forth in his hitroduction to the Study of 
African Languages.^ 

In some cases, the distinction of mean- 
ing implied by the prefix is quite clear. 
There is no doubt about the diminutives, nor 
the infinitive used as a noun (15) ; i indicates 
persons ; 7, (sometimes) collectivity ; 14, 
either abstractions, or some substance taken 
in the mass, such as grass, wool, flour, etc. 
And we find, over and over again, that the 
same root may take different prefixes and 
have its meaning modified accordingly. In 
Zulu umu-nlu J i, is * a person ' ; isi-nlu 7, * the 
collectivity of beings ' — * the world ' ; ubu-ntu^ 
* human nature.' Utnu-ti 3, is * a tree ' ; 
u{lu)4i II, * switch' or * wand ' (this has 
suggested to some writers that Class 1 1 con-, 
sists mainly' of long, thin objects — which is 
scarcely borne out by the facts) ;^ ubu4i 14, 

* Pp. 99, 100. See also Language-Families of Africa^ 
Chapter VI. 

' It is true that some words in Herero suggest this 
idea ; thus omu-ndu^ 1, is * a person,' oru-ndu, 11, * a tall, 
thin person ' ; otji-tenda, 7, * iron,* oru-tenday * a long, 
thin piece of iron.' 


* poison ' ; and in Swahili, we have ki-ti 7, 
' chair ' — i.e., * the thing made of a tree/ or 
perhaps * the little tree (thing)'* — (see ante 
p. 29). , 

Though, as we have seen, Bantu knows no 
linguistic distinction of sex, a very definite 
line is drawn between the living and the life- 
less — or rather, perhaps, between the human 
and the non-human. The first (mu) and 
second (ba) classes, in every Bantu language, 
consist pre-eminently, if not exclusively, of 
names denoting human beings. 

As a rule, even ghosts and other preter- 
natural beings are not placed in the same 
class. In Zulu i-ziinu (usually translated 
'cannibal,' but in reality a kind of ogre or 
goblin), ama-tougo and ama-dhlozi (ancestral 
spirits) are of 5 and 6 ; in Nyanja, inzimu, the 
most usual word for spirit, is 2, and so is 
Multmgu, which sometimes designates an 
ancestral ghost, though at others it seems to be 
used in a sense almost implying a * High God/ 
Some languages include animals in the first 
clacs, but this is evidently an afterthought. 

The African mind, in general, inclines to treat 

* Ki- may here be the diminutive prefix — see next 


animals as persons ; — we see in their folk- tales 
that the distinction is kept up with- difficulty. 
(Uncle Remus is sophisticated enough to be 
conscious of the' confusion, and reminds his 
hearer that, once upon a time, * creatures had 
sense same like folks/) While most of them are 
usually of the gth (ni) class (cf. in Zulu, imbuzi^ 

* goat,' inkomOy * cow,' ingwe^ * leopard,' indhlovu 
^elephant,' etc.), it seems to have been felt that 
this was quite illogical, so some languages (as 
Swahili) removed them into the first class with- 
out changing their form — i.e., treated them, in 
respect of all their agreements, as first-class 
nouns ; others gave them a special plural, by 
placing the second prefix before their own 
phiral one. Tlie few names of animals which 
in Zulu and Chwana are included in the first 
class are treated in a special way, suggesting 
that thsy did not always belong to it. Their 
plural prefix is o-, not aba-j which is also 
taken by certain nouns denoting degrees of 
relationship (as u-yise * father,' pi. o-yise, 
u-nina * mother,' pi. o-nina) and all proper 
names.^ Perhaps there was once a separate 

^ Proper Nouns are often used in the plural, to mean 

* a person and those with him.' See Colenso, First Steps 
in Zulu-Kafir, § 29. 


class for names of relationship (which in most 
Bantu languages are treated exceptionally in 
some way or other) and it is worth noting 
that most (not all) Zulu names of animals 
coming under this heading are compounded 
with uno-{=: unina) . The corresponding nouns 
in Chwana take the prefix bo- (vo-). 

This first class has the prefix mu some- 
times heard as mo-, sometimes worn down to 
w, and sometimes changing to un-j especially 
before t or d. In Zulu it is umu- or urn-, 
sometimes contracted to u-. One might 
be tempted to think that the longer form is the 
more primitive one, and that languages like 
Chwana and Nyanja have lost the initial 
vowel. There seems reason, however, to 
think that this initial vowel is not really part 
of the prefix, but the remnant of a demonstra- 
tive which has become amalgamated with 
it. Gisu — a language in a very archaic stage — 
supplies the clue : not in this class indeed, 
but in the second, third, and fourth, where we 
have baba-ndu * people,' ku7nu-kono (elsewhere 
umkonOj mukonOj mkono), *hand,' plural 

Meinhof thinks that this demonstrative 
originally had the form ya and assimilated its 


vowel to that of the syllable which followed it, 
while the 7 passed, sometimes into vg^ some- 
times into k. Thus ya umunhi would become 
ngumunttij Gisu kumunduy and, the consonant 
being dropped, the prefix would remain as 
umii'. This pronoun survives as the * copula * 
(to be treated in a later chapter), and in Zulu 
we have ng^timtintu, * it is the man,' ng^nmuti^ 
* it is a tree.' This is pointed out by Bleek 
in his Comparative Grammar.^ On this theory 
of its origin, it is quite intelligible that he 
should call the initial vowel an article, 
especially as it is chiefly absent in cases 
where the employment of an article would 
be inadmissible — always in the vocative, 
and in certain negative sentences. However, 
as it is impossible by its means to make any 
distinction corresponding to that indicated by 
the use of * a * and * the,' the initial vowel 

can hardly be called an article in our 
sense. ^ 

This original ya probably accounts for the 
fact that in some languages {e.g.^ Swahili, 
NyanJ5i, etc.) the pronoun of the third person 

* Pp. 150, 151. Of course he knew nothing of the 
Gisu language, which has so fully justified his 



(see Ch. VI.) is a-. instead of u>. Forms like 
omuntUj omuti, perhaps show that sometimes, 
instead of the u assimilating the vowel which 
followed it, contraction took place : 

(7) + aumuntu=omuntu. 
Names of tribes may be either of the second 
or the^ixth class: Aba sutu, Bechwana, narolongj 
Amazulu, Makaranga^ Waswahtli, Agiryama, 
Abaganda. Those of the second have corre- 
sponding singulars of the first : UmsutUy 
Mochwana, Morolong. But sixth class nouns 
do not always have a singular of the fifth : 
I 'Zulu does not seem to be used for an 
individual of the Zulu nation — perhaps because 
it is the same as the word for the * sky ' — but 
we have i-Bunu, ' a Boer,' i-Lawu, * a 
Hottentot,' i-Xosa, * a Cape Kafir.' 

The concords of Class 3 are almost identi- 
cal with those of Class i. There are, however, 
two differences in the pronouns, which we 
shall notice in a later chapter. Class 4 has 
the same pronouns as Class 10, though its 
prefix (and consequently its agreement with the 
^ adjective) is different. Besides the names of 

^ Also for gu, gi and ga being occasionally found as 
pronouns in the third, fourth a?id sixth classes, instead 
gf the more usual w, i and a. 


trees and parts of the body (usually : ' arm/ 
' finger,' * leg,' * foot,' * heart,' — sometimes 
* head,' etc.) this class contains some words 
not easily placed under any special heading, 
such as * village ' {i.e., a ' kraal ' or collection 
of huts of any size, up to what can be fairly 
described as a town) — umu-zij mo4se, mu-dzi^ 
m-jiy inu-nzhi, mu-ndi} (Herero, curiously 
enough, places it in 1 1 : oru-dhe.) Words de- 
noting streams or rivers (though differing in 
form) very often belong to this class. So 
do, many proper names of rivers : Zulu 
Utnginiy UmzimkulUf etc. ; others are found in 
Class II. 

The fifth prefix isi. //-, in Zulu ili-^ usually 
contracted into i-, ^.si-tshe (for ili4she)^ * stone,* 
i-zwiy *word,' etc. In some languages this 
prefix has assumed the form di- ; in some it 
is lost altogether, except before roots beginning 
with a vowel, where it is sometimes represented 
hy dz or j: Nyanja dz-ina, * name,' which is 
in Swahili j4na, (Yao l-ina). In Swahili, the 
pronoun li and the possessive particle /a, used 
with nouns like neno^ * word,' ziwa^ * pool,' 
would be something of a puzzle if it were not 

' Bleek thinks these may have originated as locatives 
in WW-. See his Comparative Grammar^ p. 130, 


known from other languages that these words 
must originally have begun with li. 

Names of fruits are found in this class, 
differing only by prefix from the name of the 
tree which produces them : Swahili m-buyu, 

* baobab/ buyu, ' calabash * (which grows on 
it), m-kuytiy * fig-tree,' kuyu, * a fig,' m-chungwa, 

* orange-tree,' chungwa^ * orange ' / Zulu 
um-kiwanCj * wild fig-tree,' i-kiwane^ etc. 

Many words denoting liquids, or substances 
handled in bulk, which are not individualised 
and therefore have no singular, belong to the 
sixth class; e,g.^ 'water': Zulu ama-nzi^ 
Swahili ma-ji or ma-i^ Nyanja (and other lan- 
guages), ma-dzi, Kongo ma-zay Duala ma-dibaj 
etc. ; ' milk ' : Swahili ma-ziwa, Ganda ama-ia^ 
Chwana ma-shi ; * sour milk ' : Zulu ama-siy 
Herero oma-ere; 'millet': Zulu ama-bele^ 
Nyanja ;wa-^r^, ma-pira^ etc., etc. 

Here we may mention a feature which at 
first sight seems puzzling in Chwana and some 
other languages. Nouns of Class 9, besides 
their own plural sometimes take a second in 

* Nazi, * coco-nut/ tende, * date,* ndizi, * banana,' are 
exceptions, being of the ninth class. But none of these 
three seem to be original Bantu roots. The names of 
the trees are quite regular : tn-nazi, m-tende ; but the 
banana-tree is m-gomha^ not m-dizi. 


ma-f indicating that there are very many of the 
thing in question ; e.g., nku, * a sheep,' — plural 
li-nku, but * many sheep ' = ma-nku. These 
may be regarded as collectives with no singular, 
and they are possibly connected with the lost 
augmentative class, to which we shall recur 
at the end of the next chapter. _ 

It will be seen by reference to the Table 
that the form assumed by the sixth prefix in 
Gisu is kama-j in accordance with the principle 
already explained. I have not met with any 
other example of this form ; but the original 
ya prefixed to the ma explains why the pronoun 
in some languages (Giryama, Ganda, etc.) 
should be ga. It is usually a or ya. 

It is less easy to see why the prefix should 
appear in Herero as oma-. But that language, 
as the Table shows, has a tendency to make 
all the initial vowels o : the only exception is 
the fifth prefix, which has assumed the form e-. 


The Noun-Classes {continued) 

The forms of the seventh and eighth 
prefixes vary considerably. Besides those 
shown in the Table, we have : — 

Duala ...«-, be- : e-koto, * cap,' pi, be-koto. 
I la (Middle Zambezi) • . . chi- shi- : chi-bia, 

* pot,' pi. shi'bia, 
Kikuyu (British East Africa) . . . ^t-, t- : 

ki'hatOj * broom,' pi. i-hafo: 
Konde (north end of Lake Nyasa) . . . iki- 

ifi' : iki'tala^ * bedstead,' pi. ifi-tala. 

In Ronga (Delagoa Bay), and in some dia- 
lects of the language spoken in Rhodesia the 
eighth prefix has a very peculiar sound, written 
in the International Phonetic Alphabet a- and 
by Meinhof s. It is produced by getting ready 
to say th (as in * thin ') and then rounding the 
lips, as if for ze;, and somewhat resembles the 
whistle which results from blowing into a key. 
Venda (North Transvaal) gives this prefix the 



voiced sound, which is written p and by 
Meinhof z. 

This class, like some others, consists of two 
or three originally distinct ones, which may 
account for the prefix conveying several 
different senses. Sometimes it has a kind of 
instrumental force and is then used to make a 
noun out of a verb, implying the thing by 
means of which the action is accomplished, as 
isi'hlalo (Zulu) * a seat,' from hlala^ * to sit ' ; 
Nyanja chi-psero, * a broom,' from psera, * to 
sweep ' ; chi-peta^ * a winnowing- basket,' from 
pc^ta. Sometimes it seems to convey a 
collective sense, as in Zulu, isi-ntu (already 
remarked on), isi-Zulu^ ' the whole of the 
Zulus, the Zulu nation,' iM-zwe, * tribe, nation,' 
from i'ZWCy ' country.' This is distinct from 
the use of the prefix to express language (which 
does not occur in Zulu) : Chi-Nyanja, Ki- 
Swahili, Se-Sutu ; or, more accurately, 

* likeness, fashion, manner,' as its application 
is not confined to language. Again, it forms 
a kind of abstract noun, expressing, not a 
quality, but the action of a verb, as Swahili 
ki'lioj * weeping,' from Ha; Nyanja chi-funOj 

* wish,' from /una. 

In Swahili, a great many nouns in ki- are 


diminutives, ki- having taken the place of the 
thirteenth prefix ka-^ as it has also done in 
Kongo.^ In Nyanja, curiously enough, the old 
augmentative class (20) has become merged in 
the seventh, exchanging its prefix yu for chi-. 

On the other hand, nouns which have 
dropped their prefixes, and whose stems begin 
with chi^ kij ski, etc.7 are liable to be mistaken 
for nouns of the seventh class. These are 
fairly numerous in Nyanja, as chingay * fence,' 
pi. ma'Chingaj chinduj * roof,' pi. ma-chiitdu. 

This class also contains some nouns meaning 
persons. In Zulu these are derived from 
verbs as isi-hambi, * a traveller,' from hambuy 
' go,' isi-gijimi, * runner,' from gijima, * run.' In' 
Swahili we find in this class personal nouns 
implying some defect, as ki-pofu, * a blind 
person,' ki-ziwij * a dumb person,' etc. Pro- 
bably these originally belonged to a 
Mepreciative class,' which will be mentioned 
later on. 

The ninth prefix is usually found as in- or n- : 
in Rong3. yin-, Ganda, en-, Herero on-, Makua 
usually i- without the n, as i-kti^o, * cloth,' which 

In Kongo, however, diminutives are distinguished 
from the nouns in ki- by reduplication of the root, as 
ki'mwanamwana, * a little child.' 



is equivalent to the Swahili or Yao nguo} n 
becomes m before stems beginning with a 
labial, as irn-buzi (Zulu), *goat,' for in+buzi. 

The tenth class properly has the plural 
prefix in addition to the singular (Zulu izi-n- 
dhhi, izi-m-buzi), but the former often disap- 
pears through contraction, so that singular and 
plural are alike, as Kongo nzo, Swahili and 
Nyanja, nyuynbaj 'house.' Some dialects of 
Nyanja, however, have zi-nyumba lo, and 
Herero, ondyuo 9, odho-ndyuo^ 10, ^ongz. yin-dlu 
9, tiyin-dlu 10. Ronga sometimes contracts 
both prefixes, as ndlebe^ * ear ' (Zulu in-dhlebg)^ 
plural tin-dlebe, and may drop even the «, as 
in huku, * fowl,' plural tihtiku. Chwana Sutu 
and Venda have the tenth prefix li : puli, * goat,' 
pi. li'piili ; kxomo * cow,' li'kxomo. This 
suggests that the primitive form may have 
been li-ni-. 

^ Both in Chwana and Makua there is a tendency to 
substitute the voiceless stop for the voiced stop and 
nasal {i.e., p for w6, t for nd^ k for ng). CL puli, 
*goat,* Nyanja, mhuzi ; itotwa (Makua) 'star,* Yao, 

* Dy is probably the nearest equivalent to this sound 
in ordinary English spelling, but it may be that 
represented in the International Phonetic Alphabet by 
inverted f. Instead of z, Herero has the sound of th in 
* there * — here represented by dh. 


So far as any rule can be laid down for them, 
most names of animals belong to the ninth 
class. Many of these are the same through- 
out the greater number of the Bantu lan- 
guages. We give a few of the most striking 
examples : 

Cow or ox : Zulu, inkomoy Chwana, k^omo, 
Ronga, homu, Herero, ojigombe, Nyanja (and 
many other languages), ng'ombej^ Bobangi 
(Middle Congo), ngombo. Even where the 
root is different, as Ganda ente^ the word still 
belongs to the same class. 

Goat : Zulu, imbuzi, Ronga, mbutij Chwana, 
pulij Nyanja (and many others), fhbuzij 
Bobangi, mboli, Duala, mbodi, Herero, ongombo 
(a different root), Kongo, nkombo^ and in some 
dialects, ntaba. 

Sheep : Zulu, imvu^ Chwana, nku^ Nyanja, 
nkosa^ Swahili, kondoo, Giryama, ng^ondzi, 
Ganda, endiga. 

The dog is usually mbwa or imbwa — quite 
recognisable as representing his bark, — but in 

* Ng^ thus written has the same sound as in * ring,* 
* sing,' etc. Meinhof writes it n. Where no apostrophe 
follows, the sound is that heard in * finger.' The former 
does not seem to occur in Herero or Pokomo. In the 
latter language *cow' is ngomhe, which would be 
ridiculed as a mispronunciation by Swahilis or Anyanja. 


Zulu this has become inja^ because w cannot 
in that language follow another nasal. 

The eleventh prefix is found'in most present- 
day Bantu languages, though its presence is 
frequently disguised by the fact that it has 
been contracted into ii^- ; as Zulu u4i for ulu- 
ti. Here' it is still easily distinguishable by 
its concord — when we hear uti olude Iwa leyo 
^nkosij * the long staff of that chief/ — we know 
that uti cannot be one of the first-class nouns 
which have u- for their prefix (u-baba, etc.). 
Moreover, when used as proper names, (as 
any noun may be in Zulu, keeping its own 
prefix, and changing only the initial vowel), 
they appear in the uncontracted form ; thus 
we have uLuzipo, a man's jiame, from u-zipOj 
* a claw,' uLutuli, from u4uli, * dust.' 

In Swahili, the distinctive concord is no 
longer seen, the pronouns, etc. being identical 
with those of 3 : uti m-refti^ u-me-anguka, * the 
long stick has fallen.' Moreover, 14 has 
undergone a like contraction, so that these two 
classes are merged in one. The lu-cldiss still 
exist separately in Yao and Ila : in Nyanja 
there are a good many nouns beginning with 
this prefiJx, but they are treated as belonging 
to the fifth. In Ronga, though still distinct, it 


has modified its prefix to /i-, while the fifth 
prefix is 'n-. As will have been noticed in 
Herero, some languages sound this prefix with 
r rather than /. Sometimes it is used (instead 
of 7) to express language : Lu-ganda^ Lu-nyoro, 
Lti-gisu: this seems to be confined to the 
northern region of the great lakes. 

There is considerable divergence in the 
plural prefix appropriated to this class. The 
most usual appears to be the tenth, but some- 
times we have the sixth. In Herero, Ndonga, 
Kongo, it has retained its original one, the 
twelfth {tu-)j which also belongs to the diminu- 
tive class. Sometimes we find that, as in 10, 
the plural prefix is added without rejecting 
the singular ; thus in Swahili, titi makes 
nyuti = ni + tdi; in Mbundu (Angola), we 
have lubango^ * stick,' — pi. ma-lu-bango^. 

The twelfth and thirteenth classes have 
dropped out in a good many languages. Ka- is 
properly the sign of the diminutive, an4 is still 
so used in Herero, Nyanja, Yao, Ila, Ganda, 
Pokomo, Giryama, Zigula, etc. 

As we have seen, Swahili and some others 
have substituted the seventh prefix for it. 

* Meinhof thinks this was at first the rule with all the 
classes and that the second prefix gradually dropped out. 


Zulu, Ronga, Chwana, and their cognate 
dialects have got rid of it altogether, and 
express their diminutive by a suffix — perhaps 
under the influence of the Hottentot language. 
E. g., Zulu, indhlwana {indhlu-ana), *a little 
house ' ; Chwana pitsa^ * pot,' pits-ana^ * little 

Though tU' seems to be the original plural 
prefix attached to the thirteenth class, a variety 
of others have taken its place, and the learner 
should be prepared to meet With pi- (a form of 
8), W-, bii^'j (14, as in Herero), w^-, t;/-, and tin- 


In Ganda, where the plural of aka-ntUj * a 
little thing,' is obu-ntu, the twelfth prefix has a 
distinct and very curious use — otu-dzi^ ' a 
single drop of water,' from a7na-dzi, tu-nyu 
* a little salt,' from mtc-nyu} That is, it is 
used to individualise a single particle of 
something which has to be looked at or 
handled in the mass, like liquids, flour, grain, 
etc. These, as we have seen, when belonging 
to Class 6, have no singular ; when of Class 
14, they have no plural — or, it would be more 
correct to say, they have neither singular nor 
plural. This formation is also found in 

* Conversely, lu-nyu * a lot of salt.' 


Pogoro, a language spoken east of the northern 
end of Lake Nyasa. 

In Nyanja, the diminutive plural prefix is 
ti- (which, Meinhof thinks, may have been a 
distinct class) : ka-mbalame, * little bird,' plural, 

Duala has a different diminutive class, 
traces of which occur elsewhere, but only in the 
western part of the continent : it is the one 
numbered 19. Its prefix i- is supposed to 
have been originally^/-, and its plural prefix 
is the twelfth, which has here assumed the 
form lo- : i-seru, a small kind of antelope — pi. 
lO'Seru. In Kongo the prefix has assumed 
the form fi- and constitutes an additional 
diminutive class, which, however, has no 
plural of its own. This class is also found in 
Nywema and some other languages of the 
central regions between the Great Lakes and 
the Upper Congo. 

The fourteenth class, as already stated, 
includes abstract nouns {e,g.j Zulu ubu-ntu, 
Swahili u-tti, etc., ' human nature '), and names 
of materials which are not properly speaking 
either singular or plural : ubu-si (Zulu), u-chi 
(Nyanja), * honey,' utshwala for ubwala=: 
ubu-ala (Z.), * beer,' utshane for ubu-ane (Z.), 


'grass,' ub'Oya (Z.), ubwea (Ny.), * hair of 
an animal.' If nouns of this class are ever 
put into the plural, they usually take the sixth 
prefix {ma): thus * night,' ubu-suku^ has no 
plural in Zulu, but the Chwana bo-sixo has the 
plural ma-sixo. 

But there seems reason to suspect that 
most fourteenth class nouns which take a 
plural do not originally belong to the class at 
all, as they denote concrete objects which 
there seems no reason for including here. 
Probably the same thing has happened as 
with tlue ki' and u- classes in Swahili. f//a, 
* bow ' — originally bii-ta or vu4a — is found in 
nearly every Bantu language. In Nyanja it 
has the concord 6w, which stands almost 
alone : uta bu-funa kutyoka, * the bow is likely 
to break ' (lit. * wants to break '). The same 
is the case with 6oa, * mushrooms,' said in 
Scott's Dictionary to be of Class i (no 
explanation is offered of the anomalous con- 
cord, but the existence of the bu- class in other 
languages makes it quite clear) : boa bwanga 
bu'li apa {li is here the verb * to be ') — * my 
mushrooms are here.' 

Then we have bwato, * canoe,' stated to be 
of the fifth class, with plural ma^bwato ; but 


forms like Pokomo waho {li-aho)^ pi. m-aho, 
seem to show that bw- is the prefix {bu-ato). 
Nyamwezi has vato 14 and Konde ubwato 

(ubti-ato). This last has its plural of Class 4 : 
imyato, (imi-ato), which may point to a still 
further confusion. The little group of north- 
western Bantu languages, of which Duala is 
the chief (Benga, Dikele, Isubu), make the 
plural of the fourteenth class in mi-: the same 
word is in Benga bwalu, mi-alu, in Duala 
b'Olo, mi'Olo. Duala has bw-elCj * tree/ pi. 
mi-ele : a curious exception, as regards the 

These last can scarcely be explained as 
collectives, or nouns of material, though 

* mushrooms ' might : being considered in the 
first instance as food they would be thought 
of by the basketful. Even as to uta I am not 
quite clear : tita in Swahili seems to mean a 
bow with quiver and arrows all complete (the 

* artillery ' that Jonathan carried), while upindi 
is a bow pure and simple. The plurals nyuta 
and mata are given in the dictionaries, but 
they may be later formations. In Nyanja the 
plural mauta apparently has the same collective 
sense — at least, as applied to the three stars 
in Orion's belt, I understand it to mean * The 


Bow and Arrows/ not * The Bows.* Ubu-so 
(Zulu), * face,' is found almost everywhere and 
has the same root as i-so, ^ eye ' — as though it 
were a sort of abstraction : the * eyeness,' if 
one might coin the word. In fact one does 
sometimes hear * eyes ' used to mean ' face,' in 
Nyanja and probably elsewhere. 

The fifteenth prefix, kti-, denoting infinitives 
of nouns, offers little difficulty and has the same 
form (except for the occasional presence of an 
initial vowel) almost everywhere. In Chwana 
it is modified to x^, and several western 
languages are without it, though it has left 
traces in Kongo. 

There are a few nouns in ku with plurals in 
ma-, which are certainly not infinitives and 
are perhaps remnants of a lost class. They 
sometimes retain the ku- in the plural, after 
the ma- prefix : Nyanja kutu^ * ear,' pi. 
ma-ku'tu ; but Herero oku4wi, oma-twi, Kongo 
kU'tu, nia-tu. Several of the western Bantu 
languages have the words for * arm ' and * leg ' 
similarly formed, and Herero has a few more 
besides. Meinhof thinks these are locatives, 
a theory which will be more fully explained in 
the next chapter. 

Classes i6, 17, 18 are not found in Zulu or 



Chwana, though slight traces of them exist. 
They can better be discussed in the next 
chapter, in connection with the locative ; here 
it may be sufficient to say that they differ 
from most other classes by having a movable 
prefix : a preposition is added before the usual 
prefix and entirely changes the concord. The 
preposition and its noun are treated as a single 
word. It is somewhat as though, instead of 
saying * The house is near a field/ we said 

* Near-the-house n-is a field/ or * By-the-house 
6-is/ etc. ' ' 

The locative prefixes have entirely dis- 
appeared in Swahili, but the concord remains, 
as we shall see. 

The nineteenth class, already referred to, 
was not recognized by Bleek. 

The remaining two classes — more properly 
four — were also unknown to Bleek and only 
survive in a rudimentary condition. Ganda 
has a prefix ogu-, which seems to convey a 
notion (i) of size, (2) of d'epreciation : ogu-ntu, 

* a clumsy thing,' pi. aga-ntUj ogu-nyo^ * a large 
quantity of salt' (ow^-nyo), as opposed to'* a 
small quantity ' of the same, otu-nyo*- In Gi^u 
there is a class denoting large things, with the 
prefix gti- in the singular, gi-mi- in the plural : 


gu-kokOj 'a giant fowl,' pi. gimi-koko, with 
a prefix now virtually equivalent to the 
fourth, ft might be preferable therefore to 
enumerate them thus: 20 yti 21 ya 22yti 23 
7Z {yimi). 

But as a matter of fact, no language to-day 
seems to have kept both 20 and 22 inde- 
pendently. Both classes survive in Swahili, 
though one is completely merged in the fifth 
and sixth, and the other would be but for its 
anomalous plural. To express unusual size, 
a noun loses its original prefix in the singular 
and takes ma in the plural, as dege^ * a large 
bird,' (from n'dege)^ pi. ma-dege. If the stem 
begins with a vowel it prefixes j, as joka, * large 
serpent,' from nyoka. But if it is implied that 
a thing is not only large but monstrous, or 
ill-conditioned, the form is the same for the 
singular, but the plural has the prefix mi-: as 
jombo (from ch-ombo)^ 'a big ugly vessel,' pi. 
mi'jombo, vua, * heavy rain ' (implying some- 
thing abnormal), pi. mi-vua. (Some of these 
forms in mi- have no singular corresponding 
to them). But these distinctions are becoming 
blurred, and a further source of confusion is 
the insertion of -ji- between the prefix and 
stem of monosyllabic diminutives. We may 


add that ki- sometimes has a depreciatory 

It has already been pointed out that some 
seventh class nouns in Nyanja (beginning with 
chi') are really relics of an old augmentative 
class. In Kinga (spoken among the moun- 
tains E. of the north end of Lake Nyasa) 
there is a class with the prefix ugu- which 
does not seem to have a plural and conveys 
either an augmentative or a depreciative 
sense : it is no doubt an amalgamation of 20 
and 22. Traces of the same are also found 
in Venda. Ganda use§ both the ki- and lu- 
prefixes with augmentative force. There is no 
need to follow out the matter any further, but 
the student should keep it in mind as a 
possible explanation of seemingly exceptional 

Hints of several other classes are found : 
(i) We have already said that Meinhof 
considers the Nyanja diminutive plural/i- as 
a distinct prefix, parallel with tu-, as li- is with 


(2) There are in Nyanja one or two words, 

Steere*s Handbook of Swahili, p. 19, * ki-buzi, a 
poor little goat.' We have already referred to the 
depreciatory sense of ki- when applied to persons, b^ 
kipofu, kiziwi, etc. 



tuloj ^ sleep,' tubsij * dung,' which seem to stand 
in a class by themselves. The concords 
{tulo t-ambiri, * much sleep,' tulo t-achcy ^ his 
sleep,') indicate that /w- is the prefix. We 
find otu-lOj ' sleep,' in Ganda, but it does not 
seem possible to place it, as the French 
Fathers^ do, in the tu- class which denotes 
* small quantities.' However, they may have 
been originally thought of as plurals and, as 
such, would belong to CI. 12, like tuvia * fire ' 
(Kongo) which, though generally used in the 
plural, seems to have a singular luvia. 

(3) Some languages have personal nouns in 
ka- which are not diminutive — this is especially 
marked in Herero — and we might compare 
Ganda ka-baka, * king,' ka-tikirOy ' prime 
minister.' And we might suggest the large 
number of animal names in Nyanja, which 
begin with na and nanka {nadzikambe, * chame- 
leon,' na^orf^zc;^, * water-buck,' nanAafea/, * hawk '). 
But enough has been said to show that the 
number of classes was once probably far 
greater than it is now, and to show that in 
languages not yet fully studied we are quite 
likely to come upon traces of extra classes. 

* Manuel de Langue Luganda. Einsiedeln, 1894, 
p. 31. 


Cases : The Locative 

If I begin by saying that Bantu nouns have 
nothing which can, properly speaking, be 
described as case^ it will appear as if this 
chapter, being of the same kind as the famous 
one on * Snakes in Iceland,' had better be left 

However, as we have already seen, there is 
a Possessive — if of a somewhat peculiar 
character. * There is no difference in form 
between the noun-subject and the noun- 
obje(it, but some pronouns have distinct forms 
for the accusative, as we shall see in the next 
chapter. There is something like a vocative. 
Perhaps the dropping of the initial vowel in 
Zulu, as ^ Zatshtike,^ when addressing a man 
(instead of ' u Zatshtike ') is too slight to be 
mentioned in this connection ; but Chwana 



(at least in some dialects) has a different 
terminal vowel for a noun, according as the 
person referred to is spoken to or spoken of. 
And Duala prefixes a to nouns in the Vocative. 
Finally, the Locative in -nij though confined 
to a comparatively small number of languages, 
is a feature which must be taken into account, 
and it can hardly, for the purposes of this 
sketch, be classed under any other heading 
than that of Case. 

If we limit the term * case ' to those 
relations which are expressed by inflexions of 
the noun-stem (declensional endings), we shall 
have to admit that English nouns are entirely 
without it, except when the possessive is 
indicated by 's. Case-endings are becoming 
obsolete in Dutch, though they still exist in 
German ; they are better exemplified in Latin 
and Greek, and still more so in Sanscrit, 
which has seven cases. 

The Latin declensign, for instance {mensae^ 
* of the table,' m, ' to the* thing,' hortOj * from 
the garden '), indicates by means of the 
termination what we express by a preposition, 
or by the order of words in the sentence, 
which is our only way of distinguishing sub- 
ject from object. The same relations are 

72 cases: the locative 

expressed in the Bantu languages by means of 

Indo-European prepositions are invariable. 
' From/ * to/ * by/ ^ with/ never change their 
shapes, whatever nouns they may precede or 
follow ; and neither do the Latin a6,^ de, ex^ 
prOf super J etc. 

This is not the case with Bantu prepositions, 
^though the difference is perhaps more apparent 
than real. We have already seen, in the 
second chapter, that the equivalent for * of ' 
assumes different forms according to the noun 
it follows. It is as though we said in English : 
* the house hof the man/ * the child choi the 
house,' * the door ^of the room.* This is 
because the initial of the noun-prefix is 
combined with the root -a, which, whatever 
its original force may be — we can for practical 
purposes assume to mean * of.* 

We can now see why Brusciotto called this 
wuj ya, etc., an article. He saw that one part 

^ This word is used for convenience. Meinhof points 
out that there are, strictly speaking, nQ.-^epositions in 
Bantu, the words serving as such being really pronouns 
or possessive particles — except na * with,* which might 
equally well be rendered * and,' and called a conjunction. 

The alternative forms a, ah^ e, ex are not variations 
in the sense here intended. 

cases; the LOCATIVEt 73 

of it meant * of,' and — reminded of the way in 
which di (* of ') combines with the article in 
Italian {del, delloj della, dei, degli, delUy con- 
cluded that the other part of the word mjght 
be an article. The combination seemed to 
carry out that reversal of European rules 
which had' struck him so forcibly in connection 
with the prefixes, and the conclusion he came 
to was a very natural one under the circum- 
stances and does credit to his linguistic 
insight. He might have represented the 
whole thing in a diagram, thus : 



— the Italian article il having originally been 
the Latin demonstrative pronoun ille, while u 
(which becomes w before a) is the prefix- 
pronoun of its cla^. With nouns of other 
classes, we should have j^a, la, za, etc., just as 
in Italian with a feminine singular noun we 

^ This combination (the * partitive article ') is better 
seen in Italian than in either French or Spanish, where 
it is not carried through consistently {dtif de la, des ; 
del, de la, de los). In Italian too, not only di and a, 
but the other prepositions con, in, per, are combined 
with the article and constitute something like a declension 

74 cases: the locative 

have dellay with a masculine plural dei or 
degliy and so on. But wa fulfils no function 
of the article as we understand it, the pro- 
noun in it being purely representative and 
not demonstrative. 

This possessive particle is closely connected 
with the possessive pronoun^ to be considered in 
a later chapter. But I mention it here, 
because the next point can only be illustrated 
by the help of possessive pronouns in European 
languages. In English, as we know, possessive 
pronouns are among the few parts of speech 
which have grammatical gender — which show 
by their form the sex of the nouns they 
represent — or the absence of it. Possessive 
pronouns agree in this respect with the noun 
which stands for the possessor : * his mother,' 
' her father,' — while the reverse is the case in 
French : son per e^ sa mere, leave* the sex of the 
possessor qtiite imcertain, though beginners 
insist on translating * her father ' by sa pere. 

Bantu nouns follow, with a difference, the 
French principle ; * the man's child ' is in 
Zulu : um-ntwana wendoda (for wa-indoda) and 
not, as it would be if the concord followed the 
class of the possessor : um-ntwana yendoda 

cases: the locative 75 

I say ' nouns ' advisedly, for we shall see, 
when we come to treat of them in the proper 
place, that possessive pronouns agree both 
ways : that is, the first part follows the class 
of the thing possessed, the last that of the 

It is scarcely necessary to say, after giving 
the above examples, that the thing possessed 
always precedes the possessor, as in French 
{Venfant de Vhomme). In English, we have it 
both ways, according as we use the inflected 
possessive or not — * the man's child,' and * the 
child of the man/ The Sudan languages^ 
put the; possessor first and say ^ man child ' — 
having nothing corresponding to article or 
inflection, though sometimes a particle 
indicating ownership is suffixed to the first 

There is no way of showing whether a noun 
is subject or object except by its position in 
the sentence, the subject coming before the 
verb and the object after, ^ just as in English. 

^ See Language Families of Africa^ p. 40. 

^ Arabic, which uses case-inflections, usually puts the 
verb first, the subject next, and then the (Object ; but as 
the two latter are sufficiently distinguished by their 
endings, it really does not matter in what order they are 

76 cases: the locative 

Sometimes, where there can be no possibility 
of mistake, inversion is used for the sake of 
emphasis — as by us in rhetoric or poetry ; but 
the outsider had better not meddle with 
figures of speech such as this, and it is scarcely 
necessary to mention them in a general 

We now come to the Locative ; and this 
has to be treated under two different headings : 
the locative formed by prefixed prepositions 
and the suffixed locative in -m, which seems 
to be a later development. There are not 
many Bantu prepositions, as we shall see in 
the chapter on Particles : the principal ones, 
which (or, at any rate, traces of them), are 
found in cver^ Bantu language, are pa^ ku, 

Pa, roughly speaking, conveys the notion of 

* at * or * upon ' ; tnu, of ' in,' and kuj of 

* motion to and from,' though it sometimes 
has the meaning of ' outside.' It also serves 
as the sign of the infinitive ; but here its 
function, if not its origin, is different, so that 
we are quite right in treating 15 and 16 as 
separate classes.^ 

Meinhof thinks that the use of ku as infinitive prefix 
was a later development from its locative function. 

cases: the locative 77 

Puj kuj mu are the prefixes of Classes 
i6, 17, 18 respectively; but they differ in one 
important respect from the other prefixes. 
These, as a rule (with the exception, in some 
cases, of augmentatives and diminutives), are 
attached to the bare root, which cannot be 
used without them, while pa, ku, mu are 
prefixed to the whole noun, root and all, as in 
Nyanja pa-chilindOj ^ at the look-out,'^ ku- 
chilindOj mu chilindo ; not pa-Undo j ku-lindo^ 
mu'lindo. But in all other respects they are 
true prefixes and take their own concord, 
entirely superseding the one properly belonging 
to their noun^ when used by itself. For 
instance, chilindoy being a noun of the seventh 
class, would take the possessive particle, cha 
and pronoun chi : 

Chi-lindo ch-a Pembereka chi-ri cha-bwino : 
(The) watch-hut of Pembereka it is good. 

But Pa-chilindo pa Pembireka pa-li pa-bwino 
would mean, * At Pembereka's watch-hut it is 
(a) good (place).' 

So we may have also : 

* Chilindo, also called nsanja (* staging ' or ' plat- 
form is a imall temporary structure raised on poles, 
open or roofed, erected in the fields so that watchers 
can overlook the ripening crops and scare away birds, 
monkeys or other depredators. 

78 cases: the locative 

Ku'Chilindo kwa Pembereka ku-li kwa-bwino, 
with much the same meaning as the last 
sentence, except that the place is thought of 
from the standpoint of one who is at a distance 
from it and going, or thinking of going, towards 
it; while m'chilindo (for mu-chilindo) mwa 
Pembereka mu-li mwa-bwino, means : * the 
inside of Pembereka's watch-hut is good.' 

Some nouns, as kamwa^ * mouth,' are never 
found without the locative prefix — we have 
pa-kamwa^ ku-kamwa and m-kamwa, but never 
kafnwa alone. The word is evidently connected 
with 7nwa * drink/ — perhaps ka is the prefix of 
a lost class distinct ftrom the diminutive. 

Here are some further illustrations, also 
from Nyanja: 

A-li'ku-nka kumunda kwa Champiti : he is 
going to (the) garden of Champiti. 

Ku-mudzi kwanu ku-li kwa-bwino : -at our 
village it is good. 

KU'Mlanje ku4i mpunga, koma ku-Kabula 
ktmo ku'libe : at Mlanje there is rice but 
at Kabula here there is none. 

Kuno, * here,' is really a demonstrative, 
agreeing not with * Kabula^* but with * ku- 
Kabula j' as though, instead of * here at 
Kabula,' one had said *at this at-Kabula.' 

cases: the locative 79 

A mistake to be found in some of the older 
grammars is illustrated in Steere's Handbook 
of Swahili (p. 22) by the statement that a class 
(the seventh, in his arrangement) contains ' the 

* Qne word mahali, place or places, which re- 

* quires special forms in all adjectives and pro- 
'noun^Z Mahali is really a borrowed Arabic 
word, which is sometimes Bantuized (oftener, 
I think, at Zanzibar than at Mombasa) by 
substituting pa for the first syllable, as if the 
latter were a removable prefix, and so making 
it into a noun of the sixteenth class. Steere 
mentions the locative concord a little later on, 
but does not call it a class (though including 
it in his * Table of Concords *). The change 
undergone by the Swahili locative (which we 
shall discuss presently) has so obscured the 
relation between it and mahali or pahali that 
without a fuller comparative study than was 
possible when Steere wrote, it was not likely 
to be perceived. 

Several languages have a word for ' place ' 
which is either pa-ntu^ or some cognate form 
and may have the same root as mu-ntu. In 
Ganda, where primitive Bantu p becomes Wy 
we have the nearly obsolete waiitu, which was 
at first thought to constitute a class by 

80 cases: the locative 

itself.^ But wUj as well as mu and ku, is prefixed 
to other nouns, which are also used as adverbs : 
wa-nsiy * the ground ' or * below ' ; mu-itda, 
* the inside/ * or within.' There is also a 
prefix e, not generally found among the 
locatives, but which may possibly have some 
connection with the peculiar Zulu form. 

In Pokomo we h^Lvefantu (bilabial/, for/>), 
in Giryama hatu, elsewhere hantu, handu^ etc. 
(A great many East African languages 
substitute h for />, except in certain particular 
^cases : e,g.^ Giryama has hendzay * love,' for 
Swahili penda.) 

Some languages have this word also with 
the prefix ku : kuntu, kundu ; but mu-ntUj 
ntu-ndtiy if used at all is less common, perhaps 
because it would have the same form as the 
word for * person.** 

1 « 

The tenth class contains the single word wantUf 
place *' ; this word is obsolete except in the single 
expression buliwantu, ** everywhere." But its influence 
in the language is great, because adjectives, pronouns, 
verbs and adverbs are all formed with the prefix wa-, 
referring to this disused word, eg,, wano wa-lungu, 
" this is a pretty spot." * — Pilkington. Wano walungu 
exactly corresponds with Nyanja pano {pa li) pabwino. 

In Zigula * the prefix appropriate to the word hantu 

place " is ha, and as it belongs exclusively to this word, 

its mere presence is sufficient to indicate that i)/a:ce is the 

cases: the locative 81 ' 

Kongo has vuma (v for p), kuma, muma, as 
three different forms of the word for * place.' 
These take the locative concords as we find 
them elsewhere, but other nouns preceded 
by .the corresponding prepositions keep their 
concords instead of taking a locative concord. 
Muma seems sometimes to be treated as the 
plural of vuntd : this may arise from a confu- 
sion of the m- with the sixth prefix (as though 
it were contracted from nta-uma) and possibly 
indicates that the whole system is dying out in 
some df the western Bantu languages. Bentley 
remarks concerning vuma : * In most Bantu 

* languages a corresponding word for place 
' will be found standing in a separate class of 

* its own, and wearing a prefix va, pa, or 
' something similar.' This is the same mistake 
adverted to just now, and no doubt one reason 
for it is that the prefixes of these words are 
not, as a rule, removable ; but they really 
come under the same heading as the locatives 

substantive referred to, so that the word hantu is often 
omitted. The same rule refers to the more indefinite 
ku-ntu and its appropriate syllable kit-, and also to 
fnu-ntu, tnu-.* — Kisbey. 

Archdeacon Woodward, though mentioning the mu- 
concord, does not refer to the word tnti-ntti, * in a place,' 
which, however, certainly occurs in the Likoma dialect 
of Nyanja. 

82 cases: the locative 

which are made up as wanted and simply put 
the preposition before the ordinary noun- 
prefix. We draw a distinction between the 
two — but the Bantu speaker feels none. 

We now come to the suffixed locative in 
-ni, which seems to be confined to Bleak's 
South-Eastern Branch of the Bantu family 
and to a few languages in East Africa, of 
which Swahili, Bondei, Hehe, and Makua are 
the chief, if not the only ones — and in Makua 
it is combined with the prefixed locative — 
mashi = water ; va-mashi-ni = at the water ; 
m-mashi-ni= in the water. 

But the prefix has quite disappeared in 
Swahili, and the locative is simply formed by 
suffixing -ni, which may mean * in,' * at,' * on,' 
* from,' * to,' etc. 

nyumba-ni = in the house. The accent is always 

mji-ni = to the town, shifted forward by the 

kiti-ni = on the chair, locative suffix, seep. 15. 

But the concord differs according to what 
is impliefl in the suffix. * In my house,' is 
nyumbani mwangUj ^ to my house,' nyumbani 
kwangu ; * he is sitting on my chair,' anakaa 
kitini pangUj and so on. 

cases: the locative 83 

A-H-anguka tnlangoni pangu. 
He fell down at my door. 
Atakwenda shambani kwake. 
He will go to his plantation. 
Amelala nyumhani mwako. 
He is lying down in your house. 

This concord is not found in Zulu, where, 
however, the rules for applying the suffix are 
not quite so simple as in Swahili. We may 
suppose that it originally had the form -ini : 
this is rendered probable by the effect it has 
on the final vowel of the noun. A becomes e, 
e and i remain unchanged ; (f becomes we, and 
w, wi (or sometimes i, eliding the final vowel 
instead of chahging it into w). The initial 
vowel is changed into e (in a few cases, in ii 
and 14, into 0), foF which I can suggest no 
reason, though it may possibly have some 
connection with the locative prefix which 
appears in Ganda as e-. 

intaha = mountain makes entaheni, 

izwe = country „ ezwent, 

isi-hlalo = seat „ esihlalweni, 

in-dhlu = house „ endhlwini or endhlini. 

In Chwana this locative is found in the 
form ng^ as in the well-known place-names 
Mafeking and ShoShong. The same termina- 
tion is used to form a kind of participle, to 

84 cases: the locative 

which we shall refer later on, in connection 
with the relative pronoun and the verb. In 
Ronga and other languages of the Delagoa 
Bay district, the locative suffix is -m, though 
the final i is frequently dropped : tikwettj ^ in 
the country,' from tiko. 

The preposition ku still exists in all these 
languages (in Chwana under the form xo), but 
pa and mu are no longer found independently. 
That they did exist in Zulu is shown by the 
adverbs pansi^j pezulu {= pa + izulu = * on the 
sky' = * above'), pa-katiy * in the midst,' 
pa-ndhUj ' outside,' etc. When used as pre- 
positions these are followed by kwa, as pakati 
kwendhlu {kwa-indhluV 'inside the house,' — 
which, properly, should only go with ku- but 
has quite usurped the place of pa- and mu-. 
The latter, however, survives in Chwana, in 
combination with the suffix, as mo motsengy 
* in the village ' {motse) . 

Some nouns whose presence in the ku- class 

'fisi is no longer used in Zulu as a noun, but it is 
found in Swahili as nti, nchi^ meaning * land,' * earth.* 
Instead of the adverb pa-nsi, * down,* below,* ti-ni or 
chi-ni is used. In Chwana the root and prefix {ha-tse) 
have bect)me so closely welded together that they are 
looked on as inseparable and have been given a fresh 
prefix, le-hatse 5. 

cases: the locative 85 

is difficult to understand and is rendered still 
more perplexing by the fact that they have a 
plural in ma-j are to be accounted for as 
Locatives. The Nyanja kutu, * ear,' pi. 
ma-kutUj might be taken if it stood alone as a 
fifth-class noun which has dropped its prefix 
li' ; but it cannot be dissociated from the 
Herero oku-twij pi. oma-twiy and Ndonga 
oko'tshwi, pi. oma-kotshwi. Properly, the 
word means * to the ear,' * the place of the 
ear,' and then, the word being generally used 
with the locative prefix, the separate nature of 
the latter was forgotten, as was the case with 
the Chwana hatse. The same applies to the 
Herero oku-oko^ * arm,' pi. oma-oko; Kongo 
k-oko, pi. fft'Oko, Other examples in Herero 
are oku-rama, * leg ' ; oku4i, * veld, open 
country,' oku-rtWj * hearth,' oku-apa, * armpit.' 
It is evident that all these may have a locative 
sense, and that, wherever similar words are 
found, they should be placed in Class 17. 
The uncertainty about the prefixes shows 
that their original meaning is almost, if not 
quite forgotten, and that they tend more and 
more to be regarded as part of the stem. 


The Pronoun 

The Pronoun is one of the most important 
features of the Bantu Languages. I do not 
even add * next to the Prefixes,' because 'the 
two are so intimately associated that it is 
difficult to say which should have the priority. 

It used to be thought that the Pronouns and 
Prefixes were, in the last resort, identical, 
whatever their origin — whether they were 
nouns which had lost their distinctive 
character and become mere formative elements 
(like the suffixes of * king-dom,' ^ man-hood,' 
* lord-ship,' which have long ceased to have 
any independent value) — or whether they 
already, even as separate words, had the force 
of pronouns. (Bleek's discussion of this 
subject — Comparative Grammar, pp. 123-131 — 
should be carefully read, though time has 
shown that it requires some modification.) 

Meinhof {GnmdzUg£, p. 35) points out that 



the prefix and pronoun are not identical, but 
that the latter is really the demonstrative 
particle, discussed in Chapter III., which 
became incorporated with the prefix and was 
then, in many cases, lost, but survives, e.g. in 
Zulu, as the * initial vowel.' It was, as we 
have seen, originally 7a, but assimilated its 
vowel to that of the prefix which followed it. 

Thus we have : 

3 'Ya+mu = ytifnu = umu, and the pronoun yu=gu, u 

4 ya+mi = 'Yitni, =imi „ „ „ yi—git i 

6 ya+ma^yama^atna „ „ „ ya=ga,yafa 
9 ya+ni=yini = in' „ „ „ yyi=yi,t 

Where the prefix does not begin with a 
nasal, e.g., in 2, 5, 7, 8, the demonstrative (or 
* article ') disappears without leaving a trace, 
and the noun-prefix only remains, to serve as 
pronoun — so we get the pronouns ba, ki, li, 

^ Class 1 has been omitted here because, as Meinhof 
says, * it contains all sorts of irregularities, as is not 
surprising in a class so much used.* One would expect 
its pronoun to be yu, like that of Class 3, and in fact u 

and o, which are found in Zulu and Chwana, evidently 
come from that form. But the Swahili yu cannot have 
come from it, so Meinhof thinks there must have been a 
second pronoun yyu, of which he explains the formation 

on p. 36 of the work cited in the text, whence the 
substance of this note, and of the paragraphs imme- 


This simplest form of the pronoun is never 
— or, if at all, very seldom — used by itself, 
but is always attached to a verb, or to an 
adjective with the verb * to be ' understood. 
We shall refer to it, henceforward, as the 
' Inseparable Pronoun.' Its use as the 
* copula ' — where, in some cases, it assumes a 
different form — will be discussed in the next 

The following Table shows the ' Inseparable 
Pronoun ' in our eight typical languages, as 
compared with the noun-prefixes. Some 
languages — especially Duala and Kongo — tend 
to use the unaltered prefixes of all classes 
before verbs by a mierely mechanical repetition, 
having lost their feeling for the pronoun 
as such. This explains the occurrence of 
such forms as mi- and ma-, where we should 
expect i' and a-. 

The pronouns of the first and second 

diately preceding it in the text, is taken. As for the 
alternative pronoun a, which has almost displaced yu in 
Swahili, it is no doubt a remnant of the unaltered ya ; 

but it is not clear why it did not assimilate its vowel to 
the first prefix, or why, in Herero and Chwana, for 
instance, a is sometimes used in dependent sentences, 
while in principal sentences we have u or its equivalent. 
This last fact may possibly be connected with the 
function of a as relative particle. 


persons have, of course, no noun-prefixes 
corresponding to them and stand outside the 
framework of tlie classes. They are therefore 
placed by themselves at the head of each 
column in the Table. 

The use of these pronouns is illustrated in 
Chapter II. They are used both as subject 
and object; the first class and the second 
person, singular and plural, are in almost all 
cases the only ones with separate objective 
forms. And, even of these, the second person 
plural is not common. (Swahili has -ze;a-, 
Zigula, -mi- J Ganda, -ba-). Whatever other 
particles are prefixed to the verb-root, the 
obj^t-pronoun must always come next it. 

E.g., u-ya-ngi-bona (Zulu), *he sees me'; 
wa-ku'tshaya (Zulu), ' he beat thee \\ a-li-m^ 
fundisha (Swahili), *he taught him.' 

Duala and Kongo have no object-pronoun 
before the verb — though it exists in some 
cognate dialects such as Isubu. The object 
is expressed by a separable pronoun following 
the verb. 

The reflexive pronoun, which is alike for all 
persons and numbers, is placed in the same 
position as the object-pronoun. In Zulu it is 
zi^ as in uku-zi-tanda^ * to love one's self ' ; in 





a ■* 

•J- i a 




I I 



a a 

a a •?, 

9 9 I 

P-4 «« I 



I I 










9 .A 

23.A5i li55i I 







i CO .M .M 

•^ .14 ^ ua 




I <il d> 9 i I 

' ^ .o ^ .a 

PI. tu- 


























iTJ = 







































^ 1 


d 9 




C 9 



4-1 "^ 



U 0} 


« I 
J< o 



" d 


• mm 

a d 







d (« 9 

M • I I • ^^ (V •^ 

a ^ ^ a I i i i 




^ i I d ^ I I 






c« A .A 


• I (d 9 9 (d 9 
d I i2 43 Jd 0« .M 



a* a I a 

M .A 




fl • • I * 

. I 01 . d (d d ; 
d I ^ 9 ^ a ^ I 






A A ^ I d Q) 9 j 

9 ^ 9 .A 

a 01 a a 

A A ^ 

. B ^ '5:1 . ^ 
d) o o o 00 

0000 O O O ( 



6 01 6 ^ 

C) • ^ M A m o I I 
^ (d M ^ o ns p-4 I I 

^, s 

i I 





I a a ii a s 

Q) MM 

I ^ i I I 

6 ^ « 





i i 

11 * 

US «d ^ N J. N 

i I I ^ 2 I I I 

9 l. 9 • A rt . , c 

art a S .^ fl .A -A «. .3 

9 <5 9 .2 .« cd — •"» •« •— 

I I I I I I I I 

0) :: 


G9 CO 

us«Dfe-oo oo^^geg;* J9S5;5S 


Nyanja, dzi; in Swahiliyf; in Herero ri ; 
elsewhere i, yi, etc. Meinhof thinks the 
original form was yi. 

There are longer forms of the pronouns, 
which can stand by themselves and need not 
be used with the verb except for emphasis. 
The different languages form these in various 
ways, and in some of them it\is difficult to 
trace any resemblance to the Inseparable 
Pronoun. In fact they are built up rather on 
what is called the ' prepositional form ' of the 
pronouns (though some of them depart 
considerably even from this) , which, accordingly, 
it will be better to take first. 

This is a form which is suffixed to 
prepo^tions : expressions like * with me ' ; ' to 
him,* etc., being treated as one word. There 
is a form for every class — just as there is of 
the Inseparable Pronoun— as well as for the 
First and Second Persons. Thus we have (in 
several languages) nami {= na + mi), * with 
me,' 'and I,' kumi, * to me,* etc. These forms 
are also used in connection with Relative 
Pronouns, as we fehall see presently. 

Like the Inseparable Pronoun they are 
never found alone — if not attached to preposi- 
tions, they are suffixed to the possessive 


particle, in a way which will be explained 

The separable, or independent, pronouns 
are usually — if not always — built up out of 
these forms. They exist in most languages 
for the three persons. singular and plural, and, 
in some, for all the classes. But some, like 
Swahili and Nyanja, have none for any 
classes after the first and second, using the 
demonstrative pronouns instead. 

The Possessive Pronoun consists of two 
parts and has to be considered under two 

It is made up of : 

(1) The possessive particle of the class to which 

the thing possessed belongs {wa, ba, ya, etc.)i 

(2) Either (a) a special pronoun-root for the first 

and second persons, or (6) the * prepositional 
form' of pronoun indicating the class of 
the Possessor. The first class is usually 
exceptional in this respect, having a different 
suffix for the Possessive. 

We will now take the six possessive pronouns 
of the three persons singular and plural in the 
same eight languages as before. Chwana 
seems to be exceptional in having some of the 









2nd „ 

Si. PI. 
-mi, -ti 
-we, -ni 

Si. PI. 
-no, -ro 
-o, -lo 

Si. PI. 

Si. PI. 
-ne, -fe 
-we, -nu 

Si. PI. 
-mi, -swi 

Si. PI. 

-nge, -fe 


Si. PI. 

-se, -fe 
























-wo, -0 ' 





























-so, -sho 


























-ro ^ 











•Iwo - 















-ko - 




-vyo, -yo 






































This form of pronoun does not appear to be used in Kongo. 









2nd „ 

Si. PI. 
mina, tina 

wena nina 

Si. PI. 
nna rona 

wona lona 

Si. PI. 



SI. PI. 
nze fwe 

gwe mwe 

Si. PI. 
mono yeto 

nge yeno 





























































































"~ 1 






' — 














. — 


Nyanja, Swahili and Gisu use the Demonstratives for all classes but the first. 

Nyanja. 1st Pers. Si. ine 
Swahili. „ mimi 

Gisu. „ ise 


Nyanja. 1st Pers. PI. ife 
Swahili. „ sisi 

Gisu. „ if we 

2nd twe 
,, we we 
„ iwe 

2nd inu 
„ ninyi 
„ ■ inywe 

3rd lye 








forms reduplicated (-^x^x^j^stead of -axo^ako). 
There are also forms in some dialects which 
are simply these separable pronouns with the 

possessive particle prefixed to them a rona^ 

* our ' (lit. * of us ') ; -a lona, * your ' ; -a vottUj 

' their/ 


Chwana HercroNyanja 

SwahiliGanda Gisu Kongo 



-aka * 




















































These, if the thing possessed is of the 
first class, have the possessive particle wa 
prefixed to them : wami, ixrame (some Chwana 
books print o ame), wandye, wanga, wangtij etc. 

In Zulu, * my child' is umntwana wami ; in 
Nyanja, mwana wanga, and so on, * My 
children,' would be abantwana bamij ana anga; 
* my village,' timuzi wami, mudzi wangay * my 
country,' izwe lami, dziko langa. There is no 
need to multiply examples. 

In all these pronouns, the second part of the 


word does not vary, but if the possessor is of the 
third person and of any class except the firsts the 
suffix has often to change as well as the 

In Zulu, ihashi lake is * his horse,' supposing 
that * his ' represents a noun of the first class — 
say tinm-ntti, um-fana, etc. But it might stand 
for a fifth-class noun : i-BanUy ' a Boer,' — or a 
seventh : Ssi-hambij * a traveller,' — or a ninth : 
in-doda, * a n^n ' ; in-kosiy * a chief.' In these 
cases we must say : 

His (the Boer's) horse = ihashi lalo. 
„ (the traveller's) „ = ihashi laso. 
„ (the chief's) „ = ihashi layo. 

That is, the first part of the word is the 
possessive particle agreeing with the thing 
possessed, and the second the pronoun 
agreeing with the possessor. 

In this way, the number of classes jnulti- 
plied by itself will give the number of possible 
possessives — or would, if some of the forms 
did not coincide, so^ as to make them less 
numerous. There is a neat diagram of Gisu 
forms on p. 34 of the Rev. J. B. Purvis's 
Lumasaba Grammar. We need not give a 
table, as, the principle being known, it is quite 


easy to combine any form wanted 'from the 
previous tables. 

The double agreement seems to be confined 
to the more archaic Bantu languages. It is 
found, as we have just seen, in Zulu and Gisu ; 
also in Chwana, Herero, Ganda, Kinga and 
others ; but not in Swahili, Nyanja or Kongo. 

Demonstrative Pronouns. — These are usually 
three in number ;' one, equivalent to * this,' 
denoting what is near the speaker ; a second, 
what is somewhat farther off (in some cases, 
what has been referred to before) ; and the 
third, what is at a distance. They are built 
up, in different ways, from the Inseparable 
Pronoun ; a very common modification is that 
the first demonstrative ends in ti, which is 
changed in the second to o, while the third is 
formed by suffixing another syllable to the 
first, or to its latter half. This process is 
most clearly seen in Swahili and Nyanja. 
Sometimes the first half appears to be taken, 
as in Kongo {o-yu, and o-na, a-ya, and a-na). 
Li (Ganda) and la (Gisu) may be the same 
element as le^ which, Meinhof thinks, may be 
connected with the root -le, -de, * long,' and so 
suggest distance. This and other points 
relating to the origin of the demonstrative, 



which it is no part of my plan to discuss, may 
be found in the second chapter of the Grundziige 
einer vergttichenden Gra^nmatik der Banhi- 











e n 












































There are other demonstrative forms built 
up from these — e,g.j the two * emphatic 
demonstratives ' in Kongo, which we need not 
notice here. 

In Nyanja we have two other demonstrative 
roots which may be mentioned here, because 
they are used in a way which illustrates the 
transition from the demonstrative to the 
relative. They are -mwe, * the same,' and 
-mene, * this same,' * that same,' * that very 
one/ etc., with their compounds, formed' by 
suffixes corresponding to the three degrees of 
the demonstrative already given. -Mene, 



when used without these suffixes, simply means 
* who,' or ' which,' — as 

mu-ntu a-tnent a-na-gwira nchito. 
The man who did work. 

zi-ntu xi-mene gi-na-ni-sautsa. 

The things which grieved me. 


fftuntu ameneyu = this same man. 

muntu amentyo and amene tidya = that same man. 

chi-ntu chi-mcnC'Chi = this same thing. 

kasu li'tnene'lo = that same hoe, etc., etc. 

We shall return to these two pronouns in 
the course of the next section. 

A special form of demonstrative — sometimes 
called ' adverbial demonstratives,' and mean- 
ing * Here he is,' * here they are,' — is especially 
noticeable in Zulu — nangUj nanku, naba, etc. 
They need not be further noticed here. 

The Relative Pronoun. — This constitutes 
somewhat of a difficulty in many Bantu 
languages, though some cannot be said to 
have any relative at all. The relative, as we 
understand it, hardly belongs to the earlier 
stages of speech. It implies a co-ordination 
of ideas — a fitting of separate notions together, 
whereas children, and primitive people, think 
of OQC thing at a time and express it in a 


sentence by itself. The child will say, * I saw 
a man. The man had a dog/ — putting the 
two ideas, as it were, side by side. The next 
step is — * I saw a man ; he had a dog ' ; and 
then we come to — * I saw a man who had a 
dog/' In the second case, we have two 
co-ordinate sentences, of equal importance ; in 
the third, a principal and a subordinate 
sentence, which together make up a complex 
one. Many Bantu languages cannot form 
complex sentences at all, and those which can, 
only do so to a limited extent. 

In Nyanja there is no true relative. The 
typical form of sentence runs thus : 

ntuntu a-na-divala dzulo wafa. 

The man (who) was ill yesterday is dead : 

— literally, * The man, he was ill yesterday : 
he died.' But, to make the reference of the 
second clause more definite, a demonstrative 
is inserted. One could say, uyo wdfa^ or xidya 
wafa; but more commonly either -mwt or 
-mtnt is employed. 

ntuntu yemxve anadwala dzulo wafa. Or 
tnuntu amene anadwala dzulo wafa, 
mhalame zimene zinadia mbeu za-gwidwa. 
* The birds which ate the seeds have been caught.' 

The pronoun 101 

Pamene (Class i8), * the place which,' is used 
for * where ' — and, by an extension of meaning, 
for * when/ 

In other languages the relative is rendered 
by a particle prefixed to. the verb and the 

* prepositional form ' of a pronoun placed after 
it. The simplest form of this is found in 
Swahili : a-sema-ye (or, nn Mombasa dialect, 
a-sema-e), * he who speaks ' ; li-anguka-loy ' that 
(fifth class) which falls ' ; ki-waka-cho^ * that 
(seventh class) which burns.' This, when 
analysed, is seen to be really equivalent to 

* he speaks (that is) he ' ; * it falls (that is) it.* 
This seems to be nearer the mark than to 
speak of a ' relative pronoun expressed by a 
syllable formed of the letter -o, preceded by 
the initial consonants proper to its antecedent ' 
(Steere's Exercises, p. 22) ; but the construc- 
tion is exceedingly difficult to make clear, 
except in the light of comparative grammar. 

When the relative is the object^ it may be 
expressed by using the same form, but insert- 
ing the proper object-pronoun before the verb 
and making the suffixed pronoun agree with 
the object, not the subject. 

Thus * (the knife)- which I want,' is {kisu) 
ni'ki4aka'Cho — literally, * I it want (that is) it.' 


-Po, 'ko^ and -wo, as relatives, indicate the 
notion of * where ' or * when ' — ni'lala-po^ 

* where (or when) I sleep ' ; a-taka-pOy ' when 
he wishes/ As we see, this relative is inti- 
mately combined with the verb — so it is in 
many other cases ; and this once more 
illustrates the difficulty of applying our 
received grammatical classification and 
arrangement. In Steere's Hafidbook of Swahiliy 
the treatment of the verb has in some degree 
to be anticipated in the chapter on pronouns, 
while that on the verb has to include the 
application of the relative pronoun to certain 
tenses. ^ 

While the use of the accepted nomenclature 
is, up to a certain point, convenient and even 
necessary ; we must never allow ourselves to 
think of its definitions as rigid boundaries, as 
though words could be isolated in closed 
compartments, like specimens in a museuni. 
This applies even in English : if children are 
taught, for instance, in parsing a sentence like 

* Tell him that he must not do that,' to call 
the first * that ' a conjunction and the second 
a pronoun, they will be apt to lose sight of the 
connection between the two. But if we treat 
grammar as a kind of unchanging framework 


into which every language must be fitted, we 
get such absurdities as conjugating a verb * to 
have ' which does not exist, or * declining ' a 
Bantu noun, which, as we have already seen, 
cannot be done. 

A more elaborate form of the Swahili 
relative combines the two pronouns with a 
tense-particle as well as the verb and thus 
forms three tenses ; in the simpler form no 
tense-distinction is possible. 

Present : a-na-ye-piga, u-na-o-piga, li-na-lo-piga. 

* he (it) who (which) strikes.' 

Past : a-li-ye-piga^ u-li-o-piga, li-li-lo-piga. 

* he (it) who (which) struck.* 

Future : a-taka-ye-piga, u-taka-o-piga, li-taka-lo- 

* he (it) who (which) will strike.' 

NUj lij and taka must be reserved for 
discussion in the chapter on verbs. 

If the 'relative is the object, the pronouns 
are changed as before indicated, the only 
difference being displacemfent of the suffix 
(since the object-pronoun must always come 
next to the verb-root). 

* The thing which I like.* 

Kitu ni-na'Cho'ki-penda {penda = like). 


* The house which we bought.* 

Nyumba tu-li-yo-i-nunua {nunua = buy). 

In neither of these forms do we find anything 
like a special relative particle, different from 
the pronouns which, as has been said, may be 
met with in other connections. In Zulu, we 
have two such particles : a-, which is prefixed 
and usually combined with the Separable 
Pronoun as subject, and -yo, which is suffixed 
— in all cases, whatever the class of the ante- 
cedent. Perhaps we can trace a similar 
tendency at work elsewhere, for in Zanzibar 
Swahili 'there is a disposition to make -o 
* the general relative ' (Steere), as alio- for 
aliye-, lilio- for lililo-., etc. 

Examples of the Zulu relative are : 


umtmtu O'bona-yo (for a-u-bonayo) = *a man who 


aba-ntu a-ba-kala-yo = * people who cry out.' 

indhlela e-lungile-yo (for a-i-lungile-yo) = * the 

right path.* 

{Lungile is the perfect of the verb lunga, * to 
be straight ' or * right '). 

The object is inserted in the same way as 
already shown : 


umuntu a-m-honayo^ = * a man whom he sees.* 

We shall again have to notice this relative 
particle a when we come to the Adjectives. 

In Ganda, the principle of the Relative 
formation is that of prefixing a- to whatever 
other pronoun comes before the verb. Thus 
abantu a-ba-laba, * people who see.' (The 
singular, omu-ntu a-laba^ is indistinguishable 
from that which means * a man sees/ becau'fee 
a-f a coalesces with a) This prefix appears as 
or ^ according to the class of the subject : 
omu4i O'gti'gwaj * the tree which falls ' ; emi-ti 
e-gi-gwa^ * the trees which fall.' 

Chwana indicates the relative by suffixing 
the locative termination to the verb, without 
any change in the pronoun. 

* He who has come * — eo o tsileng^ {tsile, pcrf of tsa) 
this one he has-come.' 


Perhaps the most literal rendering of tsileng 
would be * is-at-having-come ' : the perfect 
indicating a state of completed action. In 
fact, this form of the verb is often called a 

* When the object is in the relative, with a subject of 
Class 1, a- is used without the pronoun {u-) — i.e,, the 
relative prefix is a- and not o-. 


participle, and is used as such : mo xo yeng — 
* in eating ' ; and, looked at closely, it is easy 
to see that the idea of the participle and that 
of the locative may run into one another. 

In Ronga the relative construction consists 

(1) the demonstrative, followed by the Inseparable 

(2) -ka suffixed to the verb, if present, -ikif if past. 
mhunu Iweyi a-famba-ka^ *the man who walks.* 

(man that he-walks.) 
Tihomu leti ti-famha-ka = * the cattle which walk.' 
Tihomu leti hi-ti'Shah-iki = * the cattle which we 

{shaba = * buy * ; hi = ^ we.*) 

M. Junod thinks this ka is originally an 
auxiliary verb. 

Herero seems to come nearest to our 
conception of the relative. There is a special 
form of pronoun, different from the demonstra- 
tive and used exactly as we use * who ' or 
* which ' — though, of course, it varies with the 
class of the antecedent. 

(1) omundu ngu muna = * the man who sees.' 

(2) ovandu mbe muna = * the people who stc.* 

(3) omuti mbu ua = * the tree which falls.* 

(4) omiti mbi ua = do. (plural). 


(5) eho ndi muna = * the eye which sees.* 

(6) omeho nge muna = do. (plural). 

The above is the * participial present ' tense, 
which is of simpler formation than the 
* present.' 

There are variations for other tenses, which 
need not be given here. ^ 

Finally, Kongo has no relative, properly 
speaking ; * the relative pronouns are identical 
in form and usage with the demonstrative.' 

We might enumerate other varieties; but 
the above are sufficient to show that various 
stages of evolution from the simple to the 
complex sentence are illustrated in different 
parts of the Bantu language-field. 

This is, perhaps, the best place to mention 
the Interrogatives, some of which, by function, 
are pronouns, some adjectives, and some 
adverbs. Some are invariable ; others take 
the class-prefixes ; and of the latter, some, 
which are used as adjectives (and also the 
words for * all ' and * only '), are inflected like 
pronouns. (This point will be more easily 
madp clear when speaking of adjectives.) 

The following Table show^ how the treat- 
ment of these words varies, even when the 
roots are cognate. 



Zulu < 

Ghwana Herero Nyanja 

SwahiliGanda Gisu Kongo 



-mang ? 

-ani ? 

ndani ? 


-ani ? 















tyike ? 



kuti ? 








veyi ? 


-ngaki ? 


-ngapi ? 

-ngati ? 

-ngapi ? 


-enga ? 



-njani ? 



-ttni ? 


-tya ? 



The forms without hyphens are invariable. 

There is a set of pronouns sometimes called 
the * Indicative Form,' meaning * It is 1/ * It 
is he/ etc. But, as they are a combination of 
the Pronoun and the Copala, it will be better 
to reserve them for the next chapter. 


The Copula and the Verb 'To Be ' 

In most European grammars, the first thing 
learned is the conjugation of the verbs * to 
have ' ajid * to be.' In ^Bantu there is no 
verb * to have,' and * to be ' is relegated, 
comparatively speaking, to the background. 

* Have ' is expressed by * be with,' or simply 
by * with,' with the * be ' understood. * I have 
a house 'is in Swahili nina nyumba: literally 

* I with house ' ; in Zulu * we have maize ' 
is sinombila {si-na-umbila) , This one fact 
shows how necessary it is for those who draw 
up grammars to take the language as they 
find it, instead of trying to fit it into the 
framework of any pre-conceived scheme. The 
late Dr. Henry began his Chinyanja Grammar 
— in many respects an excellent piece of 
work — by conjugating the non-existent verb 

* to have.' 



Most — if not all — Bantu languages have a 
verb ' to be,' but it is not often used in more 
than one or two tenses, and, in many cases, 
does not appear at all j ust where we should 
expect to find it. Thus its place may be 
supplied by the inseparable pronoun, as, in 
Zulu : Vitanga ' it is a pumpkin,' Vulwandhle 
* it is the sea,' sVsitsha * it is a dish,' etc. 

Or it may be omitted altogether. 

SWAHILI : Hamisi mpagazi : ' Hamisi (is) a porter.' 
Zulu : ngi-lapa : * I (am) here * {lapa = here) ; 

Ku-njalO'ke ' it (is) so.' 
Herero : Owami omuhona : * I (am) a king.* 

Sometimes * is,' * are,' are rendered by an 
invariable particle : Swahili ni, Nyanja ndi, 
Chwana ke. 

Nyanja : Nyalugwe ndi chirombo choopsya : 

* The leopard is a terrible beast.' 

Chwana : Boshwa jwa tau ke letlalo : 

* The lion's inheritance is the-skin.' 

Swahili : Dalili ya mvua ni mawingu : 

* The sign of rain is clouds.' (Proverb.) 

As stated above, the inseparable pronoun 
of the class to which the noun belongs can be 
substituted for this invariable copula, as Hii i 


nyumba (instead of kii ni nyuntba) 'this is a 
house ' ; hizi zi nyuniba^ * these are houses ' 
mti u mztcrij * the tree is fine' (Swahili) 
ritangaj * it is a pumpkin ' (for lt{li) tango) 
rulwandhle {lu{hi)lwandhle) * it is the sea' 
Vutywala ^ it is beer ' ; zinkomo (contracted from 
z'izinkomo), ^ they are cattle ' (Xosa) ; lo* nttmtu 
VidakUy * that man is a sot * ; waba Vukuni^ ' he 
was (like) a log ' (Zulu). But we sometimes 
find forms which cannot be thus accounted 
for, as in Zulu : nguwena, * it is you * ; nguyena^ 
* it is he * ; yHmina (or umina) * it is I * ; 
ftgumuntti, Vit is a person' ; ng'amehloj * they 
are eyes,' etc. 

The truth seems to be that this copula is 
the old demonstrative root supposed by 
Meinhof to have been originally 7a, which 
being placed before nouns gradually assimi- 
lated its vowel to their prefixes, became ngu^ 
^i^j ^Sh etc., and finally dropped its consonant 
or became a mere duplicate of the prefix 
(as in Gisu ba-ba-ndu). In Swahili ngu 
survives in the form yti as a copula, in such 
phrases as yu mzurij * he is handsome ' ; 
though before the verb it has generally been 
replaced by a. Ila has retained the copula to 
a greater extent than many other languages, 


and it may be of interest to give the forms for 
the different classes here : 



Ngu muntu : * it is a person/ 

Mbo bantu : * they are people.* 

Ngu munzhi : * it is a village.' 

Nji minzhi : * they are villages.' 

Nd'isamo ; ^ * it is a tree.* 

Ngu masamo : * they are trees.* 

nchi chintu : * it is a thing.' 

nshi shintu : * they are things.' 

nimpongo : * it is a goat.' 

nshimpongo : * they are goats.' 

ndu lumo or ndumo : * it is a razor.* 

ntu tushimhi : * they are girls.* 

nku kashitnhi : * it is a girl.* 

Mbuzane, or tnbu buzane : * it is meat/ 

nku kufuna : * it is love.* 

(not found). ' 

nku kutwi : * it is an ear.* 

(not found). 

Most languages combine the copula with 
the personal pronouns (in the * prepositional ' 
or * enclitic ' form) for such expressions as * it 
is 1/ *it is he/ etc. In Swahili ndi is used 
instead of ni for this purpose. 

^ This is a very exceptional word tor 'tree,* as 
puzzling as the Chwana setlare. In the plural it is 
hard to see why assimilation has not taken place : one 
would have expected nga masamo. 


Swahili ' 


Ila Giryama Gisu 

• It is I • - 






• It is this • 





' It is he ' 






' It is we • 






' It is you • 






' It is they ' 






































































































This form does not seem to be used in 
Ganda, where * it i^ I '* is nze^ * it is we,'/^ — 
the same as the pronoun standing alone. 

The above must be distinguished from what 
is sometimes called the * adverbial demonstra- 
tive/ meanfhg ' here he is/ etc., as in Zulu i 
nanktCj 2 . nabo, 3 nangUy 4 nansi, etc., with 
three forms, corresponding to degrees of 
distance, like other demonstratives. 

The copula is sometimes prefixed to' 
adjectives used predicatively (that is, in 
sentences like * the man is good ' as distin- 
guished from * the good man *) as in Ila banttc 
mbabotu 2 * the people are good.' Most of the 
other prefixes, however, have dropped or 
absorbed it, as masamo malamfu 6 * the trees are 
tall/ or * the tall trees.' This pojxit is worth 
noting^ in connection with the difference (to 
which we shall refer in the next chapter) 
between the treatment of adjectives when used 
as predicates and as epithets. Another, and 
somewhat unexpected use of the copula is to 
introduce the agent after passive verbs. We 
find, in Zulu, ^.^., kutshiwo ng'u Ngoza lokOy 
* that is said by N'goza ' ; and the obvious 
explanation is that ng' is the preposition nga, 
which usually indicates instrumentality. Or 


it would be the obvious explanation, were it 
not for the disturbing fact that nga u Ngoza 
should normally become ngo Ngoza, instead of 
eliding its final vowel and leaving the u intact, 
as is done here. Furthermore, if this were so, 
why should we find ngilibele yHmisebenzi, * I have 
been delayed by works;' and not ngemisebenzi ? 
In Swahili, the construction which the foreigner 
would expect, and which is sometimes heard, 
is nimepigwa na huyUj * I have been struck by 
this (man) ' {na, literally * with ' or * and '). 
But the more usual and idiomatic form is 
nimepigwa ni htiyu ' — i.e., literally : * I have 
been struck — it is this man.' So the Zulu 
sentences given above are really equivalent to : 
* It is said — it is Ngoza (who said it)/ * I 
have been delayed — it is works (which have 
done it).' 

As already said, there is an actual verb 
equivalent to * to be ' in most, at any rate, of 
the Bantu languages, though its sphere is 
much more restricted than a knowledge of 
European speech alone would suggest. There 
are several roots common to a number of 
lajiguages, which do not, however, all use 
them in the same way. They are all mono- 
syllables, and therefore classed by most 



grammars among * irregular verbs' — though 
that is hardly a satisfactory way of describing 

Thus, in Swahili, we Have ku-wa, used in 
the past {a-li-kU'Wa * he was *) and the future 
{a-ta-kU'Wa * he will be ') but never in the 
present. This is the same root as the Zulu 
uku-buy which also is not much used in the 
present, except as an auxiliary. Nyanja 
prefers li (or n),^ which in Swahili is only 
found as a particle indicating the past tense. 
Ganda has both ba and /t, and Herero has ri. 
These seem to be the two commonest forms. 
Kongo uses what Bentley calls * the defective 
verb ' nUy^ as in kina vava ' it (CI. 7) is here,' 
and also kala, which * is much more definite, 
and .... means to be habitually or 

But kala is also found in Nyanja and (as 
kaa) in Swahili. Its primary meaning is * sit,' 
and thence * stay ' or ' live ' in a place : in 
Nyanja its use is so extended that sometimes 
it is really equivalent to a verb ' to be/ The 

^ The pronunciation varies with the preceding vowel : 
ndiri, uH, ali, tiri, etc. 

* Nna is *to be ' in Chwana. 


Zulu hlala} seems to be the same word, but 
its meaning is not quite so widely extended. 
This verb is an excellent illustration of the 
way in which the abstract notion of * being ' 
may be developed out of such a simple 
concrete one as * sitting ' or * staying.* Kara 
is similarly used in Herero. 


* As a rule, Zulu hi corresponds to s in Nyanja; 
'hlanu, -sanu, * five ' ; in-hlatu, n-satu * python ' : 
hlambaf samba * bathe.* There is? however, a Nyanja 
word sala * remain * (of which the use is somewhat more 
restricted than kala) but it is more properly tsala, and 
sala is also found in Zulu (as in the parting salutation 
sala kahle) Ila has kala sit,' and shala 'remain/ 
side by side . 


The Adjective 

There are very few real adjectives in Bantu. 
Their place is often supplied by nouns and 
verbs. Thus Nyanja has no adjective to 
express * bad ' or * black ' ; but there are verbs 

* to be bad ' (ku-ipa) and ^ to be black ' {ku-da)^ 
and the place of the adjective is taken by a 
kind of participle formed of the infinitive with 
the possessive particle prefixed to it. * Black ' 
is wa kU'da * of being black,' or, more literally, 

* of to-be-black,' and * bad ' wa ku-ipa^ usually 
contracted into woipa} This constfuction, 
which has a genitive or partitive force, as the 

*Chwana participle in ng has a locative force, 
sometimes replaces a relative pronoun. We 
can say, for instance, mnyamata wosaka (for 
wa-kU'Saka) nyama, * the youth who hunts 

^ Monosyllabic verbs do not contract, so it is wa -ku-da^ 
never woda, 



game/ mzungu wosakala * the white man who 
never sits down/ {Sa is a negative particle, 
to be explained in a later chapter.) 

Or the idea may be expressed by a tense of 
the finite verb. * He is fat ' is a-li-ktc-nenepa^ 
from kii-nenepa * to be fat ' ; * there are too 
many fowls ' nkuku zi-chumka {kti-chtiruka * to 
be too many'). So, too, in Zulu: uku-lamba 
' to be hungry,' tikti-tshisa ■ to be hot,' uku-godola 
' to be cold,' ukti'hmga * to be straight ' (and 
thence * upright,' * good '), etc. 

Nouns are usually made to do the work of 
adjectives by having the possessive particle 
prefixed to them. So, in Nyanja, wa nipamva 
is * strong ' (literally * of strength ' ) ; * good ' 
wa bwino, * many ' wa mbiri, ' new ' wa tsopano. 
Bwino and mbiri are not at present used by 
themselves ; tsopano is an adverb of time 
meaning * now ' (so that * a new thing ' is, 
literally, * a thing of now ') ; but all three may 
once have been nouns. 

Zulu seems to prefer a relative construction 
in similar cases ; * a strong man ' is umimhi 
onamandhla (a'tc-na-amandhla) ; literally * a man 
who he (is) with strength.' And a very 
common and curious idiom in Swahili is the 
use of mwenye ' owner,' in the sense of 


* having': mwenye nguvu 'strong,' literally 

* owner (of) strength.' 

The genuine adjective roots (to be distin- 
guished from the derivative adjectives, which 
will be mentioned presently) are few in number 
and should probably be reckoned among the 
most primitive elements of Bantu speech. 
Some of them can be traced through many if 
not most of the Bantu languages hitherto 
studied ; others might seem to be confined to 
one or two ; but it would be very rash to 
dogmatize when so much still remains to be 
known. Sometimes, when present-day forms 
seem quite ur\related, the parallel is found to 
have existed in an older stage of the language ; 
and sometimes the cognate word is found to 
have different senses in two languages, like 
'kiilu^ which is used almost everywhere for 

* large,' but in Kongo and Herero has come to 
mean * old.' The following list is not com- 
plete but comprises the most important of these 

Adjectives derived from verbs have various 
endings, of wWch, perhaps the commonest 
are -u {-fu, -vu) and -e. So, in Swahili, we 
have nyama-vu ^ silent ' from ku-nyamaa, and 
4uli'VU * gentle ' from ku-tulia. With regard to 


erC'VU 'cunning' and vi-vu *idle,* it does not 
seem certain that they can be traced to verbs, 
and -refu * long, compared with le and -de in 
other languages, suggests that it is the same 
root, with the termination -fu suffixed to it. 

In Herero, we have -poUi * blind, '^ dhorodhu 
' black ' (from the verb dhorera), taradhu ' damp ' 
(from tarara). 

Of adjectives in -e, Herero has -kohoke 

* clean,' from the verb kohoka^ and -pore * just,' 

* gentle,' * kind,' from pora^ of which the 
primary meaning is * to be cool/' 

In Ila, a language of the Middle Zambezi, 
there are a large number of adjectives ending 
in -shi^ usually derived from verbs in -ka : 

'dimbushi * foolish,' from ku-dimhusha\o be foolish.' 
'komoshi 'broken/ „ ku-komoka *to be broken.* 
-zapaushi * ragged,* „ ku zapauka * to be ragged.* 

Some of these adjectives can scarcely be 

* Phonetically the same as the root of the Swahili 
noun ki-pofu ; but -pofu is not used in Swahili as an 
adjective, in the sense of * blind.* 

^ A widely distributed root, which usually has tSe 
secondary meaning * recover ' (from illness) — probably 
with reference to the reduction in temperature. But in 
Herero, the notion of 'cooling * seems to suggest that 
of being, or becoming * moderate * — and so 'reasonable,* 

* just,* gentle,* etc. 







































































• Ml 













• r^ 







































9 ■ 




















► 1 




































































































^ Probably connected with the verb luHga^ which {t.g. in Znlu) 
means * to be straight/ and so ' to be right,' ' good/ etc. 

* Old Swahili has -wi (-bi, vi). 

' Diminutive of -fupi, which appears in the adverb kufufi. 

*' This word is also found in Nyamwezi, Shambala, Bondei and 
some other East African languages. 

^ Instead of an adjective, Nyanja has the verb kaUmha * to be 
old/ and -a kaU^ which means ' of long ago.* 

" -kukuu, in the sense of ' worn out ' applied to things. Of 
persons, -zte is used, or in some dialects -xima, properly • whole/ 
and so 'grown up.' Kale is also sometimes used, as in Mjiwa 
kaU, ' the old town/ at Mombasa. 

^ eda 5, a noun, meaning ' age ' has perhaps the same root as 
-dala, but there does not seem to be an adjective of this form. 

^ Used in some dialects. 

^ This modification returns to its original form after a nasal, as 
mpya in CI. 9. 

^0 Preferred to -a mbiri in some dialects. 

^1 This is found, e.g., in Swahili, with the meaning 'thick/ 
'stout.' I doubt whether the Zulu -nine ' generous ' is from the 
same root. 

^3 More commonly used in a figurative than in a literal sense ; 
the usual woffl for the latter is -kubwa. 

" -kulu is used in the sense of • mature * or * important,' etc. 

1* When used with the simple prefix -nene means ' too large '; to 
make it mean merely ' large ' it requires another prefix. This very 
curious point in Kongo grammar will be touched on later. 

^^ In the Lamu dialect -iiti and -toio are used. 

1^ Perhaps the root which we find in the other columns exists 
in the Zulu u-bisi and Chwane le-vese, * fresh milk.* With -Uila 

compare Herero taradhu * damp ' ; — • wet ' is one of the meanings of 
'Wisi in Nyanja. 

" Only found as a sufl&x, in inkosi-kazi, etc. 

18 Herero has no s or jr ; the former is represented by the 
sound of th in ' thin,' the latter by that of th in * there ' (here 
written dh). 

1^ Only found as a suffix in one or two words ; the root -A# 
has taken its place. 


distinguished from passive participles, as the 
Ila komoshij * broken/ given above, and, in 
Sango^ : 

H-nhu fi-teleye^ * cooked food,* from teleya * cook.' 
umu-pi)^i mu-hongole * a hewn tree/ from hongola 

The Concord of the A djective is often some- 
thing of a puzzle. A priori^ nothing could be 
simpler: you have your adjective root, and 
you place before it the prefix of the noun with 
which it is to agree. This happens, in fact, 
with most of the classes in Swahili. 

1. m-fw m-2wn * a handsome man.* 

2. wa-tu wa-zuri * handsome men.' 

3. ni'ti m-zuri * a fine tree.* 

4. mi-ti mi-zuri * fine trees.* 

5. tunda zuri * a fine fruit.* *^ 

6. ma-tunda ma-zuri * fine fruits.* 

7. Ui'ti ki-zuri * a fine chair.* 

8. vi'ti'Vi'Zuri * fine chairs.* 

9. nyutnba n-zuri * a fine house.* 

10. nyumha n-zuri * fine houses.' 

11. U'Pindi m- zuri * 3. fine how,' 

15. ku-shona ku-zuri * fine sewing.* 

16. pahali pa-zuri * a fine place.* 

* The Sango (or Lori) people live to the north-east of 
the Konde, some distance north of Lake Nyasa. 

^ The Greek j( is used to indicate the Scottish sound 
of ch in * loch.* 


Adjectives do not seem to bfe used, in 
Swahili, with the locatives of the seventeenth 
and eighteenth classes, though they are e.g. 
in Nyanja. 

The above is perfectly plain sailing, with 
the exceptions of Class ii which has taken 
the concord proper to Class 3, the contracted 
form « being doubtless associated with that 
class through its pronoun, though the u has 
disappeared from the third prefix. (Of course 
the old form for 1 1 would have been lu-pindi 
lU'Zuri.) Phonetic laws have produced some 
modifications in Classes 9. and 10 (such as 'the 
change of n into m before a labial and its loss 
before k, /, and some other sounds) but these 
need not concern us here. 

In Nyanja, the case is difFjprent. Here the 
principle seems to be that the inseparable 
pronoun is prefixed to the adjective root and 
the Possessive Particle to it as chachikulu 7 
zazikulu 8, etc. It is not quite consistently 
carried out in the First Class, for there the 
noun-prefix takes the place of the pronoun : 
wa-m-kulu, not wa-u-kulu ; perhaps in order to 
preserve the distinction between it and Class 3, 
which is wokulu (contracted from wa-u-kulu). 

This applies to all real adjectives in Nyanja: 


any which do not take the concord as above 
are treated either as nouns or as verbs. But 
in Zulu a distinction is observed, to which. we 
shall now come. 

The real adjectives, in Zulu, prefix (i) the 
relative particle a, (2) the noun-prefix, (i) 
coalesces with the initial vowel, i.e., when 
followed by w, it makes 0, when followed 
by i, e. The contracted prefixes return to 
their original form. 

Thus we get omu-hle (a-umu-hle), eli-hle 
{a-ili-hle), ohi-hle (a-ulu-hle), etc. 

But there are some other adjectives, which 
take shortened prefixes in Classes i, 3, 4 and 
6 {i.e., 0' e- a-, instead of omu, emi, ama) as 
umu-ntu o-nsundu * a brown man,' imilomo 
C'banzi 'wide mouths,' ama-hashi a-mhlope 
* white horses ' — not omu-nsundUj emubanzi^ 
ama-mhlope. The reason for the distinction is 
not very clear, but some at least of the 
adjectives so treated are originally nouns, as 
4iikuni * heavy ' {u{hi)'kuni ' a log of wood '), 
'luhlaza * green' {ti{lu)4uhlaza * green grass'). 

Then, in Chwana, both the Pronoun and 
Noun-Prefix are added to the Adjective, but 
in the reverse order from that in which we 
find them in Nyanja. 


It will be sufficient to illustrate this by 
examples from these three languages and 
Ganda. In dealing with a Bantu language 
which has not been much studied, the learner 
should pay special attention to this point, as the 
system followed may be different from any of 
those which have been enumerated. We 
must not too hastily assume — having studied 
the theory of the Alliterative Concord, not 
wisely but too well — that we can apply the 
noun-prefixes, as they stand, to the adjec- 
tives ; which, so far as it has taken place, is 
probably a late development. 

The adjective selected for the illustrations 
is 'ktilu^ which ^ is found in most Bantu 
languages, though in Ganda it does not seem 
to be used quite in the sense here implied. 

Many languages make no distinction 
between the form of an adjective when used 
as an epithet or as a predicate ; but some, as 
Zulu, Xosa and Ganda, drop the initial vowel 
in the latter case. 

Zulu : Umu-ntu omu-hle * a good man ' — but 

umu-ntu mu-hlc * the man is good.' 

Ganda : ebi-gambo ebizibu * difficult words/ — but 

ebi'gambo bizibu *the words are 





I 'kulu in Ganda is generally used in the sense of ' grown-up.' 

* Contracted from a-a-kulu. 

* The usual word for ' tree * is se-tlhare, but mou is sometimes 
used with the meaning of * herb ' or * medicine,' or in a 6gurative 

* Contracted from wa-u-kulu. 

* Contracted irom ya-i-hulu. 

* The particle ;> seems anomalous here, like tse in 8 and lo and 
io in 14. Meinhof thinks these forms may be relatives (Grundzuge 
einer vtrgUichenden Gramttuitik der Baniusprachtn, p, 32), but does not 
fully explain them. 

T The full prefix is only found in Ganda with some mono- 
syllabic adjectives, such as eri-ngi ' many,* eri-mpi * short,' etc. 

^ Shortened from a-a-kulu. In the Likoma dialect this class has 
the pronoun ya, and the adjective has the form oiya-i-hulu. The 
V is an almost extinct remainder ot the initial consonant to which 
the Giryama ga is a nearer approach. 

* Isi-ntu does not mean ' a thing,' as the other words in this row 
do, but has been inserted because it is the same word, though 
changed in meaning. 

w •)(j}lo hardens into ^X^^^ after the di- (li-) prefix, which is the 
same as zi in many other languages. 

II The same hardening (see last note) takes place after *, which 
also is contracted from e-e, 

1' The occurrence of the forms lulime, lulimi, along with lilime, 
in Nyanja, shows that the nth class is not quite merged ii>to the 
5th, though in process of disappearing. Pronunciation seems to 
fluctuate, as in lipntga ' trumpet,' which is sometimes heard as 
lupenga and in Yao definitely belongs to the In- class. In Nyanja 
words beginning with lu have their agreements according to CI. 5, 
as is the case here. 

1* Tulo still survives in these two languages, and its adjectives 
would agree as above, if they were used. 

" Of course -kulu cannot be used with this class. 

15 Some dialects have vo vo-^olo or vyo-wo-xolo. 

16 Some concords of uta in bu- are given in Scott's Dictionary, 
and though the above may not be in use, this would be the correct 

17 I do not know how to explain this mo-. 

^ See the remarks on the Locative Class in Chapter V. 



The distinction may seem a slight one, but 
it must not be overlooked. 
I (The copula is not used in Zulu before 
adjectives, as it is before nouns and pronouns.) 

We mentioned on a previous page a number 
of adjectives which are derived from verbs. But 
there are also verbs derived from adjectives — 
at least it is difficult to see how the Yao 
kulungwa * to be great ' can be anything else ; 
though, curiously enough, the adjective -kuhi 
is not found in this language. And, again, 
there are some cases where it is difficult to tell 
whether the verb or the adjective should have 
the priority. Mr. E. W. Smith, in his Handbook 
of the I la Language, says (p. 6i): * Many of 
the adjectives proper have corresponding 
verbs which may be used in place of them 
as predicates,' and gives a list which we need 
not reproduce in full. Some of them seem to 
be formed with the suffix -u, as -lemu * heavy * 
(verb ku lema)^ -botu * good ' (verb ku bota), but 
kufwimpa * to be short ' seems just as likely to 
be formed from the adjective -fwafwi (or its 
root fwi) as vice versa. We are reminded of 
the Nyanja verbs fini-mpa * to be short ' and 
tani-mpa * to be long ' ; but there are no 
adjectives -fini and 4ani. There is the root 


ta in -tarij however, and^ may be akin to the 
fu in ftipi. At any rate the possibiUty suggests 
itself that either the verb or the adjective, or 
both at the same time, may be derived from 
one of those * interjectional roots,' which will 
be discussed in a later chapter. 

There is no need to waste any time on the 
Degrees of Comparison. They do not exist, 
as grammatical forms. There are various 
ways of expressing comparison — the conv 
monest, perhaps, is the use of some verb 
meaning * pass,' * excel * or the like. 

Nyanja : Ndi ichi ndi icho cha-pamhana ndi icho : 

* that is better than this.* (Literally : * it 
is this it is that — that (which) excels is 

Zulu : indoda idhlula umfana emandhleni : * a 

man is stronger than a boy * (* passes a 
boy in strength *). 

Or, kuna is used (the pronoun of the eighth 
class followed by na, equivalent to * there is ') ; 
indoda inamandhla kunomfana {ktma umfana). 
The idiom is not quite easy to explain, but the 
idea underlying it may be somewhat similar to 
the Swahili kuliko * where there is,' as in nyumba 
hii ni nzuri kuliko ilt ^ this house is finer than 
that ' — literally, * is fine where that is ' — ^*.e., so 


fine that it would attract attention when the 
other was in view, and therefore superior to it. 

In Kongo, the simplest form of the adjective 
implies that the quality is possessed to excess ; 
an additional particle has to be inserted for the 
ordinary or what we should call the positive 

Sometimes it almost seems as if the notion 
of comparison were absent till- imported into a 
language by European speakers. Thus, the 
author of Elements of Luganda Grantfimr, 
after mentioning the use of the word singa 
(* surpass '), says (p. 58) * Singa in this sense 
is rarely heard among the peasants until they 
have come in contact with European thought 
. . . thus . . . they would say' — for 

* Bring a longer stick,' * This stick is short, 
bring a long one,' and so on. 

What we mean by the Superlative is 
expressed either by some equivalent to * very,' 

* exceedingly,' — or by some such phrase as 

* surpassing everyone else,' * excelling all.' 


The Numerals 

Numerals, of course, are a kind of adjective ; 
but, in Bantu, their agreements are not always 
the same as those of other adjectives, and in 
any case they are important enough to deserve 
a section to themselves. 

They are so convenient for the purpose of 
comparing different languages, that perhaps 
more attention has been given to them than to 
any other part of speech ; and being among 
. the easiest words to ask for, they are found in 
the vocabularies of all the early travellers. 

The numerals from one to five, and the 

word for ten are, with few exceptions, common 

to the whole of the Bantu area. The numbers 

six, seven, eight and nine present considerable 

differences. Some have no separate words for 

these numbers at all, but call six * five and 

one,' seven * five and two,' and so on. This 

does not facilitate arithmetical operations and 

children in mission schools are usually taught 



the English names of the numbers before 
entering on the mysteries of addition and 
subtraction. ' Eighty -seven ' is certainly easier 
to deal with, at least for the instructor, than 

* five tens and three tens and five and two.' 
/^ Where the numerals from six to nine exist, 

they are sometimes nouns, with an unmistak- 
able reference to the practice of counting on 
the fingers. Thus, the Zulu for six is isi-hipaj 

* the thumb ' — showing that the counting 
begins with the little finger of the left hand — 
seven is isi-kombisa, * the forefinger.' Eight 
and nine are expressed, rather cumbrously, by 

* leave two fingers ' (or * bend down two 
fingers ') and * leave one finger ' respectively, 
It is curious that Xosa, which is so closely 
related to Zulu, has -tandatu for six, which is 
also found in some of the Eastern languages — 
Pokomo, Giryama, Nyamwezi, etc. 

This is probably a modified reduplication of 
-tatu 'three' (contracted from tatu na tatu), 
just as -nane, sometimes used for 'eight,' 
seems to be a doubling of -nCj * four. 

The numbers up to five sometimes (as in 
Zulu) agree like ordinary adjectives, some- 
times (as in Nyanja) they take the inseparable 
pronoun. * Ten ' seems to be a noun — it is 



usually invariable, but sometimes, when it has 
kept its prefix, it is treated as a noun, and 
preceded by a connective particle, as in Zulu : 
abantu abay^ ishtimi — literally * people who are 

The following table shows these six numerals 
in ten language^. Konde is spoken at the 
head of Lake Nyasa, on the eastern side. 

Zulu ( 

ChwanaHereroNyamja Konde SwahiliGanda Gisu Kongo Duala 



































































Zulu (but not Xosa) omits the initial vowel 
in the prefixes of nye : mti-nye, li-nye, si-nyCf 
not omtmyey elinye, etc. (which would mean 
^sorne,' * other'). 

The roots as given here are sometimes 
modified when preceded by noun-prefixes, e.g., 
ih Swahili, -wili becomes mbili when agreeing 
with a noun of the tenth class. We may also 
notice that there is oft%n a distinct set of 
numerals without any class-agreement, used 
in counting where no particular things counted 


are specified. Thus, in Swahili, we count : 
mosij piliy tatu, nne, tanOj whereas the same 
numbers applied to people would be : {mtu) 
mmoja, (watu) wawili, watatu, wanCy watafw ; 
to trees : (mti) mmojay (miti) miwili, mitatu^ 
udnty mitano ; to nouns of the seventh and 
eighth classes : kimoja^ viwili, vitatu — and so on. 

Yao (an important language occupying a 
considerable area in Nyasaland and the 
Portuguese territory) has mcheche (mvariable) 
for four, the root of which is found in Makua 
as -cheshe. Yao has another peculiarity, in 
treating five (msanu) as invariable. 

Some dialects of Chwana use mphecho 
^ completion ' instead of -tlhano, that is ' the 
whole hand ' — the five fingers. 

The root -rongo or -longo sometimes serves 
to form multiples of ten : e.g., in Pokomo 
* ten ' is kumij but ' twenty ' mi-ongo mi-wii. 
In Swahili mwo7igo survives, meaning ' a 
decade ' ; in the older reckoning (now mostly 
superseded by the Muhammadan Calendar) a 
month was divided into three miongo of ten 
days each. Twenty, etc., are usually ex- 
pressed by makxinti followed by the number 
required ; but sometimes, though rarely, there 
is a special word for twenty. Such is du in 


Isubu/ which seems, however, to be borrowed 
from the Sudan languages. Konde occa- 
sionally, along with afualongo nmbili^^ has 
iimundu ^ 2i man' — i.e., both hands and both 
feet. Swahili uses the Arabic word for 

* twenty ' — ishirini. 

Sometimes there are distinct words for 

* hundred ' and * thousand,' but in other cases 
these are only treated as multiples of ten. 
The Lower Kongo people and the Baganda 
have the completest systems of numeration, 
because they have been used, for many 
generations, to deal with a cowrie currency, 
and the latter in particular have an ingenious 
plan of varying the prefixes for tens, hundreds, 
thousands, tens of thousands: thus, lo is 
hcmi, 100 ekiktcmij i,ooo ohikumi, 10,000 
akaktcmij beyond which this form of numera- 
tion does not seem to go. At least I find in 
the Rev. G. R. Blackledge's Lnganda Vocabu- 
lary a word for ' a million,' which is quite 
distinct — akakada. Kongo does not use this 

Isubu is spoken in the Cameroons delta, by people 
living between the Duala on the south and the Bakwiri 
on the north. 

^ Or imilongo mibili, as would be expected from the 
usual singular. There is also the curious form tu-lougo 



system of prefixes, but has words for loo, 
i,ooo, 10,000, 100,000 and 1,000,000. 

The numbers in the following table, if not 
preceded by a hyphen, are invariable, except 
in so far as they are treated as nouns, and 
behave like ishumi in Zulu. These are 
marked*. Those with a hyphen prefixed 
agree like those in the first table. 

Xosa Cbwana ilerero 































Continuation of above. 

Hehe^ Nyamwezi (jiryama 





















mnai e 













^ Though the forms for 7, 8 and 9 look identical with the 
preceding ones {aba-hlanii, aba-tandatu,) they are really nouns 
(isi-xmxe, isi-bozo, i {li)-toba) and the prefix is preceded by the 
relative particle. Otherwise it would be aba-^enxe, not aba-si- 
xepixe and so for the others. -x$nx$ (the x stands for the 
' lateral click ') and -bozo seem to be borrowed Hottentot roots. 
i(li)-toba is evidently a noun formed from the verb toba * bend 
down ' (cf, tob'umuHwemunye for 9 in Zulu.) 

' From the verb shu^a ' show,' ' point.' 

8 These numbers are not given, as they are similar tb the Zulu : 
' bend down two fingers,* ' bend down one finger.' There is, how- 
ever, in some dialects an almost obsolete word for 8, seswai, of 
which the derivation is curious : swaya means ' to mark ' (with 
paint), and as this is usually done with the middle finger of the 
right hand, it comes to be synonymous with ' eight..' 

* hamba (the same word as the Zulu for ' go ') means 'jump over ' 
(i.e., from the thumb of the left hand to the thumb of the right) 
— hambo-mwe 'jump over (and take) one.' 

* Kongo numerals have a double system of agreement (for the 
details of which see Bentley, pp. 567-570) ; in the ' primary form ' 
7, 8, 9, and 10 are invariable, in the ' secondary * they take prefixes. 

6 This looks like a variant of the Herero word ; but the only 
meanings given for samba in Mr. Smith's vocabulary are ' wash, 
bathe, swim.' 

7 The Wahehe are to be found some distance N.£. of Lake Nyassa 
and to the south of the Wagogo. 

* Fungate is still used in Swahili, meaning ' a period of seven 
days' — but only in connection with a wedding (see Krapf, s. v. and 
Steere's Handbook, p. 91). It was, no doubt, the old word for 7, but 
has long been replaced by the Arabic saba'a. 

^ I have found no other example of this form. 

10 Also found in Swahili, though not so often as the Arabic tissa 
or tisia. 

11 • Cerebral t ' becomes h in Giryama. The difference between 
the two ^s is very important in Swahili: -^a/w, with ' cerebral /' 
becomes in Giryama -hahu, but -tano, with dental /, tsano. 
* Cerebral ' t is pronounced by pressing the tongue against the 
hard palate, ' dental ' by pressing it against the teeth ; our ordinary 
English t is between the two, being 'alveolar' — i.t., the tongue 
touches the gums or * tooth-ridge.' The two I's in Swahili may 
be distinguished, if necessary as t (-tatu) and -t (-tano) or the 
cerebral, as the commoner, may be left unmarked? The Rev. 
W. E. Taylor, in his African Aphorisms, prints the dental t in 
italic ; but in his version of the Psalms it is underlined. The 
difference is more important at Mombasa than at Zanzibar, where 
most of the words which at Mombasa have dental / are pronounced 
with cA, — mato = macho ' eyes ' ; ieka = cheka ' laugh.' 



Some of the words for ' hundred * and 
' thousand ' are as follows : 


_ _ J_ 

Zulu Herero Kongo Da&Ia Ila 

Nyanja Hehe Kikuyu Gisu 













The Ordinal Numbers are usually expressed 
by turning the cardinal number into a noun 
preceded by'^the possessive particle of the 
noun with which the number is to agree. 

Thus in Nyanja immtu wa chi-modzi^ wa chi- 
wirij wa chi4atu ^ the first, second, third 
person/ Chtntu cha chi-modzi * the first 
thing' ; nyumba ya chimodzi * the first house,' 
etc., etc. 

But the first ordinal is not always an actual 

This looks like a diminutive of ikttlii, but I do not 
know how to explain it. 

Also in Ronga. In some dialects zana. 

Kikwi was formerly used in Swahili, but is now 
seldom if ever heard. The usual word is the Arabic 
elf It {mi a for 100). 

This (or gaiia) is also used in Nyamwezi, Shambala, 
Zigula, Giryama, Pokomo, etc. 

Gisu has no special word for 1,000, kamatonda 
kikumi * ten hundreds ' being used. 

Konde expresses *a hundred' by * five people.' 
Xosa has the same word for * hundred ' as Zulu ; but 
thousand' is iwaka. Nyamwezi lias kihumhi for 
* thousand.' 


numeral. In Swahili mtu wa kwanza is 
literally * the man of beginning,' from kwanza 
(kti-anza) ' begin * ; and . similarly in Zulu 
ti7nuntu wokuqala {wa uku-qala)} 

Invariable numerals, as a rule, simply have 
the possessive particle prefixed to them, and 
in Ila this particle is prefixed directly to the 
stem even of the variable ones. In Herero a 
somewhat curious system is adopted : the 
inseparable pronoun followed by the verb tya 

* say,' is prefixed to the stem oi the numeral : 

* the second man ' is omtmdu tUya vari — liter- 
ally * the man he says two,' — * the third tree ' 
omtiti utya tahi, * the fifth name ' e^ta ritya tano. 

The way in which the variable numeral is 
changed into a noun is not every^^here the 
same, and no general rule can be given. Zulu, 
like Nyanja, uses the seventh prefix for this 
purpose ; Chwana and Ronga the fourteenth, 
Ganda the fifteenth ; and sometimes, as in 
Swahili, the isolated forms of the numerals 
(those which serve for counting when no 
objects are specified) are used. In this language 

* the first man,' as already stated, would be 
7ntu wa kwanza. 

^ Q represents the * cerebral * click. 


The second tree ntti wa pili. 

The third name jina la tatu* 

The fourth thing kitu cha nne. 

The fifth house nyumha ya tano. 

' Twice/ * thrice,' etc. are formed in many 
languages by prefixing ka-, which will be 
noticed later on, as it forms adverbs from 
other adjectives as well as numerals. 

Special features to which attention should 
be directed are the dual pronouns and the 
distributive numerals in Ganda, and the forms 
in Zulu expressing * both,' ' all three,' etc. : 
bobabiliy bobatatu. But these belong to the 
study of particular languages, and cannot be 
dealt with here. 

Some Bantu grammarians include the 
numerals among the adjectives; others 
(because of the difference in their agreement, 
already referred to, observable in some 
languages) place them among the pronouns. 
This difference usually extends to the words 
for * all,' * only,' and one or two others, some- 
times called * indefinite adjectives ' or 
* indefinite pronouns.' 

The most logical plan appears to be to give 
the numerals a separate chapter as we have 
done. • 


The Verb 

The Bantu verb normally consists of two J 
syllables and ends in a, e.g. : 

Zulu : lima * cultivate * ; hamba * go * ; tanda 

* love * ; lala * lie down.* 
Chwana : lema * cultivate * ; eta * go ' ; rata * love * • 

roma * send.* 
Nyanja : manga * tie * ; enda * go ' ; konda * love ' ; 

ten^a * carry.' 

There are a few monosyllabic verbs, most of 

which are used as auxiliaries : some are now 

only found in composition, as tense-particles. 

They are seldom fully conjugated, and have 

some other peculiarities which have led to 

their being described as * irregular verbs.* 

Sometimes, as we shall see more fully later 

on, it seems probable that they have been 

worn down from a dissyllabic stem. In other 

cases they may be original roots, perhaps 



traceable in the monosyllabic Sudan 

Verbs of more than two syllables are practi- 
cally certain to be either * derived forms * or 
foreign importations (as Swahili fikiri * con- 
sider/ ktibali * agree/ which come from the 
Arabic). In the former case, the fact is some- 
times disguised by the loss of the simple form. 
J In Zulu there is a verb kumula ' untie/ ' undo * ; 
this has the ' reversive ' termination -ula^ 
showing that it is the opposite of a verb kt^ma 
^ fasten ' — but there is no such verb now to be 
found in Zulu. A very common verb in Swahili 
is simama ' stand ' ; now in other languages we 
have ima^ yima, yema, jima, zhima ema (or ma) 
with this meaning ; and ima is even found in 
old Swahili. -A ma is a termination implying 
* to be in a position/ as ang-ama * be sus- 
pended/ in-ama ' stoop ' (be in a stooping 
position,)^ etc. 

^ But sometimes we may get a verb which looks like 
a derived form, though it is Efot really one. Meinhof 
gives an instance of a Konde word hov-ela, *hope,' 

which would naturally be taken for the applied form of 
hova. But there is no such verb as the latter, and the 

word is ultimately derived from the Arabic through the 
Swahili suhiri * be patient.* Other verbs of more than 
two syllables, formed direct from adjectives, nouns or 


Verb stems beginning with a vowel are not 
very common, and usually produce some 
modification of the prefix, owing to the contact 
of two vowels, which necessitates a special 
paragraph or section being devoted to them 
in most grammars. Comparative study makes 
it appear likely that these ** vowel verbs" 
once began with a consonant, and Meinhof 
thinks this consonant was the voiced velar 
fricative, y. This is not an easy sound to 
pronounce at the beginning of a word, and 
would very soon tend to disappear, or at 
least to become modified. In the above 
examples, where it has not been dropped 
altogether, it is represented by y^ j, or zh 
(pronounced like z in * azure '). 

In Zulu we find several verbs which may or 
may not have an initial e : ema^ {or ma) * stand,' 
eza (or za) ' come ' ; emba (or mba) * dig,' epa 
(or pa) * pull up' (as weeds, etc.). These, 
we can see, are reduced to monosyllables 
by dropping the vowel, after the loss of 
the original initial consonant. The voweL 

the invariable roots called * sound pictures * or * vocal 
images' will be noticed later. Some diacritic marks 
have been omitted from hovela — most Konde words 

bear more than«gould be printed here without confusion. 



being retained where it happens to be more 
easily pronounced, keeps the real state of 
the case before us ; otherwise it might be 
thought that these were true monosyllabic 

Verbs which do not end in a are very rare 
(unless borrowed from other languages) and 
chiefly monosyllables. Ti * say ' is found in 
nearly every Bantu languages, and so is li * to 
be,' in composition if not independently. The 
Zulu hlezi from hlala *sit* being a perfect, 
does not count in this connection, yet even 
as a perfect it is irregular, since it should end 
in -e not -i. I have never seen it satisfactorily 
accounted for. 

The * Derived Forms * of the verb, to which 
we have already referred, might perhaps be 
most accurately described as * Voices.' We, 
in Europe, have the Active and Passive, to 
which, in Grfeek, is added the Middle : we 
also have traces of a Causative, as in * fall * — 
'fgir(=:make to fall) *sit ' — set (=causetosit), 
etc. The Bantu languages have all these, 
and several others as well. 

It is possible that in some of these cases the e may 
have been adopted by analogy — e,g. in eza. 


The Passive is formed by means of the 
suffix 'Wa : pig-wa (Swahili) from piga * strike,' 
bon-wa (Zulu) from boita * see.* Sometimes 
the suffix is -iwa, (as in Rong3.) , -edwct or -idwa} 
(Nyanja), -ebwa or -ibwa (Gknda), 4gwa 
(Konde). Duala has the very peculiar form -be. 
The suffix maycause considerable modification 
in the stem of the verb, as in Zulu, where w 
cannot follow p^ 6, or m. 

The Neuter-Passive, usually ending in 
'Cka or 'ika (sometimes in -uka^ -aka or -akala) 
is distinguished from the Passive by expressing 
a state, or the possibility of being subjected to 
an action, rather than the actual undergoing 
of the action on some definite occasion. Thus, 
in Swahili, kamba yaftmguka^ is : ' the rope is 
(in a state of being) unfastened,' but kamba 
yaliftmgidiwa is: *the rope was unfastened' 
(by some person or persons). In Zulu, 

^ Whether it is edwa or idwa depends on the vowel 
contained in the verb stem. This * Law of Vowel- 
Harmony * will be noticed in a later chapter. 

' Fung-uka is really a compound form, being the 
intransitive (or neuter passive) of fungua, the reversive ' 
(see p. 150 below) of funga 'fasten.* Funguliwa^ the 
passive oi fungua^ is formed from the original /««^-M/a:, 
I between two vowels being usually dropped in Swahili, 
and verb-stems ending in I making their passive in -wa. 


inkanyezi ya-bonakala is : 'the star was visible/ 
but * the star was seen' (by A. or B.), 
inkanyezi ya-bonwa. 

The Applied (sometimes called the * Rela- 
tive * or * Prepositional ') form of the verb 
gives rise to numerous idioms, some of which 
have no exact European equivalents ; but the 
most general rule which tan be laid down for 
its use implies that the action is done with 
reference to some person or thing other than 
the direct object of the verb. If the verb is 
intransitive, and therefore has no direct 
object, this form makes it .transitive, and 
enables it to take one. The ending is 
usually 'da {-ila) or -era {-ira) ; in Swahili -ea 
{'ia). Ex. : 

Zulu : hamba * go * ; hamhela * go to * anyone, and 

so * visit.' 
hlala * wait * ; hlal-ela * wait for.* 
lima * cultivate ' ; lim-ela * cultivate for * 
some one else. 

Nyanja : dula * cut * ; duhira * cut for ' anyone. 

nena * speak * ; nen-era * speak to ' or * for, ' 

The Causative, as a rule, has the ending 
-isa or -isha, or some easily recognisable modifi- 


cation of the same\ Its meaning needs no 
further exolanation. 

further explanation 

Zulu : vala * shut,' val-isa * make to shut,' hamb- 

isa * make to go,' tand-isa * cause to 
love,' etc. 
Nyanja : dul'itsa * make to cut,' lim-itsa * make to 

cultivate,' nen-etsa * cause to speak.' 
SWAHILI : funda * learn,* fund-isha * teach ' {ix, 

* cause to leai4a '), soma * read ', so/»- 

esha * make, or help, to read.' 
Herero : rara * sleep,' rar-itha * raiake to sleep/ 

thura * swell,' thur-itha * cause to swell.' 

An Intensive form is sometimes found, 
identical in form (though not in origin) with 
the Causative. Thus, in Nyanja, mang-itsa 
(from 7nanga, * tie ') may mean, either * cause 
to tie ' or * tie tightly,' end-etsa either * make to 
v^alk ' or * walk far.' This is also the case in 
Zulu, but here, the intensive sometimes 
reduplicates the causative termination and 
ends in -isisa : buza * ask,' buz-isisa * inquire 
thoroughly.' There is another intensive, in 
Zulu, ending in -ezelUj which belongs to the 

* It has not been thought necessary to take any 
notice here of the causatives in -za and other varia- 
tions arising from the presence of certain consonants 
in the stem. The causative in -ya is a distinct form, 
sometimes found side by side with the others. 


applied form. In Rundi^ and probably else- 
where, th« Intensive is a combination of the 
Applied and Causative endings : rira ' weep/ 
riririsha * weep, continually * ; sab^ * ask,' sab- 
irisha ' ask persistently.^ 

In LrUganda, the Applied termination is 
reduplicated : tonya * drip,' * rain,* tonyercra 
'drizzle incessantly/ Sometimes the root of 
the verb is wholly or partly reduplicated, to 
convey an intensive, or sometimes, rather, a 
repetitive force, but this is not the same thing 
as the verbal forms we are considering. 

The Reversive form has the ending -ula 
{-ura, in Swahili -tea) — sometimes -ulula, eg. : 

Nyanja : tseka * shut,' tseg-ula * open/ pinda * fold,' 

pind'Ula * unfold.' 
Ganda : simba * plant,' simh-ula * dig up,' jema 

* rebel,' jem-ulula * submit.' 
Kongo : kanga, * tie,' kang-ula * untie.' 
Ila: amha * speak,' aw6-M/w/a * retract * (un- 

speak), yala * shut,' yal-ula * open,' 

soma * sheaihe,* som-onona * pull out.'^ 

^ Spoken in the country near the north end of Lake 

^ Ila and Hereto both have two additional reversive 
endings, -ona and -onona. These are found when the 
stem contains a nasal (m or n), Kongo also has -ona 
and -una. 


Herero : pata * shut,' pat-urura * open,' yonya * be 

crumpled,' yony-onona * smooth out,' 

This form is made intransitive by changing 
I to k : tseg'Uka * be open/ sitnbtika * be dug up/^ 
The Reversive fornj is not usually enumerated 
in Zulu grammars, but certainly exists in the 
language : jaba is ' be mortified, disappointed/ 
etc., jab'tda ' rejoice/ and there are words in 
'Ula like kum-ula ' unfasten * which distinctly 
have a reversive meaning, though the primitive 
verb may have been lost. 

The Reciprocal, in -ana, implies, gis may be 
gathered from the name, an act done by two 
or more people to each other : 

SWAHILI : pend-ana * love one another.* 

Nyanja : mtny-ana * fight ' (* beat each other,* from 

menya * beat '). 
Zulu : ling-ana ' vie with one another,' * be 

equal,' from linga * strive.' 

There are some variations in the ending. 
Kongo has -ajiana, or -asajiana^ as well as -ana ; 
Ganda -agana or -ang^ana, as kyaw-agana * hate 
one another,' wulir-agana * hear one another/ 
etc. ; and Herero -asana^ as mun-asana * see 
each other,' from muna * see.* 

i$2 tHE VERiB 

The idiomatic uses of the Reciprocal form 
are curious : we may give some examples. 

Zulu : sa-bon-ana nomgani wami, * we saw each 

other (I) and my friend.' 
Nyanja : akulu a-hvut-ana tnlandu * the headmen 

contend in a quarrel ' {bvutana, reciprocal 

of bvuta * be difficult.') 

In Swahili this form enters into several 
expressions where its force is very difficult to 
render in English : kupatik-ana ^ to be obtain- 
able,' kujulik-ana * to be knowable.' These are 
not quite the same as ku])atika and kujulika, 
and the difference, probably, is in the implica- 
tion that something is obtainable or knowable 
by everybody, the acquisition or information 
being, as it were, mutual. 

The Stative form in -ama has left traces in 
most languages, even if it is not expressly 
recognised in the grammars. Verbs in -ania 
usually express an attitude : 

Nyanja : er-ama 'stoop,' kot-ama * be in a crouching 

Swahili : in-ama * stoop ' {in-ua, the reversive of 

the same root, means * lift up ') ang-afua, 

* be suspended ' from anga ' float ' (in 
the air) — angua^ the reversive, means 
'take down,' ^.n^ang-uka, \is intransitive, 

* fall.' 


KoUama is found in Zulu, with the same 
meaning as in Nyanja, and we also find 
lul-ama * rise up a little from a recumbent 
position/ /w^-ama * sit, as a hen hatching ' and 
pak-ama, * be elevated,' which may be verbs of 
the same kind. Compare, 

Herero : themb-ama * be straight/ pik-ama * be 

aslant ' {from pika * pull to one side '). 

Chwana : el-ama (or al-dma) * sit on eggs.' 

Kongo : lal-ama * be afloat/ lamb-ama * be 

clenched * (said of a nail), kok-atna * be 
hooked on to/ etc., etc. 

Some languages have a Repetitive form in 
-ulula — others express the same idea by wholly 
or partly reduplicating the stem. Ila has tUa 
' buy, trade' {cf. Nyanja gtda)^ ul-ulula ' trade 
a thing over and over again ' ; nenga ' cut,' 
neng'Uhila * cut up again and again ' ; Kongo : 
sumba * buy,' stcmb-ulula ^ buy again.' Kongo 
also has the suffixes -umma, -olola and -onona. 

These two languages have, in addition,^ a 
* Persistent Repetitive,' which in Kongo has 
the suffix 'tijiola, with various modifications. 
Ex. : 

Tunga * build/ tung-ujiola * keep on rebuilding.' 
Kuna * plant,* kun-ujiona * keep on replanting.' 


Ila has no suffix for this form, but inserts a 
before the final syllable of the verb. 

sotoka * jump/ sotaoka * hop, as an insect.' 
sandula * turn over,* sandaula * turn over and over.* 

There are some other endings of which the 
functions do not seem as yet to be very clearly 
ascertained : -a/a, -a/a, -nga (found in Herero) 
and a few more. 

The Perfect in -ile is sometimes reckoned 
among the Derived Forms of the verb, 
because it is not a tense, strictly speaking — 
that is, it does not refer to time, but to * the 
condition or progress of the action ' (Bentley), 
and because, unlike the real tenses, it is 
formed by a suffix. 

Verbs formed from adjective-stems (as 
mentioned in a previous chapter) by the 
addition of -pa or -mpa, cannot be reckoned 
among the Derived Forms. Such are the 
Zulu de-pa * be tall,' Nyanja (and Swahili) 
nene-pa * be stout * ; probably the Nyanja i-pa 
* be bad ' is so formfed from the root hi, 
originally vi, which has dropped its initial 
consonant. In Zulu we have a second form 
"pala, as kldu-pala ^ be fat ' (or * big '). 

In conclusion, we may remark that all 


these forms of the verb can be compounded 
with each other to almost any extent. So in 
Zulu: hamb-ela * visit/ hamb-el-isa 'came to 
visit/ hamb-el-is-aita ^ cdixise to visit one another/ 
hamb-el-is-an-wa, passive of the last named, 


Extreme instances of this kind of cumulative 
composition are given in Bentley's Dictionary 
and Grammar of the Kongo Language^ pp, 640, 
641, There is no need to say more on the 
subject here. 

The Verb {continued) 

Moods and Tenses 

If we ask ourselves what we mean by the 

term * mood/ and find that it may be explained 

as * manner of being/ it might seem that the 

distinction between the Derived Forms 

discussed in the last chapter, and Moods is 

not very clear. Ho\^ever, on considering 

some examples of each, it becomes evident 

that moods are the various conditions under 

which some particular act is manifested: the 

action, say, of writing is contemplated as 

actually taking place (whether in past, present 

or future time) — or as possibly taking place 

under certain conditions — or as being desirable^ 

and so on. But it is always the same action 

of writing. In the Derived Forms, the action 

itself is in some way modified : it is looked on 

from the point of view of the sufferer instead 

of the doer, or as reversed, caused, intensified, 



applied to someone or something, etc., etc. 
And each separate form is carried unchanged 
through all the moods and tenses. 

Moods are only marked to a limited extent 
in English. We have the Indicative, Infinitive, 
Imperative and Subjunctive, though the last 
is going out of use (that is, as shown by the 
form of the verb itself : * if I be,' * that he 
love,' etc.). In Latin, the distinctive inflec- 
tions of the Subjunctive are more strongly 
marked, and in Greek we have an additional 
mood, the Optative. 

The definition of * Tense ' is simple enough, 
if we keep to European languages, where the 
word can be used in its strict etymological 
meaning. It refers to the time at which an 
action is performed — past, present, or future, 
with the sub-divisions of * complete ' and 
* incomplete,' or * perfect' and * imperfect,' 
etc. But even here the matter is not quite so 
simple as it seems — should we, for example, 
call the French conditional a mood or a tense ? 
For practical purposes, no doubt, the distinc- 
tion matters little — yet it is worth thinking 
over in connection with our present inquiry. 

When we leave Europe,^ we find— ^.^., in 
the Semitic languages — that the word * tense ' 


no longer applies, or rather, it has to be used 
with a somewhat conventionalised meaning, 
for the distinction of time is not kept in view 
so much as that of completed and of incom- 
plete or continuous action. We saw in the 
last chapter that the Bantu so-called * Perfect ' 
tense does not necessarily imply a past state 
of things. It is very often equivalent to the 
Present, indicating an action completed in the 
past, whose effects still continue : thus, ' he is 
asleep ' is rendered by an expression meaning : 
* he has lain down ' (and is still lying). 

If we bear in mind that both terms are 
elastic! as to meaning, we can draw a very 
clear distinction of form between moods and 
tenses in Bantu. The former are distinguished 
by suffixes^ the latter by prefixes} 
. On this showing, the Perfect in -He should 
count as a mood^ and it appears to me that 
there is no good reasoa against its doing so. 
We have seen that some reckon it as a 
Derived Form, or Voice. 

^ This cannot be taken quite absolutely : for instance, 
it does not apply to the Infinitive. (The Imperative, 
consisting of the bare stem, might be looked on as the 
ground-form whence the others are derived). But this, 
in spite of the prefix kiv- (which marks neither person 
nor time) differs essentially from the tenses proper. 


Some writers recognise (tf.^^., in Zulu and 
Chwana) Optative and Potential Moods ; but 
these, by their structure, are really tenses, 
and, since we cannot adhere to the strict 
definition of that word, they may very well 
pass for such. 

We might reckon in Bantu eight moods, 
four of which, the Imperative, Infinitive, 
Indicative and Subjunctive, correspond, on 
the whole, with the notions expressed by those 
terms in European languages. The others 
are the Negative, the -Perfect in -ilt^ the 
Continuative and the Relative. ^ 

The Imperative^ as we have seen, consists 
of the bare verb-stem^ in the singular* and 
suffixes -m (really the pronoun of the second 
person) in the plural. 

The Infinitive (which, as we have seen, is 
identical with the fifteenth noun-class) is 
distinguished, as a rule, by the prefix, ku-?^ This, 

^ Perhaps it is better to follow Meinhof in using this 
term instead of * verb-root,' for we cannot tell that these 
verbs are not ultimately made up of monosyllabic roots, 
going back to a pre- Bantu stage of speech. 

^ This prefix has been quite lost in Kongo, except in 
the case of the two vowel -stem verbs, kw-iza and kw-enda. 
Duala shows traces of having had a different infinitive 
prefix. (See Meinhof, Grundzuge, einer vergleichenden 
Grammatik d^r Bantusprachen^ p. 10.) 


the Indicative and the Imperative all, in the 
present state of Bantu speech, end in -^, except 
in Herero and some of its cognates, and in the 
languages of the extreme north west (Duala, 
etc.)/ Bleek seems to have considered this 
-a a later accretion, and supposed that the 
verb originally ended in some other vowel. 
But this matters little to our present purpose. 

The Subjunctive ends in -e. Its uses are 
much like those of the European subjunctive, 
though more extensive; they can be better 
illustrated from the specimen texts at the end 
of the volume, which contain numerous 
examples, than by any explanations given 

The Negative, which on our definition we 
must reckon as a mood, ends in -i. It is a 
feature not found in any European language, 
where the addition of some invariable adverb 

Herero has one present tense which assimilates its 
final vowel to that of the stem, as mepiti ' I go out * (from 
pita) ma munu * he sees' {horn muna). Some of the 
Congo languages, such as Ngala, Poto, etc. (not Kongo 
itself) seem to possess presents ending in -e and -o, 
which are probably to be explained by the same principle 
of Vowel -Harmony. 

Ex.: Zulu: ngi-hamhe Met me go'; Swahili : ni- 
jenge * let me build " ; Herero : nge-mune * let me see * ; 
Ganda : a-lime * let him cultivate/ etc, 


meaning ' not ' is quite sufficient to negative 
any tense of the verb. The only difficulty 
that could arise is from the position of the 
negative, which, in a compound tense, has to 
be inserted between tlie component parts of 
the verb ; and the two particles in French 
{ne . • . pas), by doubling this difficulty make 
it necessary to learn a negative as well as an 
affirmative conjugation. But * not,' nichtj nofij 
and ne . . . pas do not affect the form of the 
verb itself. 

It is otherwise in Bantu. There are several 
different ways of forming the negative, but 
the main principle appears to be that a nega- 
tive particle is prefixed and the final vowel 
of the verb altered to i. This is usually 
(though not in all languages) the Negative 
Present. The Negative Past is formed in a 
different way ; and moreover there is not, as 
one might expect, a Negative tense corres- 
ponding to every Affirmative one. On the 
other hand, there are some negative tenses 
with no affirmative corresponding to them. 
This looks as though the Bantu mind con- 
ceived of * not doing' a thing — ^just as the 
still more primitive mind conceives of ' more 
than one thing ' — as a distinct and separate 



entity,^ And perhaps this is borne out by the 
fact that languages of relatively advanced 
development, like Kongo, have lost the final 
inflection, and express the negative merely by 
invariable particles. Kongo has one of these 
particles before the verb . and one after, like 
nc , . . pus. 

Betonda = they love.' Ke hetonda ko they do not 

In Duala, the negative particle si is used for 
all tenses, but is placed after the subject 

na lonta * I send * ; na si lotna * I do not send.' 
ba tnende jipe * they v^ill cook ' ; ha si mende jipe 
' they will not cook.' 

The nqrmal Negative Present is as foltov^^s : 








Xa ke reke" 




• I do not go ' 

' I do not buy 

* I do not love ' 

' I do not see * 

' I do not cook' 


Xa re reke 




' We do not 

* We do not 

' We do not 

love ' 

• They do not 

• They do not 

* See Language Families^ pp. 38, 39. 

' This e in Chwana is the * narrow e,' approximating 
in sound to i. 

® The negative particle in Swahili is ha^ which is 


In Nyanja, the negative used throughout is 
si (contracting in the second and third persons 
singular to su and sa), and i is sometimes (not 
always) suffixed to the verb-stem : as si-ndi 
'dziwa-i * I do not know/ but si-ndi-dziwa is also 

We need not enumerate all the different 
negative particles in use, e.g., Ila ta, Yao nga, 
Zigula nka, etc., but we must say a word in 
passing as to the negative in the other tenses 
of the Indicative. Swahili has a negative 
past formed by means of the infinitive : 
si'ku'penda ^ I did not love ' ; ha-hi-kti-penda * we 
did not love.' This serves as negative both to 
the Past Tense {ni-li-penda) and the Perfect 
Tense {ni-me-pcnda)} Now, as -vie- indicates 
that the action is finished, complete, the 
sentence ni-me-penda cannot be negatived 
merely by the addition of a particle.^ So 
another form is used : si-ku-penda is a negation 

prefixed to the three plural pronouns, but contracts with 
those of the singular : si (originally ha + ni), hu (ha + u) 
ha (ha+a). Te, the Ganda negative particle, is in some 
dialects, used for all three persons alike as it is in Nyoro. 

Modern Swahili has disused the Perfect in -He and 
the one which has replaced it is, by its structure, a 
tense, not a mood. 

* See Meinhof, Grundziige (p. 64). 


of the Infinitive; literally 'not — I to love.' 
(This is different from the form actually in use 
as the Negative Infinitive, which is ku-to-penduj 

a contraction of ku4oa ka-peftda^ literally * to 
take away loving.') 

But Zulu negatives the Perfect by simply 
prefixing the Negative Particle : a-ngi-tandile 
*I have not loved'; ka-tandile^ * he has not 
loved.' This is what might be called a 
mechanical formation ; which means that, the 
original force of the inflections having been 
more or less forgotten, the prefixes and suffixes 
used with some tenses, etc., are applied to 
others, without reference tO' their abstract 

There is, in Zulu, a Negative Past, made 
by prefixing a- as for the Present, and suffixing 
nga : a-ngi-hamba-nga * Idid not go.' 

The Negative Future is, as Professor 
Meinhof points out, a recent formation,^ and, 
as such, entirely mechanical. 

Ka sometimes, in Zulu, replaces a, which is never 
used, e.g, with the 3rd person singular (if the subject is 
of the first class), or with a noun of the 6th class: 
titnfana ka-hambile * the boy has not gone * ; ama-hashi 
ka-gijimi * the horses do not run.* 

* Grundziige, p. 65. 


Swahili : 

ni'ta-penda * I shall love * ; si-ta-penda, * I shall not 

tu-ta-penda * we shall love*; ha-tu-ta-penda, we 
shall not love.* 

This, of course, as it does not change the 
final vowel, is indistinguishable from the tenses 
we shall have to consider later on. But the 
Zulu Negative Future is different. It is 
recognizably a compound tense, made up of 
the verb ya ^ go' and the infinitive ; and the 
first part of the compound is negatived in the 
same way as the Present. 

ngi-ya-ku'tanda * I shall love * {lit. * I go to love *). 
a-ngi-yi-ku-tanda * I shall not love.' 

In all these indicative tenses, the negative 
particle comes first, but in the Subjunctive, 
the Participle, Smd the Relative Tenses, it 
comes after the subject-pronoun. 

Subjunctive : 

Zulu : ngi-nga-fandL SwAHlLl : ni-si-pende * I may 

not love.' 

aba-nga-yi-ku-tanda a-si-po-sema 

* they who will not * if he does not 

love.* speak.'* 

These forms were explained in Chapter VI. As to 
the reason for the difference in the position of the 
negative particle, see the reference in the last note. 


It will be noticed that the Negative Particle 
here is different from that used with the 

Indicative. In Swahili, 5/ is used all through 
the Subjunctive, and not with the first 
person only. 

The Perfect in -He is found in a great many 
Bantu languages. Swahili, as remarked 
above, has lost it — except in some of the 
northern dialects — and it seems to have dis- 
appeared altogether from Nyanja, though not 
from the neighbouring Yao. It is sometimes 
shortened to i or ^, and assumes various 
modified forms — e.g. it may change the vowel 
instead of adding the suffix, as Zulu lele from 
lala^^ pete from pata^ and in the verbs of the 
Reciprocal form, as hlangana * meet,' perfect 
hlangene. Derived forms, especially the Applied, 
very frequently shorten the termination to e : 
sond-ela * approach,* perfect sondele. 

It is not surprising that missionaries and 
others engaged in the reduction of a new 
language should sometimes have failed to 
recognise this ^ Perfect ' when they came 
across it, as its use did not correspond with 

* Lalile is also used, but with a somewhat diflferent 


their notion of a tense. Yet that use is not 
without parallels nearer home. The <jreek 
oiSa * I know,' is really the perfect of the verb 
meaning * to see,' and Latin perfects used in a 
present sense, like coepi, meminij odi (which 
have lost their presents), B.nd ftovi, (the perfect 
of nosco) * I have come toknow' = * I know,' 
are really exemplifications of the same thing. 
The Continuative Mood, with the suffix -ga, 
is less frequently met with. It implies that 
an action is done habitually, or that it 
continues for a lolig time. It is found in Yao, 
Kinga, Konde, Sango, Ganda, Kongo, Benga, 
Duala and elsewhere — sometimes in one of 
the forms ka^ nka, nga, or with other modifica- 
tions. It ia used in more than one tense, and 
is even sometimes added to the Rnperative, to 
make it more emphatic. This, and the fact 
that Kongo suffixes it also (in the form nge) to 
the Perfect, might seem to negative, its being 
counted as a mood ; but, though we do not as 
a rule find moods superadded on one another, 
after the fashion of the Compound Derived 
Forms, there does not seem to be any reason 
why we should say it is impossible in these 
two cases. Or, again, it is conceivable that 
the imperative -ga^ at least (which is not exactly 


contitiuative, though it might, on occasion, be 
so) may not be the same suffix. The follow- 
ing are a few examples of this form, which 
does not exist in Zulu (unless — which I doubt 
— we could count the Negative Past), Nyanja, 
Herero or Swahili. 

Yao : na-tawa-ga * I was binding/ or ' I kept on 

binding * {tawa * bind ') 
ni-ndawa-ga * if I am binding.' 
ni-nga-tawa-ga * I should be binding ' (if 
something else had happened). 
G^DA : a-fumha-nga omupunga hulijo * she cooks 

rice every day.' 
a-na-soma-nga * he will read continually.' 
omu-ntu eya-kola-nga ebi-bya * the man 
whotused-to-make bowls.' 
Kongo : o unu n-tunga-nga e-nzo ante * to day I am 
building my house.' 
unu n-tungidi-nge enzo ame * to-day 

I-have-been-building my house.' 
e lu^mhu kina ya-tunga-nga enzo ame Vthe 
other day I-was-building my house.' 
KiNGA : ndt-toya-ga * I keep on striking ' {tova, 

' strike.? "~ 

Sango : vu)(a-ga ' go, do ! ' {vu')(a * go.') 

The Relative Mood may take, as in Zulu, an 

O underlined, in Meinhof's notation (used in the 
book whence this example is quoted), is the * broad o,' 
like the sound of ou in * ought.' 



invariable suffix for all persons and classes, or 
as in Swahili, a suffix varying with the class 
to which the subject belongs {a-pcftda-ye, 
u-anguka-o, li-vundika-lo ^ etc.). This applies 
to the first and simplest form of the Relative 
given in Chapter VI, which is (in Swahili at 
least)^ without distinction of tense. But the 
other Swahili forms, if analysed, are found to 
follow the same principle : the first part of the 
word is an auxiliary [li or no) in the Relative 
Mood, followed by the Infinitive without ku : 
a-li-ye-pendaj a-na-ye-penda^ ki-li-cho-anguka^ 
vi'li'Vyo-vundikay etc., etc. As the Relative 
Pronouns were pretty fully discussed in 
Chapter VI., we need say no more about them 

Before passing on to the Tenses, it may be 
well to say a fe\Y words about Participles. 

We have, on previous occasions, referred to 
the quasi-participial forms existing in the 
Bantu languages : the very common one 
formed by prefixing the Possessive Particle to 
the Infinitive, and that with a locative termi- 

* Zulu also suffixes -yo to the Perfect. The other 
verbal relative formations (those without -yo) are 
different in principle from the Swahili ones given in the 
text ; but they need not be discussed here. 


nation, found only (so far as I am aware) in the 
various dialects of Chwana (including Sutu). 
But Zulu has something like a real Participle, 
which * may be formed for, all the Tenses * 
(Colenso, First Steps § 232), but, unlike our 
participles is preceded by a pronoun and 
found in all three persons, singular and plural. 
Except in the third person (where the pronouns 
are e for the singular and be for the plural, 
instead of u and ba), and when agreeing with 
a noun of the sixth class (when the pronoun a 
is changed to e) the forms are identical with 
those of the finite tenses ; and a participle is 
often only to be recognised by the difficulty of 
construing it as a finite verb in the context. 

I shall not attempt anything like a complete 
enumeration of tenses. The simple ones are 
few and well marked, but there are endless 
compound tenses, built up with auxiliaries and 
other particles, which are not always easy to 
classify. The principle of their structure once 
recognized, however, they need, present no 
great difficulty here. 

The tense-particles not immediately recog- 
nizable as verbs may have existed as such in 
former times — indeed, it is practically certain 
that this was the case with most of them. 



The simplest form of the Indicative Present 
(in some languages, as in Swahili, it exists 
only in theory) is formed by prefixing *the 
Inseparable Pronoun directly to the Verb- 






1st pers. 



ndaba (for 

2ad „ 




3id „ 





1st „ 

si-bo u a 



2nd ,, 




3rd „ 




This tense seems, as Junod says of it in 
Ronga, not to convey any precise indication 
of time. The more usual Present, in Zulu, is 
one compounded with the verb ya * go ' : 
ngi-ya-bona * I am seeing ' or, more literally * I 
go seeing.' 

In some languages, a tense with similar 
meaning is formed by means of the prefix 
-a-, of which the exact force is uncertain. It 
usually contracts with the pronouns. The 
Swahili tense given below is that used at 
Mombasa ; the corresponding one at Zanzibar 
is ni'Ua-onaj n-na-o^ia^ etc. 

Na is one form of the verb * to be ' ; and in 







nda-bona (ndi- 


na-ona (ni-a) 


wa-bona (u-a) 




a-bona (a-a) 




ha-bona (hi-a) 


t wa-ona 



ina-bona (mi-a) 

1 wa-vona 

ui wa-ona 


ba-bona (ba-a) 




some languages, instead of the above tense, 
we have one compounded with this auxiliary 
in one shape or another. Thus, in Nyamwezi, 
ndi-wofta (for n-li-wona), u-li-wona^ etc. ; in 
Nyanja ndi-ri-kii-ona^ literally ' I am to see 
(= * I am seeing '), and so on. 

Some languages (Zulu, Konde, Ganda and 
others) have a Past Tense identical in form 
with the Present in -a-. Others use na to 
form a Past Tense, e.g.^ Nyanja ndi-nchrona^ etc. 

The Future is very often formed with the 
auxiliaries meaning * come 'or 'go ' — Nyanja 
ndi'dza-ona^ Chwana ke-tla-vojtaj Zulu ngi-ya- 
ku-bofta {or ngi-rza-ku-bona). Swahili has ni-ta- 
ona: ta at present means nothing by itself, 
but it may be shortened from taka (* wish ' or 
* want.') In Ganda, the Near Future is formed 


with the prefix na, and the Far Future with the 
prefix ri. Both of them mean * to be.' 

The most pecuHar Future is that in the 
Likoma dialect of Nyanja, which is identical 
with the Negative Past in other dialects — e.g., 
si-ni'fe ' I shall die.' The explanation seems 
to be that what one has not yet done is still in 
the future, and, therefore, to say one has not 
yet died is the same as saying that one will die. 

In Swahili, as already stated, there is a 
Perfect Tense differing from the form in -He 
discussed under the Moods. It is formed 
with the particle -W5- (which may be connected 
with mala 'finish') — ni-me-ona^l have seen.' 
A similar tense is formed in Pokomo with 

Giryanyi has two Perfects — the Perfect 
Mood, which is the older form, ending in -ere 
or -ire {ni-onere * I have seen,' ni-fik-ire * I have 
arrived' — from fika) and the tense, formed 
with dza : hu-dza-m' -ona * we have seen him.' 

Compound Tenses are very numerous in 
Zulu, chiefly built up on the verb 'to be ' 
(uku-ba) and the particle nga, which mainly 
implies potentiality {e.g., nga-ngi-be-ngi-bona, 
* I would have been seeing,' etc.), and 
Chwana has a still greater variety, introducing 


several other verbs. But these, and the 
particles which play so great a part in Nyanja 
{ma, tUj ka, ngo, etc.), must be left to the 
students of the respective languages. It only 
remains to say a few words more about 
auxiliaries and about monosyllabic verbs. 
(The latter are not always auxiliaries, and 
there are some auxiliaries of more than one 

The auxiliaries which we have mentioned 
so far are employed as tense-prefixes, and 
inserted between the subject pronoun and the 
verb. But there are others which are 
grammatically separate from it, but necessary 
to its meaning. Some of these are defective, 
only used in one or two tenses and never 
apart from a principal verb ; others are 
independent verbs, which have a peculiar use 
as auxiliaries. Thus in Zulu ponsa * throw ' 
means, as an auxiliary * to be on the point of 
doing/ — ngiponse ukuwa * I was on the point of 
falling.' In Ganda yagala * like, love, want ' 
is similarly used to express that something is 
abo'bt to take place : enyumba eyagala okugwa 
*the house is likely to fall.* Va *go out' 
conveys that something has just been done, or 
that an act results from something mentioned 



before ; in the latter case it is equivalent to 
' therefore.' 

Tti'Va kti'kola ' we have just been working.' 
Sometimes the auxiliary is followed by an 
infinitive, as in the last examples, and as we 
should expect in European languages. But it 
is, just as often followed by a finite verb, and 
this construction gives rise to some of the 
most curious and difficult i(5ioins — e.g.^ in 
Zulu : U'buye ti-hlangane nabo, * do thou after 
that join with them.' Literally *do thou 
return {buy a) that thou may est join with 
them.' In Ganda, mala * finish ' is used in 
various unexpected ways. It may denote, 
with a negative, * non-completed, though 
intended action.' Ya-mala na-ta-kola *as a 
matter of fact, he did not do the work.' Or 
we may find it in such sentences as malaga-lya 
' eat it just as it is' — whether you like it or 
not ; (perhaps the idea is * eat it and have done 
with it ! ') — mala ga-genda * never mind, go ! ' 

In Ronga, dyuleka neuter-passive of dyula 
* seek ' is employed as an auxiliary to express 
' it is necessary,' and chuka * start ' (with 
surprise) to convey the notion of ' perhaps ' * by 
any chance,' or to emphasize a negative 


KU'dyuleka ndi-famba * I have to go.' 
U -ta-mii'khoma loko u-chuka u-mu-bonih * You 
will seize him if by any chance you have 
seen him.' U-nga-chuke- u-hlaya ' Don't go to 
say. . . .' = * Don't think of saying. . . .' 

The use of the verb //, properly meaning 
' say ' is very important. It will be mentioned 
again in the next chapter, as it occurs so 
frequently in conjunction with the ' descriptive 
adverbs ' or ' sound-pictures ' so common in 
the Bantu languages. *But besides this use, 
it enters into a variety of characteristic idioms. 

It is found in most languages (except 
perhaps those of the Congo), though now 
disused in Swahili. In Chwana, it has the 
form r^S in Herero ty-a {ti + a) otherwise it 
scarcely varies. Its infinitive i« often used as 
a conjunction, equivalent to * that ' {cf. our 
* that is to say,') as in Nyanja : 

Antu a-ganiza kuti ndi mfiti ^ 

* People think that (they) are wizards (who) 
zi-sanduka makoswe 

* change-themselves (into) rats.' 

Sentences like this, where it is equivalent to 
^ saying,' show the connection quite clearly : 

Where e in Chwana corresponds to an i in Zulu, it 
is the narrow e — intermediate between French i and »• 


Tamhala a-lira kuti * kukuluku ! * 
' The cock crows saying ** kukuluku / " * 

Other tenses, simple and compound, are 
used more or less as conjunctions, e.g.^ Nyanja 
nga-ti *if' Ila a-no-ku-ti * whereas,^ Zulu 
ku-nga-tey ku-nga-ti-ti. Ila has a4ela * lest,' 
antela ' perhaps,' which may be applied forms 
of it. A very common idiom is to as 
an auxiliary at the beginning of a sentence, 
with some such meaning as * when,' * as soon 
as,' or * it came to pass that. . . .' 

Irregular Verbs. Bantu verbs can be 
irregular in two ways, neither of which need 
cause much difficulty. They may be of one 
syllable only, or they may end in somQ other 
sound than a. Ti and a few others are 
irregular in both ways at once. 

Genuine Bantu verbs of more than one 
syllable which do not end in -a are so rare 
that we need do no more than mention them. 

The monosyllables are more important, but 
of these a certain number must be eliminated, 
which are not original monosyllables, but have 
only become so by attrition. The case of the 
Zulu ma or ema * stand ' (Swahili sim-ama) 
was referred to in the last chapter, and there 



is a whole number of verbs in Zulu, found 
either with or without an initial e. Such are 
(e\mha * dig '^ (e)ha * steal,' {e)pa * thin out '^ (as 
seedHngs) {e)zwa * hear/ 

Some have more than one syllable, and 
these (like {e)fmika * go away ' {e)tula * take off ') 
look like Derived Forms. 

It seems clear that these (or most of them, 
for some might have been formed later, by 

* false analogy ') originally began with a 
consonant which was dropped, and then the 
initial vowel, when it could not easily be 
contracted with the pronoun, was elided also.* 
It is interesting to see that Nyanja, while 
keeping the initial vowel in ima ' stand ' has 
incorporated the infinitive particle with niha 
' dig,' which is now ku-kumba. Perhaps this is 
to avoid confusion with imba * sing,' as it has 
not been done in the case of ku-ba ' steal.'* 
Nyanja has no objection to the contact 

^ Probably the Swahili /-emfre^ahoe* comes from 
the same root. 

^ To be distinguished from pa * give,' which seems to 
be an original monosyllable. 

* 'Vowel verbs' are usually reckoned among 

* irregular verbs,' on account of this contraction, which 
is not always applied m the same way. 

* Cf. Swahili iba (Mombasa) and Jepa (Lamu). 


between two vowels, and, as a rule, sounds 
them both distinctly, not often contracting 
them into an intermediate sound, as is done in 
Zulu ; and perhaps this is why it retains the 
original i in ma, which in Zulu is altered to e. 
When we come to primitive monosyllables 
— or what we may fairly presume to be such — 
we find, apart from tense-particles and recog- 
nised auxiliaries, several verbs expressing 
simple and universal notions (such as * eat,' 
* drink,' * die,' etc.), m so many Bantu languages 
that they are likely enough to have formed 
part of the original common stock. The 
following table exhibits some, but by no means 
all, of these. 

The great interest of these primitive verbs 
lies in the fact that it may be possible to trace 
*them in the Sudan languages, as indeed, I 
think, has been done with one or two. But 
such questions lie outside the scope of this 












































































































































































^ The Kongo form of this word is spelt as given here in Bentley's 
Dictionary, but I have no doubt that it is pronounced dya^ as it is in 
Nyanja, where many of the printed books have dia. The same 
lapplies to the spelling nua (for nwa) and kia for kya in Kongo and 
Bangi. Bangi is spoken in the district near the junction of the 
Kasai with the Congo. 

> The old root has been lost in Zulu, probably for hlonifa reasons* ; 
the word now used is puza. Zanzibar Swahili has nywa, like 
Ganda. etc. Note the tendency of Duala verbs to end in-*. 

* Gwais found in old Swahili : the modern word is anguha. The 
usual word in Bangi is kita, but ku is given as an ' indeclinable 
adjective ' suggestive of falling. It may be the root of Duala ko, 

^ A dissyllabic form of this word is found in Yao (uwa) and 
Kikuyu (kiia). The former must not be confused with Swahili ua 
* kill,' which is the same word as Zulu and Kongo btda * strike.* 

^ Nyanja Zigula and Swahili have lost this, and use words 
meaning 'strike each other' (menyana^ towana, pigana). Giryama 
and Ganda use the reciprocal Iw-ana^ and Kongo has nw-ana^ 
evidently another form of the same ro . 

6 Ha in Chwana is used in the special sense of *' giving food." 
The word used in Kongo is vana, reciprocal of va, which could 

correspond etymologically with pa. 

f Kia and kya (which should probably be spelt alike) may ^bc the 
same sound as that indicated by cha and tya. See Noel-Armfield, 
Gtneral Phonetics, p. 91. 

8 This is only found in some dialects of Nyanja ; it is not used at 
Blantyre, probably to avoid confusion with a similar word, tabcosd 
as vulgar. 

* This word in Zuln expresses What anthropologists call ' taboo.' People turd 
said to hflonipa a word, if they avoid it (i) as improper or vulgar, (2) because it 
is the luKie — or part of the zlame->of a deceased chief, or (in the case of 
women) the head of the family. Thus, the wives and daughters of a man named 
u-Langa would have to find some other word when speaking of the sun {\-langa). 



Adverbs and Particles 

I have preferred the term * Particles ' for 
the invariable parts of speech — except adverbs, 
which are somewhat more clearly defined — 
because the words which act as prepositions 
and conjunctions may be — and often are — 
used in other^ ways, and, in fact, they usually 
prove, on examination, to be different part6 of 
speech altogether. 

Pa, hiy mw, which, as sometimes employed, 
are genuine prepositions, and treated as such 
in all the older grammars, are really pronouns, 
as we saw in an earlier chapter. In fact, 
Meinhof says there are no such things as 
prepositions in Bantu. The Zulu nga * with ' 
(in an instrumental sense, as watshayma 
ngomcibitsholo ' he was hit with an arrow ') at 
one time seemed to me a possible exception, 
but its use after the passive^ shows that it is 
really identical with the copula, as explained 

^ See above, pp. 114, 115. 


above. Na * with,' in the sense of ' along 
with/ is really the conjunction * and,' perhaps 
the only undoubted conjunction. 

We have already remarked that infinitives 
and even finite tenses of verbs may be used 
as conjunctions : e.g. {u)kuti\n Zulu and 
Nyanja ; xP'^^^^^^ — literally * to arrive' (at) 
for * until ' in Chwana ; Swahili kw-amba 

* that ' literally * to say ' {ktiti not being used), 
Lala k'limfwa ' and so ' literally ' to hear.' 
Nyanja -ngakale 'although,' — used with a 
pronoun, a-nga-kaUj chi-nga-kale, i-nga-kale^ 
etc., from kala * sit,' ' stay, be in a place,' and 
so, literally, * it may be (that. . . .') 

There is also an interesting use of nouns as 
conjunctions, as, Nyanja, chi-fukwa ' because,' 
which really means ' fault,' ' blame,' etc. ; 
Duala onyola na, contracted from o nyolo a nay 

* through the body of ' (* the fact that . . .' 
also meaning * because.') In Swina pa mtisoro 
pa * on the head of ' and pa musana pa ^ on the 
back of,' are used prepositionally for * because 
of,' * on account of.' 

The ease with which these locutions change 
places is illustrated by the fact that some 

adverbs are turned into prepositions by the 
addition of a particle. 


Thus pa-nsi (it is found in a great many 
languages, even where, as in Zulu, pa by itself 
has gone out of use) means * on the ground,* 
' down,' but pansi ya is * under ' ' below. 
Tint {chilli) which takes the place of pansi in 
Swahili is treated in the same way. 

It would serve no useful purpose to attempt 
enumerating all the possible words or com- 
binations of words which might serve as 
prepositions and conjunctions : the above is a 
sufficient indication what sort of thing to look 
out for in any particular language. 

With regard to Adverbs wis have several 
possibilities to consider. First, there are the 
regular adverbs, formed from adjectives with 
the prefix ka- ; to which we have already 
adverted in the chapter on the Numerals. 
These are found in Zulu, Nyanja (only with 
numerals), Ila, Nyamwezi (with numerals), 
Zigula.^ They do not occur in Swahili, Ganda, 
Gisu or Kongo. Kale or kade * long ago ' 
found in almost every language, even those 
which have no other adverbs in ka, seems to be 
iho adverbial of the root for ' long.* 

^ Besides the numeral adverbs this language has ka-ngi 
* often * (from -(«) ngi * many and perhaps other words 
of the same kind. 


Then we have nouns preceded by a posses- 
sive particle, as in SwahiH hifanya kwa uzuri 
* to do beautifully.' Here the possessive par- 
ticle agrees with kufanya^ but it would*also be 
used with a finite verb — I suppose still with 
reference to the infinitive ; or perhaps because 
its real relations had been forgotten, so that 
it could be placed indifferently after any form 
of the verb. 

Another way is to use an adjective with the 
prefix of the seventh or the eighth class — as 
Hereo tyi-nene * very/ from -nene * great ' ; 
Swahili vi-baya ' badly ' ; Duala bu-bi * badly * 
which last might also be classed as a noun. 
Other nouns are used, by themselves, or with 
a particle prefixed, as Zulu na-muhla * to- 
day,' Nyanja maw a ' to-morrow.' 

Then we have the locative Adverbs^ — not 
merely those already mentioned, which are 
preceded or followed by a locative particle, as 
pezuhij pansi (some languages have also kunsi 
and munsi)f tini, etc., but such as pano^ 7nuno, 
kuno, or hapUj pale, or mumofta, kukona, (Ila) 
and momwemoj pomwepo (Nyanja), with other 
variations, too many to be enumerated. 
These, however, are rather a kind of demon- 
strative pronoun. And it should not be for- 


gotten that the Derived Forms of Verbs, in 
many cases, render adverbs unnecessary. 

There are some invariable Adverbs, which 
do not seem to be derived from other parts of 
speech, as lero^ leo^ lelo * to-day,* Nyanja 
tsopano (Yao sambano) ^now,* kati * in the 
middle ' (sometimes with added prefixes), Yao 
soni ' again/ Nyanja -nso (suffixed to almost 
any other part of speech), *also/ * again' — 
and others, whiph can be found by consulting 
the lists in various grammars. It may be 
that the etymologies of these are only as yet 
untraced, and they may be assigned to their 
proper position in time ; but some of them 
possibly belong to the class described in the 
next paragraph, though they have settled 
down to a more assured position in the 
language than those we are about to mentfon. 

These are what are sometimes called 
* Sound-pictures ' ; other terms for them are 
' onomatopoetic vocables' (Stapleton), * de- 
scriptive adjectives ' (Junod), * onomatopoetic 
substantives' (Torrend), ^indeclinable adjec- 
tives ' (Whitehead), * interjectional roots,' etc. 

The importance of these has been more 
and more recognized of late years. They 
occupy a very prominent place in the Sudanic 


languages, and Westermann has devoted a 
good deal of attention to them in his Ewe 
Grammar} There is also a very interesting 
passage dealing with this feature of primitive 
language in Levy-Bruhrs Les Fottctions 
Mentales dans les Societes Inferieures} Dr. 
H ether wick (Handbook of the Yao Language, 
p. 76) says : 

* Certain words onomatopoetic in their 
character may be classed as adverbs. They 
represent the action or the idea referred to 
and may be used either with or without the 
descriptive verb ; thus chum signifies the sound 
of falling into water, like our English '* splash." 
Wa-gwile m'mesij chtim ! '* He fell intc^ the 
water, splash ! " Myu^ with the fingers drawn 
across the lips, or accompanied by a peculiar 
motion of the hands, one over the other, 
signifies completion ; Ngondo jaiche nekumala 
wandti myu ! '* The war came, and the popula- 
tion was completely destroyed." An idiomatic 
use of the verb kuti ** to say," is used in con- 
junction with such words. To the form -ati 
is prefixed the characteristic pronoun of the 

^ See The Language-Families of Africa^ pp. 43^ 66. 
' Paris, 1910. 


object described, and joined with the onoma- 
topoetic has the force and application of an 
adjective. Ngo jati pyu ** red cloth '' (literally 
the cloth which says pyu or red), Nale^ ngope 
jakwe jati bi '* Look, his face is black" (says 
bi — i,e., he is angry).' 

Here we see one of the expressions noted 
accompanied by a gesture. In fact we may 
suppose them to have arisen out of the gestures 
which preceded speech — to be, as it were, 
gestures translated into sound. To quote 
M. Levy-Bruhl (p. 183) : 

* It is not even necessary ihat these 
** auxiliaries " of description should be exclu- 
sively gestures or movements.' (The previous 
paragraph deals with the use of gesture, not 
in the absence of speech, but to help it out 
and make it more expressive.) * The desire to 
describe may also try to find satisfaction by 
means of ... a kind of pictures or repro- 
ductions of what one wants to express, obtained 
by means of the voice. Among the . Ewe 
tribes, says M. Westermann, the language is 
extraordinarily rich in the means of directly 
reproducing an impression by sound. This 
richness arises from an irresistible tendency 
to imitate all that is heard, seen, or generally 


perceived, and to imitate it by means of one 
or more sounds. . . . What is imitated, 
in the first instance, is apt to be movement ; 
but we also have these imitations or vocal 
reproductions — these '* vocal images,'^' for 
sounds, odours, tastes, tactile impressions. 
There are some which accompany the expres- 
sion of colours, abundance, degree, pain, 
enjoyment, etc. It is beyond doubt that 
many words in the real sense (nouns, verbs, 
adjectives) have originated in these vocal 
images. They are not, properly speaking, 
onomatopoeias, but rather descriptive vocal 

Stapleton, therefore, defined them some- 
what too narrowly in calling them imitations 
of sounds^ — in fact this is contradicted by the 
very examples he gives a few lines further 
back : 

Ngala: mai mahandakani lilili * the water has 

quieted down peacefully.' 
hutu hoindi pi 'the night darkens darkly, 

or silently on all the heavens at once, etc.* 
LOLO : ntso kwi kwi kwi * go quickly.' 

This writer goes on to -say : ' These forms 

Comparative Handbook of Congo Languages ^ p. 130. 


are used very largely as interjections, and 
some are evidently amongst the most primitive 
elements of these languages. Some appear to 
be the roots from which nouns, etc., are 
formed, — sanja abameli ba o mai (Ngala) ** the 
moon shines on the water brightly " {cf. bo-biiy 
'' light "). Ndako foi foi (Kele) ^'* the house is lit 
up brightly/' ' 

It is a pity that the author did not illustrate 
this point a little more fully, as he does not 
tell us what noun is formed iromfoifoi: by 
analogy we should expect bo-Joi. In the 
cognate Bangi language (which does not seem 
to possess the / sound) poipoi^ expresses the 
brightness of a shining surface, such as 
polished wood or metal. It makes a verb 
poibana. A glance through the Dictionary 
shows numerous other examples : pioka ' beat 
with a stick or whip,' from piOy the sound 
made by a switch ; tsakana * be dispersed ' 
from tsa ; zonga * surround,' from zo. These 
are given in the Dictionary as derived from 

As printed in Whitehead's dictionary, this word 
has diacritic marks indicating that o is the narrow o 
with the * raised ' tone, and i has the * lowered * tone. 
This is important, as there arc other words quite similar 
except for the tones, 


verbs, but it is not fair to mention this without 
quoting the passage from the Grammar (p. i8) 
which relates to them : 

* For the most part these are derived from 
verbs, or 'the verbs from them. For practical 
purposes it is here assumed ' (but why ?) * that 
they are derived from verbs. Those who 
maintain that the verbs are derived from 
them have the best of the argument, for 
these indeclinable adjectives are the most 
elementary parts of the language, and many 
may be traced to an onomatopoetic origin. 
These words are the most graphic in the 
language, they are the ** colouring " words, 
the stories and common speech of the people 
are full of them, and often they have such 
force that sentence after sentence can be 
constructed by means of them, without the use 
of a single verb, the verb being indicated by 
these indeclinable adjectives. They take the 
place of adjectives to a very large extent, and 
in the dictionary their meaning will often be 
found indicated by an English adverb, yet in 
Bobangi they are adjectives.' 

These languages of the Middle Congo and 
its northiern affluents tend to shade off towards 
those of the Sudanic family. This would seem 


to account — I do not say for the abundance of 
these roots, for Ronga, Nyanja, Zulu, Yao, etc., 
are very rich in them,^ but for the frequency 
of nouns and verbs formed from them, and 
the ease with which they can be recognised. 

In Zulu (which in many ways seems to be 
one of the younger Bantu languages), a number 
of verbs are plainly derived from these 
particles, though they are more usually intro- 
duced hy t^kuti. See § 298 (p. 128) of Colenso's 
First Steps in ZiUu-Kafir — a most instructive 
passage, though the author did not quite 
appreciate the character of these 'vocal 
images/ The remark (p. 129) that ' others are 
probably imitations of the sounds referred to ' 
shows, however, that he was on the right track. 

Some of the examples given to illustrate 
this derivation of verbs incidentally show that 
some verbs may seem to be Derived Forms 
which are not so in reality ; thus hlepula 

* And probably other languages, where no special 
attention has been called to them. In Velten*s 
Nyamwezi grammar, e.g, (Velten's books are practically 
useful, but he is scarcely a safe guide in philology) wc 
find bti * abundantly,' and po or pe * also * — perhaps 
others. It is rather surprising to find no indication of 
such * adverbs * in Gisu — but the work done on that 
language is admittedly very tentative as yet. 


< break off' looks like the reversive of a (non- 
existent) hlepa^ whereas it comes straight, so 
far as one can see, from nhiti hlepu. So, too, 
boboza * pierce/ which looks like a causative, is 
from ukuti hobo * to have a hole in it ' ; and the 
same root gives us the nouns im-bobo and 
isi'bobo. Perhaps some of us have not left our 
childhood too far behind to feel in a dim way 
that bobo somehow suggests a hole (and it 
does so quite as much as the same word, in 
French nurseries, expresses * something that 
hurts') — but even these will not be able to 
explain why it is so. 

Some of the Zulu examples are so delightful 
for their own sake, that I make no apology for 
quoting them. 

Ngaziti shwangalazi lezo' zinto zonke. 

* I said shwangalazi to all those things — swept !hem 
away with a swish.' 

* He says xafuxafu '^ — eats like a dog. 

* It (the sky) said namanama (rained very gently) 
this morning." 

* He said (or went) gtgigi down the slope ' — ue,, ran 
down — * and crossed over to the other side.' (Evidently 
getting impetus for the upward effort). 

* The sun said tetete ' — was low down in the sky. 

^ X indicates the lateral click. 


Mr. E. W. Smith {Grammar of the Ila 
Language^ p. 66) mentions 'certain particles 
suffixed to adjectives which express a super- 
lative or absolute idea. They do not seem to 
be used with all verbs. 

* Ne, Menzhia la tontola-ne, the water is very, very 

* Bu. Muntu u la tuba-bu, the person is very, or 
altogether white. 

* NswA. Menzhi a zuma-nswd, the water is 
altogether dried up.* 

The acute accent (which is not explained in 
the text) may indicate a raising of the tone, 
or (more probably) that it is accented 
independently of the verb, and does not, as 
enclitics in Bantu usually do, draw the accent 
forward. In that case, it would surely have 
been better not to connect the two by a 

It would seem as if Ila had limited the 
scope of the Vocal Image to a mere expression 
of intensity. Or perhaps the author has to 
some extent mistaken its nature ; for it seems 
clear — even without an inside knowledge of 
the language — that they do not mean * very ' 
or anything of the sort ; but ne is * cold/ 


bu * white ' ; nswa ' dry,' piu * red ' (as- in 
Yao), and so on. Mr. Smith goes on to say : 

* These particles are also used interjectionally, 
the verbs being omitted, e.g.^ Nda kaya kti 
menzhi. Nswa! I went to the water. 
Quite dry ! ' This could not be explained on 
the supposition that nswa simply means 

* very.' We should also like to refer back to 
the parallel columns of verbs and adjectives 
given by Mr. Smith on p. 6i — already ad- 
verted to in Chapter VIII. The adjectives 
there given look to me like developments 
{'biabe 3.nd -fwafwi are imperfect reduplications ; 
all the others ending in o or uY from roots of 
this kind, and the verbs as if they had been 
formed directly from the roots. Of the 

* superlative particles ' I have only been able 
to trace one which has given rise to a verb : 
-pi J whence pia ' to be hot.' (This, as pya^ 
psya^ swa, etc., is found in most Bantu lan- 
guages with the same, or some closely con- 
nected meaning. Meinhof thinks the Proto- 
Bantu stem was pia.) But I have no doubt 
that careful search would be able to discover a 
great many. 

We shall recur to this point in the next chapter. 


In Swahili these particles are not con- 
spicuous, yet I do not know how otherwise to 
account for tu ' only/ pia * also,' * altogether,' 

* entirely,* {watte wote pia) y hi7na ^ quickly.* A 
few are heard as expletives (* When the doctor 
pulled out my tooth, I felt — bti ! * — lo-o-o ! 
expressive of surprise, chtib ! of impatience, 
etc.), but they are not used otherwise and do not 
seem to have given rise to any verbs or nouns. 
Perhaps the influence of Arabic, which has 
supplied some useful adverbs, prepositions 
and conjunctions, has favoured the disuse of 
the Vocal Image. 

The late Revs. D. C. Scott and W. A. 
Scott, of Blantyre, collected, in a valuable 
little pamphlet — The Mang*anja Unit of 
Thought — some interesting specimens of what 
they have somewhat enigmatically called 

* Buds or Thorns ? ' I take this title to 
imply a doubt whether such particles were 
really roots whence speech was developed, or 
outgrowths of developed speech — atrophied 

* fragments of verbs.' A few of the^ sentences 
may be here given in illustration. 

* The lion did not spring — he just came, kuputu ! 
kuputu I kuputu ! — like a horse.' 

* The eagle has swept past — kwa.' 


* A man with a lame leg goes timpya, timpya, ttttipya.* 

* The soldiers stood ndaj nda, nda * (in line). 

* The stars are shining ng'anit ng'ani, ng'ani,* 

* He got into the mud and fell tapwi I — he got out 
and fell into the water, pahva ! * 

* The guinea-fowl has run away it jo ! njo ! njo ! * 
Here the verb used is njonjola, clearly formed from the 

Further quotations are unnecessary, and 
would take up too much space, but I would 
direct the reader's attention to M. Junod's 
paragraphs (§§ 378, 379) on Adverbcs descriptifs 
(pp. 196, 197 of his Grammaire Ronga.y He 
strongly insists on the importance of these 
adverbs ' and on the great number of verbs 
derived from them. 

One point to notice, in conclusion, is that 
Vocal Images frequently contain sounds not 
otherwise found in the language, just as we 
use clicks not found in any articulate English 
words to express surprise, regret or (to a horse) 
encouragement. Chum (Yao and Nyanja) and 
chub (Swahili) have unwonted final consonants. 

His Elementary Grammar of the Thonga-Shangaan 
Language (in English) is more generally accessible. 
The section on * Descriptive Adverbs ' will be found on 
pp. 84-86. 


In Shambala, quite a number of these words 
begin with p — a sound which in that language 
is (except when preceded by m) changed to h. 
This matter would evidently repay further 


Word Building 

We saw, at the outset, that inflexion by 
prefixes was a great and striking characteristic 
of the Bantu speech-family. We have seen, 
also, that suffixes play by no means a negligible 
part, as they distinguish both the Derived 
Forms and the Moods of Verbs. Further^ 
some languages have the suffixed Locative ; 
and we just remarked in passing that a good 
many adjectives are formed by suffixes. 
What more there is to say about these, and 
the other cases not already noticed, can best 
find a place here. 

Nouns may end in any one of the five 
vowels.^ Any one of these may be a suffix. 

^ I am using this expression for convenience sake. 
They may, for aught I know, end in any of the fifty or 
so vowel-sounds recognised by phoneticians which 
exist in Bantu. But the old original five will serve the 
purpose of this exposition. 



but is not necessarily so ; e.g.^ in mbwa * dog,' 
nyati * buffalo/^ the final vowel seems to belong 
to the stem. 

Taking, first, nouns andv adjectives formed 
from verbs, and going through the classes in 
order, we find that one of the commonest 
derivatives of this kind is the noun-agent, 
where the verb-stem takes the prefix of the 
first class, and changes its final -a io-i (in 
Herero to -e). 

Zulu : um-fiki one who arrives,' from fika 

* arrive.* 

um-fi * deceased person,* from fa * die.' 
Herero : omu-tarere * overseer,* from tarera, 

applied form of tara * look.* 
Chwana : mo-dihi. * worker,* from diha * work * ; 

mo-ruti * teacher * from ruta * teach.* 
Nyanja : m-weti * herdsman * from weta ; tn-pamhi 

* robber * from pamha. •* 
Ganda : omu-zimhi 'builder* from zimba; omti- 

somi reader,* from soma. 

Other nouns prefix the first-class prefix to 
the unchanged verb-stem, as Swahili m-chunga 
{m-tunga) * herdsman,' from chunga (tunga) to 
' herd ' ; m-gcfna ' one who taps palm trees ' (for 

^ These words are Swahili, but they are found (some- 
times in the same form) in many other languages. 


wine), from gema. But these are really a 
species of participle, and their verbal character 
is still so far felt in Swahili that they are usually 
(not always) followed by an object : mc/mnga 
mbuzi * a goat-herd ' (* one who herds goats ') 
mfanya biashara * one who makes trade,' i.e.^ 
* a merchant.' But both in Swahili and in 
other languages we also find nouns of this 
kind without an object, which shows that there 
is a tendency to lose sight of their verbal 
character. E.g., Yao m-langa * herdsman,' 
Nyanja m4ondola * one who tracks game,' 
from londola * follow up ' and the Swahili 
mgema already given. 

There are some verbal nouns in -e as 
Swahili m4ume^ * messenger,' from tuma * send.' 
We have already pointed out that adjectives 
in -e are frequently derived from verbs, and 
from these we get names of the first class, like 
m-ume 'husband,' the adjective -tcme *male 
being derived from an almost obsolete (in this 
sense) Itima * cohabit.' Ganda has a set of 
nouns ending in -e with a passive significance — 
omU'fumite * wounded man,' ivomfumita * stab, 
omU'Sibe * prisoner ' from siba^ * bind.' 

^ Not often used except in the sense of 'apostle.* 


Verbal nouns of the first class in o do not 
seem totfe so common, but are found in Yao, 
as m-jiganyo * teacher/ from jiganya * teach.' 
(Dr. Hetherwick, however, says that * in 
actual use, the relative iorms jtmkwiganya,' etc. 
— i.e. J the infinitive preceded by the possessive 
particles — * are more frequently employed'). 
And, in general, it is so easy to make these 
forms for oneself that it is well to remember 
the warnings of experienced writers, and never 
venture on any not ascertained to be used 
by the natives themselves. Bishop Colenso 
says : 

* The above words, however,' {i.c^ um-fuftdi 

* learner ' and um-fiindisi * teacher ') * and most 
of the above kind which appear in the printed 
books, are formed by Missionaries, not by the 
Natives, who employ these derivatives much 
more sparingly, but may form them at 
pleasure, so that they cannot be entered in 
the Dictionaries as standard Zulu words.' 
Examples of the latter kind are um-ondhli 

* nourisher ' used in an isibongo^ of Mpande, 

^ Isi'bongo (from bonga * praise ') is a song (generally a 
string of laudatory epithets) composed by the professional 
bards or * praisers * of the Zulu chiefs, and banded down 
by tradition. 


SO that it may be regarded as a kind of 
poetical license, and um-hambi * traveller/ 
which occurs in a proverbial expression. Some 
such words, however, * belong to the lan- 
guage ' ; and indeed we might add that even 
of the others, some (such as um-fuiidisi) have 
been found so useful that they are by this 
time fully naturalized. 

And the late Dr. Scott, in the Preface to 
his Cyclopcedic Dictionary of the Mang^anja 
Language^ says : 

* Yet no word can be formed at pleasure : 
it must bow to usage and wont. However 
clear the formation. . . . is . . . one 
must serve the language, not create it;* 

But I cannot refrain from adding to this 
a remark I once heard from Professor Meinhof, 
to the effect that no one knows a language 
really well, until he can play tricks with it. 
The application of this, in conilection with the 
previous quotations, must be left to the indi- 
vidual conscience of the linguist. 

Adjectives, as we have seen, often end in -w 
when derived from verbs {-fu and -vu are 
common terminations in this case) and some- 
times when their derivation is not so clear. 
Meinhof derives -kulu from kula * grow,' but it 


is open to question whether the derivation is 
not the other way about. Nouns in -i^derived 
from verbs, do not seem to be so common, — 
unless they are verbal adjectives used as 
nouns : e.g. nt'ttdivu ' a quiet, peaceable sort 
of person,' from tiUia} 

There is in ^wahili another suffix to 
personal nouns, which denotes habitual action : 
-y/, as m-seMa-ji * orator ' from se^na ' speak ' ; 
m-pa-ji * a generous person ' (but see note 
on this word in Madan's Swahili-English 
Dictionary), from pa * give.' I do not know 
if this particular ending is found anywhere 

Nouns of the third class are sometimes 
formed from verbs with the ending o ; Nyanja 
m-pepo and Herero om-bepo Svind,' from pepa 

* blow,' (this verb and its resulting noun are 
found in most Bantu languages, but the latter 
is sometimes of a different class) ; Herero 
omii'hapo ' shape,' fri)m hapa * grow ' ; Nyanja 
m-kotamiro * lintel of a door ' from kotamira 

* stoop ' ; m-dtiliro * mode of cutting ' (the 

^ Chatelain says that, in Mbundu (Angola) -u and -o 
have, in general, a passive * or inactive ' force and -a, 
-e and -i an active one. 


hair) ; Swahili m-teremo * cheerfulness,' from 
terema^ rejoice'; m-pako 'plaster' ixom paka 

* smear/ m-chezo {m-tczo) * dance,' ' game,* from 
cheza (teza), mw-endo 'journey' from enda^ walk' 
(the same word is found in Nyanja, meaning 
*leg'). Duala has in this class a peculiar 
suffix -ko : mii-anga-ko * roast meat ' from anga 

* roast,' mpoko * gimlet,' from poa * bore.' 

Verbal Nouns of Class 5 ending in 
are common. They often mean the place 
where anything is done, as Ganda e-fti.inbiro 

* a place to cook in ' from fumba ; Bangi 
ebombelo * hiding place,' from bomba, * hide/ 
In Kongo nouns of this kind, end in 
w : estimbihi * place for buying ' from sumba 

* buy/ Sometimes these are only used in the 
plural, as Nyanja matero * limits/ from tera^ 
applied form of ta * finish ' ; malowero * place 
where the sun sets,' from lowcra, iowd * go in.' 

Another kind of noun in belonging to this 
class indicates the result of an action, or 
sometimes the way^ in which it is done. 
Swahili chezo (tezo) 'game,' etc. (used as well 
as mchezo 3, but more frequent in the plural, 
ma-chezo) ; pendo * love,' * liking ' from penda. 
Also mapenzi^ not used in the singular: in fact, 
many of these nouns only exist in the plural, 


e.g.^ Nyanja maganizo * thought ' from ganiza 

* think ' ; matyolo * breaking ' from tyola^ 

* break * ; majebo * notches cut round a stick * 
from jeba ; Swahili ma-choro * carving/ 
ma-patano * agreement ' from kti-patana, reci- 
procal of pata ' obtain ' : * get (from) each 
other ' = ' agree/ 

Some have taken these nouns as plurals to 
the infinitive (ku) class ; but they should have 
been warned by the termination and the 
slight, but quite distinct, difference in meaning. 
KU'Chora, e.g., is the act of carving, ma-choro 
the carving itself (our English participle is 
ambiguous) ku-teza the act of dancing, matezo 
the dances (or games) themselves. 

I may repeat here that the coining of words 
for oneself is apt to be a dangerous experiment. 
Because matezo comes from teza, and taka is 

* wish ' it is not safe^o conclude that ma-tako 
means * wants/ * wishes ' : if you do, the result 
will be embarrassing. 

The seventh class has a good many nouns 
formed from verbs, sometimes without change 
in the final vowel, sometimes with the endings 
e, i or : perhaps the last is the commonest. 
The chief meaning is (i) the instrument with 
which, or the place or time where, anything is 



done, but we also find (2) a person who does a 
thing habitually, or excels in it. Some, 
however, can scarcely be distinguished in 
meaning from those mentioned in the last 
paragraph, as (Swahili) kiUfido * action,' 
kicheko * a laugh * ; Yao chi-nyengo * deceit ' 
trom nyenga. Ganda : eki-gambo ' word,' 
from gamba * speak.' 

(1) Zulu : isi-bongo from bonga * praise,' isi-fo 

* disease * (that by which one dies).' 

Chwana : se-reko * a thing to buy with,' from 

reka * buy ' ; se-aparo * clothing, 
from apara * put on.' 

Yao : chi-Undo * watch-hut,' from linda 

* guard ' ; chi-gono, * sleeping-place » 
from gotia, 

Swahili : ki-fo * place of dying ' ; ki-funiko 'lid,' 

from funika * cover.' 

Herero : otyi-dhsra sacred place,' from dhera 

* avoid for ceremonial reasons ' . 


otyi-kunino * garden,' from kuna 

* plant.* 

(2) Zulu: 

isi-lauli * habitual jester,' isi-hambi 
* traveller.' 

RONQA : shi-di * great eater * (from da), shi-yaki 

* skilled builder,' from yaka * build.' 


Nouns in -e are 

Nyanja : chi-poude * a mess of pounded food, 

from ponda * pound,* chi-kalidwc 
* nature of a thing.'^ 

Chwana has a large number of verbal nouns 
belonging to the ninth class, which in form 
(as this class in Chwana has no prefix) and 
meaning are much like those of the fifth 
already mentioned : tiha * work/ from diha 

* do ' ; kepo ' digging ' from epa * dig ' ; picho 

* assembly ' from bilsa * call.' These usually 
have a more and a less concrete meaning — 
c.g.^ picho may mean the act of calling, or the 
assembly which is called ; and there is another 
kepo^ with a difierence in the quantity of the 
final vowel, meaning * a digging-stick.' The 
differences in the initial cons'onant follow the 
special laws of soujad to which Chwana is 
subject, and we may remark that, in kepo^ k is 
not prefixed to the root, but is a modified 
restoration of a lost consonant. 

^ From kalidwa, passive of kala * sit,* * stay,* * be * — 
verbs which with us cannot have a passive. Chikalidwe 
means, I suppose, * the way in which a thing is,' as 
regarded by an outsider, and not from its own point of 
view — this might make its * being,* in some sense, 


In Herero we find some personal verbal 
nouns of this class : o-ndodhe ' an artful? 
crafty person '^ from rora * test,' * examine,' 
O'hodhe * spy,' from hora * spy out.' They are 
not so common elsewhere, but Meinhof derives 
the Zulu and Chwana word for chief in-kosi, 
kxosif from koka, xoya ' draw,' * lead ' — like dtiXj 
from diico. 

We find some nouns of the eleventh and 
fourteenth classes derived from verbs, though 
the latter oftener come from nouns and 
adjectives. Yao, however, has a great many 
in U'j which seem to belong to this class. 

Ganda : olu-tinda * bridge ' from tinda * bridge 

over * ; olu-talo * battle * from tala * set 
in array * ; olu-imha * song * from imha 
* sing ' ; (in other languages this ends in 
o: Swahili w-imbo, Ila and others Iw- 
imho) ; oln-getido * journey * from genda 
*go* (Nyanja ul-endo), olu-gero a 
proverb * * story/ from gera * tell * (a 
story, etc.). - 

Kongo : lu-keselo * how the cutting-down came 

about,' from kesela, applied form of 
kesa, *cut ' ; lu-vangilu * the manner of 

^ * One who will take nothing on trust * is the sense 
suggested by the derivation. 





being made * ; 'manufacture,' from vanga 
* make.' Of CI. 14, umbangu * skill,' 
from vanga ; undqfii * witchcraft,' from 
loka * bewitch.'^ 

I LA : lufuno * love,* from funa ; lufuko * dust,' 

from fuka * rise ' (said of smoke, etc.), 
luheta * judgment,' no doubt from heta^ 
but the verb now in use is the derived 
form beteka, 

SWAHILI : u-funguo * key,' from fungua * unlock ' ; 
^ u-fagio and u-peo * broom,* from fagia^ 
pea * sweep ' ; u-pito, * passage,' from 
pita * pass ' ; u-puuzi * nonsense, * folly,' 
from puuza * talk foolishly.' The last 
two are probably of CI. 14, which is 
not now to be distinguished from 11 in 

Ganda : CI. 14, ohu'Sera * flour,' from sera^ ap- 
plied form of sa 'grind,* obu-ganza 

* favouritism,' from ganza * be fond of.' 
Nyanja : U'limbo * bird-lime ' {obu-limbo in Ganda : 

probably from limba * be firm, hard, 
tough,' also * stick fast,' etc.), u-bvundo 

* decay,' from bvunda * rot * ; u-sokedwe 

* manner of sewing,' from soka ; m- 
endedwe * manner of walking,' from 

Yao : U'lindi * watching,' from linda ; uwii 

Both these words have their initial stem-consonant 
modified by contact with the prefix, 


theft,' from iwa * steal ' ; and a number 
indicating the way of doing things, like 
the last two Nyanja examples: u-tawc^ 

* plan of building/* «-^^;/^^n37tf * mode 
of making/ from panganya * make/ etc. 

XOSA : ubu-xoki * falsehood * from xoka * tell 

lies' (also Zulu) ; uhu-lumko * prudence/ 
from lumka ; ubii-sika * winter ' (/.e., 

* the cutting time '), from sika * cut/ 
(also Zulu), etc., etc. 

In Kele (Conga) we have, e.g.^ bo4io *door,' 
from lia * shut.' 

The Locative Class sometimes has a kind 
of relative form based on a verb-stem in the 
applied form; as in Nyanja: po-gonerUy mo- 
gonera^ 'a place to sleep at' or 'in.' The 
latter implies that it is an enclosed place, and 
can therefore be used as an equivalent for 
* bedroom ' ; so, too, mo-dyera * dining-room ' 
(from dya) 3.nd mo-sambira * bath-room.' from 
samba * wash.' 

This does not exhaust the ways of forming 

* Tawa * tie ' is used to mean * build ^ (as manga, 
with the same meaning in Nyanja) because in erecting 
the framework of a nativs hut, a great part of the work 
consists in tying the poles, or withes, together — and, 
again, in tying on the thatch. 

^ From gona * sleep.* 



nouns ; but these are the principal ones to be 
found in most languages. The passage on 
the Derivation of Nouns in Bentley's Kongo 
Grammar (pp. 528-538) is both interesting and 
instructive, but it should be remembered that 
the system is not everywhere so elaborate. 
See also the section headed * Formation of 
Nouns/ in the Rev. A. J. Wookey's Secwana 
Grammar^ pp. 10-14. 

Before leaving the subject of noun-suffixes, 
it is necessary to notice the diminutive in 
-a7ia, which Zulu, Chwana and Ronga have 
substituted for the diminutive formed by the 
thirteenth prefix {ka-). It is probably like the 
suffix 'kazi i'kxalt)y which forms something 
like a rudimentary feminine gender, due to the 
influence of the suffix-inflecting * Hottentot ' 
language — or languages. 

We must say a few words about Denomifui' 
live Verbs — i.e.^ verbs derived either from 
nouns or adjectives. They were mentioned 
in connection with the Derived Forms, but 
they are distinct from these, and probably of 
later formation. They are exceptional, in 
that they consist of more than two syllables, 
without going back to a simple verb ; but they 
often look like derived forms ; e.g.j Swahili 


chafu-ka * be dirty,' which is not the neuter- 
passive-reversive of a verb chafa^ but comes 
from chafii ' dirty.' So, too, toroka, * run 
away ' from m4oro * deserter ' ; pevu-ka * be 
grown-up ' from -pevtc * full-grown/ 

Verbs are also formed in this way by the 
suffix 'pa, as nene-pa * be ' or * grow stout ' (also 
found in Nyanja, where the adjective -nene is 
not used). In Herero we have handu-ka ' be 
impudent,' from the noun e-handu 5 ; ram-ka 

* be greedy,' from e-rani 5 * gluttony,' dhandu- 
pa * become young ' from -dhandii ; and others 
with the suffix para, as poiu-para * be blind,' 
re-para * be long.' 

In Zulu there are a few verbs in -pa and 
'pala ; de-pa * grow tall,' kuhc-pala * be fat ' (or 

* big'). In Yao, verbs are often formed from 
Vocal Images by the^ suffix : -ma, as sisima 

* be cold,' from si or sisisi. 

Herero has a somewhat ^peculiar class of 
compounds, which we must not leave 
unnoticed. We saw, quite early in this book, 
that names of trees have practically every- 
where the prefix of the third class. In Herero 
they are sometimes still further distinguished 
by suffixing the root -ti: omu-hama-ti, omu- 
tender e-ti, omu-ngwa-ti. (I am unable to say 



what these trees are, except that the last of 
the three is called by.Brincker ' wild tamarisk/ 
Umu-nga, in Zulu, is a common species of 
mimosa.) Again, we have a number of words 
compounded with -ndu (the root of omu-ndu, 




*man * 
* widow ' 

Also : 

on-dume-wa 9 
omn-kuru'kadhe 1 
omii-dhorO'twa 1 

{'kadhe = * female ') 
{-rume = * male *) 
(Meinhof suggests a de- 
rivation from -hepu 
* discjpntented ' !) 

* male dog ' (on-rume-ombwa) 

* old woman * (-kuru = * old *) 

* Hill Damara,' from -dhoro * black * 

and otnu'twa 

* Bushman.' 

Another curious feature is the insertion of 
the interrogative particle ke between prefix 
and stem, as imu-ke-ndu} * What sort of 
person ? ' omti-ke-ti * What sort of tree ? ' 

Professor Meinhof says that compound 
nouns are unusual in Bantu^ and that perhaps 

^ The initial vowel i is sometimes substituted for o 
in Herero — as in the Demonstrative Pronoun (CI. l) 

^ LautlehrCi p. 135. 



those in Herero are due to the influence of 
Nama, in which they are very common. If 
he is referring to the compounds enumerated 
above, he is probably right ; but he goes on 
to give a number of compounds consisting of 
a verb and a noun, which could easily be 
paralleled elsewhere. 
Some of these are : 

omu-rara-nganda 1 

orU'pif onganda 11 

omu-dhemha-titna 3 

otyi-dhuma-we 7 

* neighbour ' ; that is * one who 

sleeps {rara) in the same 
village * {onganda), 
' vagrancy,* from pita * go out * 
and onganda. 

* forgetf ulness,' literally * for- 

getting heart * {dhemba * for- 
get,' omu'tima * heart * — 
Nyanja mtimay etc.). 

* noise made by the fall of a 

meteor* — strange that this 
should be a common enough 
occurrence to have a word 
to itself — from ^^dhuma^ 
* roar * and e-we 5 * stone ' 
(the verb dhuma does not 
seem to. be in use. Zulu 
has duma * thunder,* but the 
word corresponding to the 

* An asterisk prefixed to a root or word means that it 
is not actually used in that form. 


Hereto one should be zumu^ 
which has a different mean- 

It would not be difficult to make a long list 
of similar compounds. 

Zulu : indhlula-miti 9 * giraffe,' from dlilula 

* pass * and imiti : it is * higher than the 

in-swela-boya * a horrible portent ' (some- 
times * a corpse *) — literally * a thing 
without hair/ from swela Mack' and 
uh'Oya * hair,* * wool,* etc. 

n-mahamba-nendhlwane caddis- worm,' 
etc., from hamba * go ' and indhlwana 

* little house.* 

kw a* Ma man galahlwa* the Back of Beyond' 
— literally : * At (the place of) " Mother ! 
Tm lost ! " * 

Many Zulu proper names are such com- 
pounds, sometimes very curious and 

Nyanja : kokalupsya * early rains ' which * sweep 

away ' {koka) the * burnt grass ' (lupsya) ; 
inpinganjira 3 'obstacle in the way,* 
'' from pinga * lie across,' and njira * road ' 

fulagonibe * the bee-eater * (which builds 
its nest in a bank, like our sand-martin) 
from fula * dig out ' and gombe * river 


Ila : chi-zhinga-lula 'intestinal fat * (* that which 

surrounds the bowel *)• 
mU'dima-ku'hushu * small-pox ' (*what digs 
(holes) on the face and numerous 

In fact the compounding of words (there 
are numerous examples of two nouns connected 
by the possessive particle forming an insepar- 
able compound^) seems — if not so fully carried 
out as in Greek — to be by no means alien to 
the genius of the Bantu languages. It is 
oftenest found in proper names (as already 
remarked) and in the names of animals and 
trees. I 

^ Zulu : inja-yo-mSutu (* dog of the Mosutu *)-=-a 

hairy caterpillar. 
iso-le-nkosikazi (* lady's eye *) — a flower (a 
kind of jasmine). 


Some Phonetic Laws 

I j'HiNK I have sometimes been asked— by 
persons whose philological science was some- 
what more imperfect than my own — whether 
Grimm's Law was applicable to the Bantu 
Languages, Of course, as the law in question 
is^only a statement of what happens to certain 
consonants in the Indo-European languages, 
the answer must be no. But the principle on 
which it is based, that of the permutation of 
consonants, holds good, and seems to work 
out with unfailing regularity. That is, if we 
meet with any apparent irregularities, they are 
probably due, either to imperfect observation 
of the sounds, or to the operation of some law 
not yet ascertained : in either case, they will 
disappear in the light of further knowledge. 

* In investigating the relations of any 

dialect with its kindred dialects, the first step 



is to determine to what sounds in the latter 
its own sounds regularly correspond.*^ 

This was done to a limited extent by Bleek 
— with remarkable thoroughness considering 
the number of languages at his disposal, and 
the small amount of material available for 
some of them. But the work can never be 
satisfactorily completed till the nature of all 
Bantu sounds has been determined with 
scientific exactitude. Meinhof, for instance, 
after working for years in order to discover 
the Bantu sounds regularly corresponding to 
the clicks in Zulu and Xosa^ was obliged to 
give up the task as hopeless for the present, 
chiefly because ' the method followed in these 
comparisons was a very rough one. The 
question whether the clicks were or were not 
aspirated, was never taken into account, and 
the tones were not investigated at all. There- 
fore, in cases where it seemed as if we had 
found two or three instances going to prove a 
particular sound-shifting, it is not certain that 

* Whitney, W, D., Langucfge and the Study of 
Language (1884), p. 97. 

* Most of these clicks occur in borrowed (Hottentot 
and Bushman) words ; but some axe found in words 
which have parallel forms in other Bantu languages. 


even these were valid, and .... the 
results of infinite trouble are worthless from a 
philological point of view.' 

But, even now, some broid principles of 
correspondence can be set down as certain, 
though we must await the exacter definitions 
of phonetic science before filling in the details. 
As this book does not concern itself with 
phonetics, I should be straying beyond my 
province, if I attempted to do more than 
indicate these in the most general way ; but a 
few hints on the subject may fitly close our 

The difficult sounds called * laterals ' 
(written hl^ dhl tly tlh) are confined to Zulu, 
Chwana and Thonga.^ They are absent even 
from Herero and the Venda languages of the 
North Transvaal. The following table will 
illustrate the various sounds in which they 
correspond with other languages. 

Here we find that hi (which seems to be the 

^ Here *Zulu* includes Xosa and the various sub- 
ordinate dialects spoken by the AmaBaca, Swazis and 
others ; Chwana comprises Sutu and Pedi (besides 
Rolong, Khatla, etc.) and Thonga (the h is necessary to 
prevent confusion with at least three other Tongas), Ronga 
and other languages of the Delagoa Bay region. 





Zulu Chwana Herero Venda Nyanja Swahili Ganda 




-///jano I -/ano 
tlhware — 

tlou cn-dyou 











same sound as the Chwana lateral in the 
corresponding word, though written differently), 
is represented in the other languages either by 
5 or (dental) /, except in the case of the 
Swahili for * python/ to which we must return 
presently, dhl or //, on the other hand are 
represented either by 7 {dy is probably in some 
cases nearer the sound) dental rf, or (in 
languages not included in the table) ^, dz^ or s 
(Pokomo nzovUj Giryama ndzovu, Konde 
i'Sofu) . 

(The names for * python' used in Herero and 
Ganda seem to come from a different root, 
and I have not been able to get the Venda 
word. Ronga n-hlam keeps the lateral and, 
like Chwana, substitutes r for t) 

The apparent anomaly of the Swahili 4ano 
and chaUi requires a little further explanation. 
In the Mombasa dialect there are two kinds of 
/, in that of Zanzibar only one is recognised in 
practice. They may be distinguished here 


(though this book, on principle, tries as far as 
possible to avoid diacritic marks) as / and t. 
In Mombasa printed books — the former, as 
the more usual sound, is left unmarked, the 
latter is underlined, or printed in italics, or 
distinguished in some other way. t is pro- 
nounced with the tip of the tongue against the 
hard palate, t %vith it touching — or even 
between — the front teeth. Get a Mombasa 
native to pronounce, first -tahc and then -tano, 
and, if you have even a moderately good ear? 
you cannot help hearing the difference. 

Now many words (but not ^11) which at 
Mombasa have t, as fita * hide,' teza * dance,' 
jito * eye,' are at Zanzibar pronounced with 
what (with apologies to the I. A. P.) I will 
write ch : ficha, cheza, jicho. Therefore chatu 
is the Zanzibar form, which, - logically, at 
Mombasa, should be tattc. But I am not sure 
that it is so, •never, to my remembrance, 
having heard the latter pronunciation. In 
fact, the only time I can recall hearing a 
python mentioned in Swahili was by a Lamu 
man, and I think — but would not swear to it — 
that he said chatu. Krapf gives chatUj but as 
a quotation from Steere : it is possible that 
some other word is used at Mombasa. 


But, looking again at our table, and taking 
it backwards — nj^ in Nyanja does not always 
correspond to a Zulu lateral. We have 
njoka ' snake,' njati \buffalo,' and njuchi * bee,* 
which in Zulu are in-nyoka, in- nyati, in-nyosi. 
And sometimes we find Zulu words containing 
ny not only in Nyanja, but other languages as 
well, such as in-nyama * animal,' or * meat '-— 
which only in one or two cases that I have 
come across is nama (in Chwana and in Vcnda), 
Before coming to a conclusion in a case like 
this, one would want to be sure whether all the 
ny sounds were the same. Some may, per- 
haps, be quite properly written ny, while others 
require the symbol which for typographical 
reasons is banished from these pages — and as 
to the sound, see Mr. Noel-Armfield's General 


Phonetics, p. 63. 

The comparative tables of words given in 
the preceding chapters will already have called 
attention to some correspondences, such as 
that between Zulu t and Chwana r {which t 
and which r are important points to be dealt 

The presence or absence of a nasal before a 
consonant makes some difference as regards sound- 


with by the phoneticiaa), the tendency of 
Chwana (which it shares with Makua) to prefer 
a voiceless stop to the same sound voiced and 
preceded by a nasal {e.g., rata = tanda and podi^ 
= mbuzi) ; the curious absence ofp from a large 
group of East African languages, etc. 

In most of these latter, tHe place of p is 

taken by A, in Ganda by w and in Pokomo, 

by * bilabial /' — written bf by the German 

missionaries who have chiefly cultivated this 

language, and who spell the name of the people 

* VVabfokomo/ Chwana, curiously enough, 

shares this tendency to a certain extent, though 

having no objection to the p-so^nd per se. 

The word usually found as pa-nsi is le-hatse 

or le-fatsCy (the pa- prefix being incorporated 

with the noun-root) and p appears (as we saw 

just now) where one would not expect it — 

instead of mb or mv. There is no v in Chwana, 

but * bilabial t; ' is a common sound, and — at 

any rate in some dialects — takes the place of 

* Here the o is an extra-narrow o (written in MeinhoPs 
notation 9) which approaches u in sound : the word is 
sometimes written poliy in which case it ijiust be 
remembered the 1 is * cerebral 1/ If you try to sound 1 
by turning the tip of ihe tongue up against the palate, 
you will find that it approaches very nearly to the sound 
of d similarly pronounced, 


b also. P, unless nasalised (i.c^ preceded by 
m) is not common in Kongo : perhaps the 
words in which it unquestionably occurs 
might on examination prove to be borrowed. 

Herero has no s or z, — the sounds substituted 
being those of th, voiced and voiceless {i.e.j 
as in ' there ' and * thin ') for which I have 
written dh and th respectively. Makua, too, 
and Kikuyu, have no s sounds : the reason in 
all three cases is supposed to be the custom 
of extracting — or chipping away part of — two 
front teeth. On the other hand, Nyanja, 
Yao, and some others have no h, while Swahili 
seems to have an exceptional preference for 
the sound — as in the pronouns. (It should be 
noted that it frequently arises, in this language, 
from a contraction which one would scarcely 
expect to produce it : e,g. ha- for ni-ka — not to 
be confused with the negative ha — and hi- for 
ni'ki-^ Conversely, sz-, in the negative of the 
first person singular, is a contraction of 

There are three main principles^ which we 

^ Steere, A Handbook of the Swahili Language^ 
pp. 134, 137. 

* See Meinhof, Lautlehre, pp. 12-16. 



must keep in mind when examining the struc- 
ture of any language and its relation to others 
of the same family. These are : 

(i) Assimilation. 

(2) Dissimilation. 

(3) Transposition. 

We might add False Analogy, which often 
accounts for phenomena otherwise inexpUc- 
able, as when in Swahili we have julika ' be 
knowable/ fvom jua 'know,' which never can 
have contained /, as we see by the noun mjuvi, 
formed from it, and the parallel forms Nyanja 
dziwa, Pedi tzeva. But, as most Swahili 
verbs in -tm have dropped /, which reappears 
in some of the derived forms {e.g. pindua 
* turn over,' applied form pindulia, passive 
pinduliwa) jua has been made to * follow the 
rule,' like many modern EngHsh verbs 
(^helped,' 'worked,' etc.). 

(i) Assimilation may be (a) Incomplete, or 
(b) Complete, and is applied both to vowels 
and to consonants. 

In Complete Assimilation, two different 
sounds occurring in succession are made 
exactly alike, for greater ease in pronun- 


ciation. Sometimes the second is assimilated 
to the first, sometimes the first to the one 
following it. Thus, in Kond», the verb^^a 
' hide ' (Zulu fihla^ Swahili fichuy fita) is 
sometimes heard as fifa. Shambala, having 
borrowed from Swahili the word for * paper/ 
kartasi (itself borrowed from the Arabic) 
makes it into talatasi: the first consonant being 
influenced (in spite of the intervening /=r) by 
the t in the next syllable but one. 

If a sound becomes, not e^cactly the same, 
but only similar to that which precedes or 
follows it, we have Incomplete Assimilation. 
This is shown in Bantu when the prefix in- is 
followed by a labial (/>, 6, /, v) — when the 
dental nasal n is changed to the labial nasal* 
m. Nj again (except in a few languages, e.g., 
Kongo and Makua), cannot be followed by / 
or r and changes these sounds to d ; this is why 
the plural of u-limi * tongue ' in Swahili is 
{zi)n'dimiy instead of {zt)n4imi} In the same 
way, verbs whose stem contains o or ^ take the 

* Another case of Assimilation is when the two sounds 
unite to form a third, different from either. We have 
already met with the union of a and u to form o, and a 
and i to form e. In Chwana, if n is followed by v, the 
two together become^. See Lautlehre, p. 13. 


terminntion -eka instead of -ika, because the 
position of the tongue for e is nearer to that 
for than is that for i. But these terminations 
are in most (not in all) languages governed by 
the Law of Vowel-Harmony^ which rests 
partly on Assimilation, and partly on Dis- 
similation and may be stated thus v If the 
verb-stem contains a, 7, or u^ the termina- 
tion has i: if or e^ it has e. So, in 
Nyanja ang'-ana Mook' makes ang^an-ira^ 
angan-itsa, lira *weep,' lir-itsa ; f una ^ seek j^ 
fuU'itsa ; but yera *• be white ' yer-etsa and the 
passive yer-etsedwa, and omba * strike ' omb-era, 
omb-etsa. In the case of e, i, and the sounds 
are made quite identical, or at any rate 
brought nearer together ; in that of a and u 
they are put further apart. 

This last process belongs to Dissimilation. 
This arises when two similar sounds occur in 
close conjunction, and the speaker, to avoid 
confusing them, lays special emphasis on one 
and tends to slur- the other, in order to make a 
difference between them. Some Yao verbs, 
whose stems contain /, have a perfect in iter 
instead of -He, as lolite^ from lola * look.* 

Under this heading, special attention should 
be directed to the law discovered by Dahl, a 


missionary in Unyamwezi, and prevailing in 
many East African languages — among others 
that usually written as ^Kikuyu.' As a matter 
of fact, the people call themselves A-giktiyu; 
just as the infinitive prefix for certain 
verbs is gti^ not kti^ and the word for a 
stool is gi-ti^ not ki-ti. All these words, and 
many more, are illustrations of Dahl's Law, 
which may be stated thus : 

When a voiceless stop {k, /, p) is followed by 
another voiceless stop^ it becomes voiced. In 
other words, if k is followed by either k^ t, or 
pf it becomes g ; t becomes d, and p becomes b. 

This principle, if it had been clearly recog- 
nised by those who have dealt with Kikuyu, 
would have saved them a good deal of trouble. 
In Mr. Barlow's Tentative Studies (p. 5) it is 
mentioned as the* * Euphonic Change of ^,' 
and no doubt the fact that Kikuyu has neither 
p nor (except nasalised) d helped to obscure the 
real bearmgs of the case. But the matter 
stands exactly as it does in Shambala, Bondei 
and Nyamvvezi — probably also in Yao, where 
we have nguku * fowl ' (Nyanja, nkuku) mbeko 
* fire-stick,' which elsewhere would be mpeko. 

Nyamwezi : rnbeho 'cold ' {mpepo : the second j^ has 

become h). 


deka * cook ' (elsewhere teka), 
'datu for 'tatu * three.' 

ShambalA : m-gate * bread ' (Swahili m-kate). 

Transposition may occur in two forms : 
syllables may be transposed, as in Venda, 
where gidima * run ' is sometimes heard as 
digma, and Nyanja, where * cough ' is either 
sokoiiwla or kosomola. Or a vowel in one 
syllable may intrude into another, as in the 
Konde perfect of -eh^ha^ * be white,' which is 
-elwiphe, for -ehiphile ; the / being dropped and 
the i taken into the previous syllable. Other 
interesting examples of this and similar 
changes may be found in the sections of 
Meinhof's Lautlehre already referred to. 

A study of General Phonetics is indispens- 
able to anyone taking up an African language. 
As already stated, this is a subject with which 
I have not attempted to deal, my object being 
merely to give an outline of such grammatical 
features as are common to the Bantu speech- 
family. A list of the most useful grammars, 
dictionaries, and other helps towards the 
acquisition of particular languages will be 
found in the Bibliography. 

* This ph is an aspirated p. 


After embarking on the study ot some one 
language, it will be well (though I am aware 
that, till the English edition is published, this 
is more or less a counsel of perfection) to go 
systematically through Meinhof 's Lautlehre der 
Bantusprachen or, at any rate, Chapters I. to III. 
and the one dealing with the language nearest 
to that on which the student may be engaged. 
But it is a book that cannot be used to much 
profit, unless one has some little notion of at 
least one Bantu language to begin with. 

As the readers which* a book of this kind 
can hope to meet with are Necessarily limited 
in number, and (in one way or another) some- 
what specialised in outlook, we may be excused 
if, feeling a sort of personal interest and 
parting from them not without regret, we 
remind them in the words of Brother Hyacinth 
that : 

* If any be desirous of learning .... 
beyond what is asserted in the preceding 
pages for the more easy understanding of 
beginners, and their careful recollection, he 
ought also sedulously to study and labour in 
learning what follows . • .* . and the 
preludes of other matters worthy to be hwwn.' 


I. Zulu 

(a) Why the Rock-Rabbit has no Tail* 

Ku-tiwa/ im-bila' ya-swela* um-sila' 

It is said, rock-rabbit was- without tail 

ngo-ku-yalezela'^ ezi-nye^ Ngokuba^ 

with-giving-a-message (to) others. Because 

na-mhla^ kw-abiwa^ imi-sila la-li- 

on the day (when) there were distributed tails it had 

buyis-ile^° i-zulu; za-puma-ke^^ ezi-nye 

clouded-over the sky ; they went out so (the) others 

uku-ya-'u-tata^* imisila lapa^^ i-tatwa kona"; 

to take tails where they were taken ; 

y-ahlul-eka^^ e-nye uku-ba i-hambe^^ na-zo^^ 

he was prevented another that he might go with them, 

ya-yaleza ezi-lwan-eni^^ zonke ezi-ne-misila^^ 

he sent-a- message to-animals all who with tails, 

ya-ti, ' 0, nina ba-kwitP, a-no-ngi-patela'° 

he said, * O, ye our (people), do ye get-for mc 

owami^^ umsila; ngikohl-we*' uku-pama 

that which is mine tail ; I cannot come-out 

em-godi-ni, ngokuba izulu li-ya-na.' 

from-hole, because sky is-raining.' 

* From Callaway's Nursery Tales, Traditions and Histories oj the 
Zulus (1868), p. 255. 



Za-buya-ke ezi-nye nemisila ; leyo^ yona 

They returned, so, others with tails ; that-one he 

a-i-ba-nga i-sa-ba^^ na-msila ngo-ku-enqena^ 

he was not he still being with tail with being-disinclined 

uku-puma, izulu li-buyisile. Ya-lahla konke 

to come-out, sky it has clouded-over. He lost all 

oku-hle ngomsila; ngokuba umsila u-ya-siza 

good with a tail ; because tail it helps 

eku-zi-pung-enP ; ngaloko-ke 

in-driving-away-from-oneself (flies) ; and so in this way, 

imbila a-i-sa-zi-pungi nga' 

rock-rabbit does not now drive away from himself 


with (any) thing. 

Se-ku^^ izwi eli-kulu loko 'ku-libala kwe-mbila 

Now it is word great that loitering of rock-rabbit 

ku'bantu^ aba-mnyama ; ba-kuluma ngaloko 

to people black ; they say with that 

'ku-tsho kisembila, ku-tiwa kw-aba-nga-zi- 

saying of rock-rabbit, it is said to those-not-tiring-them- 

katazi ngaloko oku-tandwa-yo aba-nye, n-aba-tsho- 

selves with that which is liked (by) others,and those who 

yo kwabanye, ku-tiwa, ' Bani,^ 

say to others (to act for them) it is said, * So-and-so, 

a-w-azf^ ukuba loko 'kutsho kwako kw-okut^^ 

do you not know that that saying your of saying, 

'' A-no-ngi-patela *'^^ — a-w-azi na ukuba umu-nta 

" Bring for me " — do you not know that a person 

ka-pat-el-wa^^ omu-nye, uma into leyo 

not is-carried-for (by) another, when thing that 

i-lingene^ abakona? 0! 

it is-enough (only for) those (who are) there ? O ! 

imbila ya-swela umsila ngokuyalezela. 

rock- rabbit went without tail by sending-message. 


Nawe, musa ukw-enza'^ njenge-mbila^^ ; 

And you do not do like (the) rock-rabbit ; 

ku-yi-ka-zuza^ lu-to ngokuyalezela ; zi-hamb-ele^ 

you will not get anything by sending-word; go for yourself 

ngokwako/ I njalo-ke in-daba ye- 

as to what is yours.* It (is) thus, then, story of 

mbila. A-i-kuluma-nga yona ngo-mlomo, ukuti, 

rock-rabbit. He did not speak he with mouth to say, 

' A-no-ngi-patela ' ; kwa-Yela^^ izwi kodwa^ 

* Bring for me ' ; there came forth word only 

ngokuba izi-lwane zi ne-misila/^ kepa yona 

because animals they (are) with tails, but he 

a-i-na 'msila^^; kwa-nga^^ ya-swela umsila 

not-(is)-with tail ; it (was) as if he went without tail 

ngokuyaleza, na ngokuba izulu imbila 

by sending-word, and because sky rock-rabbit 

'i-ya-l-esaba^^ uma *^li-bayisile ; a-i- 

he is fearing it if it has clouded-over ; he does not 

pumi emgodini uma li-ng-enzi^ izi-kau 

come out from hole if it not making gleams 


of sunshine. 


^ Tiwa, passive of // ' say ' ; the prefix is that of Class 15, 
which is used when there is no definite subject, like our * it, 
or • there.' 

2 A noun of Class 9, tlie prefix in- becomes im- before a 

^ Swela • want,' ' lack.' Ya prefix of the past tense, agreeing 
with imbila, 

* Umsila^ a noun of the third class ; pi. imi-silat found in 
next line but one. 

** Yalezclat applied form of yaleza, ultimately from yala 
' direct,' ' order ' ; yaleza means * give a message,' and takes the 


thing, not the person, as its direct object, whereas yalezcla 
takes a direct object of the person by whom, (not to whom) 
the message is sent. Ngoku- for nga-nku- : nga * by means of,* 
prefixed to the infinitive. 

8 ezi-nyt agreeing with izi-lwane 8 * animals,' understood. 

^ For nga tikuba^ lit. * with being ' — i,g, * because.' 

® namhla^ for na umu-hla^ often used for * to-day.' 

* abiwa passive of nba * distribute.' Monosyllabic verbs, 
and those beginning with a vowel, make their passive in -iwa 
instead of -wa, 

*° Agrees with iziiln^ which, by a not infrequent exception, 
follows its verb. Pluperfect tense ; the Perfect having both 
the Past {la) and present (li) prefixes before it. Buyisa, lit. 
* bring back,' is the causative of buya * return ' ; the idea being 
that the sky ' brings back ' the clouds from below the horizon. 

^^ kc an enclitic particle, usually rendered * then,' * just,' * so,* 
etc. Unlike the interrogative ;m, it draws forward the accent 
of the word to which it is attached, so that we pronounce 
zapiimdke, instead of accenting the syllable pu^ as would 
otherwise be done. It is the subjunctive of the auxiliary ka 
(Colenso, First Steps, p. 132). 

" This is a future infinitive, for uktiyakutata : the k of ku is 
often dropped. 

*^ Lapa • here,' followed by koua, has a relative force, the 
two together being equivalent to * where ' (not the interroga- 
tive * where,' which is-/>t). Kona is the pronoun of Class 15 — 
or, more properly, of Class 17, which in Zulu has been merged 
in 15 — and usually means * the place,' * there ' (not adverbially, 
like lapo, lapaya, but more in the sense of the French j'). 

^* Neuter-passive of ahltila • overpower ' ; the subject is $nyc 9 
which seems to refer in a loose way to imbila, properly, it 
should be esi-nye 7 agreeing with isi-lwatte * animal,* which 
seems to be required by the sense. 

^^ Subjunctive, agreeing with enye. There is no distinction 
of tense in this mood. 

*^ na-zOi agreeing with czi-nye (izilwaue) above. 

" Ezi-lwan-eni, locative of izilwanc. It is not very usual 
to have nouns denoting living beings in the locative, though 
we sometimes find ebantwini (more often ku* bantu). Here it 
is used because yaleza cannot take a direct object of the 
person : it is therefore equivalent to a dative. Isilwanc for 
isi-lo-ane is the diminutive (suffix -ana or -ane) of isi-lo * wild 
animal,' but generally used for * leopard.' Isilwanc means a 

236 APPENDIX 1. 

wild animal in general, — but more especially a carnivorous or 
noxious one, whereas in-nyamazane is *game,' and more 
particularly * buck.' 

" Relative construction {ezi=a-\-izi ; nemisila=na'\-imisila) 
literally * which they with tails ' — i.e, • which have tails.' 

*^ hakwiti or bakiti * my ' (or * our ') * people * — ki=ku^ 
followed by the * prepositional ' form of the personal pronoun 
(always in the plural). See Colenso, Firsl Steps , §91. 

•° a-no-ngi-patda^ Future Indicative, used authoritatively for 
Imperative (Firs/ 5/6/>s, §222), VHth a, prefix of Imperative; 
no=niyu'u=niyaku : see tirst Sieps, ^241. 

^* oivamij relative form of the possessive=* that which is 
mine.' It is generally used for special emphasis, * my own,' 
etc. First Steps ^ §i37« 

^ Perf. passive of kohla, proprrly * escape,' * slip (the 
memory of) ' — so that the usual meaning of kohlwa is * forget ' 
— i»e, 'be escaped' by the thing forgotten. The use here 
seems somewhat unusual, but probably means * coming-out 
has escaped me ' — i.i, is beyond my power. 

^^ leyo, demonstrative of CI. 9 * that one ' (or raiher * the 
aforesaid one ') — agreeing vvith imbila, though the antecedent 
is not expressed in this sentence. 

^* aibanga negative past of 6a ' be ' ; a neg. prefix, i pronoun 
agreeing with- imbila understood, isaba is best taken as a 
participle, sa here=* still ' ; the two verbs together may be 
taken as a compound tense and translated ' he no longer had.' 
Cf. First Steps f §271. 

*^ For nga-nku-enqena : nga, instrumental = * with ' or 
* through.' 

2^ Locative of the infinitive ; zi is the reflexive pronoun. 

^■^ U{ln)-tOf usually uucontracted, because of the mono- 
syllabic stem. Here ugaHutOy not ngoluto, because following 
a negative, when the initial vowel is always elided, never 

^^ Verb ' to be ' understood. The subject with which the 
pronoun agrees is ukulibala. Concerning se see the chapter 
on ' The Particles Sa and Se ' in Colenso's First Steps, pp. 
112-116, especially §274. 

^ kn' bantUy more usual than ebantwini, A little later we 
hnd kwabanye (uhecoimwg w before a), not kii* baity c ; but 
ku' bantu seems to be preferred, — perhaps because kwa' bantu 
is used with a different shade of meaning — * at (the house -of) 
the people ' — like chez» 


^ Uhani *who* (interrogative, not relative) is sometimes 
used in this way, * when the name of a person is not known or 
not immediately remembered,' or in a familiar and slightly 
contemptuous style of address, ' You, sir! ' *you, fellow 1 ' (u 
is always dropped in the vocative.) 

^1 Awazi for a-u-azi, u becoming w before the vowel-stem. 
Azi is one of the few verbs which end in i and therefore cannot 
change their termination in the negative. 

^2 Kwokuti for kwa tikuti * of saying '—the possessive particle 
agreeing with the preceding loko 'kutsho. 

^ The sentence breaks off, and the question begins afresh. 

^^ Ka, not a, is the negative for the third person singular, or 
nouns of the first class ; a being used in the subjunctive 
and in some forms of the relative, as the pronoun of the 
third person singular. Patela applied form of pata * carry * 
(in the hand or on the arm— not on the head, which is twala). 
This is an instance of the Bantu preference for the passive 
when European languages would have the active construction. 

^* Linga * try,' * test,' * strive ' (in some languages, eg,, 
Nyanja, it means • measure ') ; the reciprocal, lingana (perf. 
lingene) means ' try or strive with,' ' vie with, • be as large as,' 
and so 'be sufficient for,' as luubila ulingene labo' bantu *the 
maize is sufficient for those people.' It may take a direct 
"object, as in this sentence, and in the text [abakona)^ or be 
followed by na, Kulingene, without an object, means • it is 
fair, fitting, reasonable.' 

^ The Negative Imperative is the Infinitive preceded by 
musa, I do not know that any satisfactory explanation of this 
has been given, but sa is a negative particle in some languages. 

^^ For njcnga (' like ') imbila. 

^ Negative Future (2nd person sing.) o£ ztiza * obtain.' Ku 
instead of a-u (which would contract into 0), probably to avoid 
confusion with the same person of the relative. 

8^ Hambela here Qieans * go for,' and not, as most commonly , 
* go to ' '=* visit '). Zi the reflexive pronoun. The Subjunc- 
tive is generally used instead of the Imperative, when an 
object-pronoun precedes. 

^0 Past tense (ku-a-vcla) with the indefinite subject ku ; 
instead of saying izwi la-veU, This construction so exactly 
corresponds to our idiom of beginning with * there ' and letting 
the real subject follow the verb, that we can translate quite 

*^ The adjective -odwa * only ' (which, like -onke * all,' takes 


the concords of a pronoun, not of an adjective), with the con- 
cord of the 15th class — *.^., agreeing with an undefined subject. 
It is often used as here, adverbially for * only,' and thence easily 
glides into the very common sense of * but,' in which it is 
synonymous with kepa, 

^* Note the difiference between these two words : the first 
contracts because the verb (understood) is affirmative ; the 
second elides because it is negative. 

^* Nga as an auxiliary is * used to express a wish or like- 
ness' and is followed by a finite verb. Compare wanga 
angawcla * he wished that he might cross.' 

** An unusual order of words, but not unknown. 

** ng' here stands for nga^ the negative particle for the 
Imperative, Infinitive and Participles: see First Steps, §§259, 

Connected Translation 

It is said that the rock-rabbit {Hyrax) is without a 
tail, because he sent a message through someone else 
(instead of going himself). For, on the day when tails 
were distributed (to all tBe animals), the sky clouded 
over ; the others went out to get their tails where they 
were to be got, but he was prevented from going with 
them ; he sent a message to all -the animals who had 
tails (ix,y all who subsequently received them), saying, 
* O ye my people, do ye obtain my tail for me ; I cannot 
come out of my hole, because the sky is raining.' So 
the others returned with their tails, but he had none, 
through being disinclined to come out when it was 
cloudy. He lost all the advantage of a tail, for a tail is 
useful in driving away flies ; and so the rock-rabbit has 
nothing now with which to drive them away. 

And so that loitering of the rock-rabbit has become a 
gieat proverb among the black people ; they make use 
of that saying of his with regard to those who will not 
take any trouble about what other people like, or who 
tell other people to do things for them. * So and so! 
As for that saying of yours "Just bring it for me," 


don't you know that you cannot have anything brought 
for you by another person, when there is only just 
enough for those who are on the spot ? Oh ! — the rock- 
rabbit had to do without a tail because he sent a message. 
Do not be like him ; you will not get anything by 
sending word through another ; go and attend to your 
own affairs for yourself.* 

This is the story of the rock-rabbit; he did not 
(exactly) say, with his mouth, * Bring it for me * ; the 
proverb only arose because (the other) animals have 
tails, but he has none. It was as though he went without 
a tail by sending word and because he feared the 
threatening look of the sky ; for he does not come out 
of his hole except when the sun shines. 

(b) Extracts from Native Letters'^' 
Sa-fika 6 St. Helena, kwa-t' uba^ ngi-pume 

We arrived at St. H., it befell when I came out 

em-kunj-ini^ aba-kitP ba-jabula kakulu uku-ngi- 

from the ship our people rejoiced greatly to see 

bona, nga-puma ngi-nga-Ba-tandi^ na kancane 

me, I came out I no longer wishing even a little 

uku-hlala pakati^ kwomkumbi, so-ku-ngi- 

to stay inside of the ship, it having already 

gulisa.^ Yebo-ke, 'Nkosazana ya-kiti 

made me ill. Yes, indeed, lady of our (country) 

e-tandeka-yo/ ama-kosi lawa a-kwa' Zulu^ 

who is worthy to be loved, chiefs these of the Zulus 

ay' etanda^ kakulu uku-finyeleW° England 

they are wishing greatly to reach England 

a-bone aba-ntu nezwe la-kona 

that they may see the people and country of there 

♦ Written from St. Helena, in 1896-7, by a Natal Zulu, employed 
as secretary and teacher to the exiled chiefs. 



nomuzr^ lowo o-dumileyo^^ was' e London.^^ . . 

and town that famous of at London. . . 

Ngezindaba e-zi-Yela e-kaya^' kiti, ngi-zwile 

As to news which come from home our, I have heard 

ukuti aba-ntwana bami ba ya-gula^" kakulu ngo- 

that children my are ill greatly with 

mkuhlane. Nokuti um-kuhlane w-andile^' 

fever. And that fever has increased 

pakati kwezwe, kodwa-ke kuhle, nje, 

in the midst of the land, but yet it is well, indeed, 

noma^^ ku-njalo/^ ngoba i-kona innyanga 

even though it is thus, because there is a doctor 

ya-kiti leyo o-y-azi-yo^^ nawe; yena 

of our (people) that-one whom you know, you also ; she 

u-ya-b-elapa, kambe,^ labo aba-gula-yo, 

is treating them, of course, those who are ill, 

njengokumiswa^^ kwake y'inkosi^ 

according to the being made-to-stand her by the chief 

uyise, aba-ntu ba-ya-m-bonga kakulu, 

her father, people « are praising her greatly, 

ba-ya-jabula nga-ye^ ezwe-ni lonke las' 

they are rejoicing on her account in the land all of 
Ekukanyeni^\ . . . 

Ekukanyeni. . . . 

Nkosazana — Omunye um-ntwana wenkosi yakwa' 

Madam — One child of the chief of 

Zulu, u Ndabuko, u-zwile kimi^ 

The Zulus, Ndabuko, he has heard from me (when) 

ngi-m-xoxele^" indaba^^ ngawe ya leso' slzwe^ 

I related to him story from you of that tribe 

esi-mnyama o-wa-u-hlezP pakati kwa-so,^ na 

black which you stayed among them, and 

ngezinncwadi lezo o-wa-u-zinge^ u-ngi-tsheleka 

from the books those which you used you lending me 


zona aku-ba ngi-f ande ngesi-kati leso e-nga-ngi-gula^^ 

them that I might read at the time that when I was ill 

nga-so kiti Ekukanyeni. Nga-loko 

at it at our (home) at Ekukanyeni. Therefore 

u-ya-tanda kakula, u-ya-cela akuba wena, 

he wishes greatly, he asks that you, 

Nkosazana, u-m-xoxele izin-daba za labo 

Madam, you would relate to him affairs of these 

'bantu. Ngi-m-landisile^ futi uku-ti aba-nye 

people. I have narrated to him also that some 

baku lezo' zizwe^ ba-kuluma ngo-limi^ Iwakwa' 

of those tribes they speak with tongue of the 

Zulu impela, ngitsho^ labo a-ba-biza u Nknlankalu 

Zulus indeed, I mean those who call God 

ngokuti 'Mulungu,'^ nabanye aba'lalimi Iwabo^ 

by saying * Mulungu,* and others who tongue their 

lu-sondele^ kwolwetu ; a-ngia-jabala^ a-qobo'° 

approaches to ours ; he would rejoice in truth 

a Ndabuko uma wena, Nkosazana, ti-nga-m-tamela 

Ndabuko if you. Madam, you could send him 

in-ncwadi etile'^ (Book), kumbe^ u-m-tamele 

book some or send him 

in-cwadi (Note) yo-ku-m-xoxela^ indaba ya labo 

letter to relate to him story of those 

'bantu noku-m-tshela ukuti lezo' zizwe z'ake^' 

people and tell him that those tribes they have built 

kuyipi^ in-dawo, izi-zwe ezi^igaki, za-Yela-pi^ 

in which place, tribes how many? (and)'Where did they 


come from ? 

Nkosazana, njengokutembisa kwami ukuti 

Madam, as to promising my that 

ngi-ya-ku-tuma^^ ezi-nye izi-bongo zama-kosi akwa' 

I will send some praises of chiefs of the 


Zulu kuwe nga lesi 'sitimela/^ a-ngi-na-wo^^ 

Zulus to you with this steamer, I have not 

ama-ndhla ukuba ngi-ku-tumele'^ namuhla, kodwa 

strength that I might send you to-day, but 

ngi-ya-ku-ku-tamela'^ ngesitimela esi-za-yo/^ 

I will send you by the steamer which comes. 

Ngi-sa-hamba^^ kahle em-zimb-eni wami, uku-gula 

I now go will, in (as to) body my, illness 

loko e-nga-ngi-na-ko'^ Ekukanyeni a-ku-ka-ngi- 

that which I (was) with it at Ekukanyeni has not again 

Yukf^ lapa. • . . 

arisen (upon) me here. . . . 

Magema Magwaza. 


1 Kwati, past tense, like the preceding safika, but with the 
indefinite subject kUf 15. An idiomatic use of the verb ti * say ' 
(cf. First Steps, §290), which may often be rendered, * and so',' 
or * once upon a time.' Uba, a contraction of ukuba *to be,' 
is here equivalent to «wa * when.' (First Steps, p. 81.) It is 
followed by the subjunctive ngi-pume. 

^ emkunjinif locative of umkumbi 3 ' ship.' mb becomes njin 
accordance with the Zulu law that a labial is never followed 
by w. There is no apparent w here, such as we find in 
endhlw-ini (from indhlu, u becoming ze^ before -ini,h\it the form 
endhl-ini is also in use) ; but it is probably introduced into 
the termination by analogy with the w of the stem : umkumbuf- 
ini, for nmkumbu-ini, 

8 AbakitiWi. 'those of at us,' cf. First Steps, §91, and ante 
p. 236, note 19. 

^ This is not the Potential Mood (First Steps, §247), but the 
Negative Participle (i^., §269). Sa, * when used with a 
negative verb, may be generally expressed by any more, any 
longer, at all, etc' (ib. §271). 

* This is an instance of a word compounded with pa (like 
pansi, peziilu, pumbili, etc.), though that preposition (or rather 
pronoun) is no longer used in Zulu. Um-kati 3 * space inter- 


vening between any two things' preserves the root kaii 

* between,' which is still so used in Swahili, though not in Zulu. 
(There is an adverb kati * although,' * in spite of,* — which may 
have the same origin, though possibly a derivative of ti.) 

" This is not the infinitive, but a participle, having for its 
subject the pronoun ku, which may be the indefinite subject 
(* it,' or * there ') or may agree with ukuhlala * the staying.* 
So=set the vowel being modified under the influence of u in 
the next syllable. Se has tne force of * now,' * by this tune,' 
•already,' etc. (First Steps^ §§274, 275.) Gulisa^ causative of 
gula • be ill ' ; -ngi- is the object-pronoun, first person. 

' Tandcka, neuter-passive of tanda * love ' (Firsi Steps, §86) ; 
for the relative etandekayo, see ih., § 132. c^a+i is the Relative 
Prefix, because agreeing with inkosazana 9. 

^ A possessive particle agreeing with amakosi 6 (exceptional 
plural of inkosi 9 — see First Steps, §38). Kwa *Zulu : kwa * at ' 
(= French chez) — see First Steps, §92 ; u Zulu (the vowel elided 
is probably u=ulu) used for * the whole Zulu nation * ; a kwd* 
Zulu is used instead of the locative — as' ezulwini because the 
latter would mean * in ' (or * from ') • the sky ' (ib., §79). 

^ A pronoun agreeing with amakosi* A-ya-ipa) etanda, lit. 

* they are, they loving * : the verb -ba being understood. 

^0 fifty elela (properly a double applied form oifinya, but the 
latter does not seem to be used in any sense recognisable as 
cognate) ' reach, as a traveller a place,' followed by the 
locative. (* England,' as it begins with c, seems to be treated 
as a locative, without further modification.) 

" Nomuzi=na umuzi 3, * kraal; people of a kraal, family'; 
hence used for * village ' and * town.' (Nyanja mM-(fzi, Swahili 


^2 Literally * that (tow^n) which has thundered': dum-ile 
perf. of duma : the usual expression for * renowned,' * glorious,' 
etc. Cf. Psalm viii., i : igama lako lidumc kangaka emhlabeni 
wonke, lit. * thy name has thundered how greatly in all the 

^* 5 is inserted before the. Locative when it follows a 
Possessive Particle. See First Steps, §69. 

" Locative of ikaya * home,' * dwelling.' The word is found 
among the * Nyika ' tribes of East Africa {e,g,, the Giryama) to 
denote the principal (fortified) village of the Tribe, For the 
absence of the locative termination, see First Steps, §68. 

i« * Emphatic Present' (Colenso) or • Present Progressive ' 
(Bryant) tense, 


" For u-andile ; u agreeing with umkuhlane 3, which is 
(Bryant) * a general name for any acute disease accompanied 
by fever, such as ague, influenza,' etc., etc. 

17 7iowrt=na uma. For uma * if,* * when,' etc., see First 
Steps, §81. 

" Ku is here (as in the preceding ktthle) the indefinite 
subject, with the verb * to be ' understood. 

^' Objective Relative (First Steps j §134) y (=>'», for i) 
agreeing with innyanga 9. The reference is to Miss Agnes 

^ For kambCf see First StepSj p. 75. 

*^ For njenga ukumiswa, Misa, causative of ma * stand,' 
means, in the first instance * make to stand,' estaWish, 
* ordain, as a law or cn^om,' etc., whence the present sense 
is easily inferred. The infinitive is here used as a noun of 
the 15th class (8th in Zulu grammars), with which the 
possessive kwakc agrees. 

" The Passive (ukutttiswa) is followed by the Copula 
denoting the Agei)t (First Steps^ §100 et seq,, and ante, p. 114). 
The * Chief ' is Bishop Colenso. 

*® ye, pronoun of the third person singular (First Steps, 
§104) following, and governed by, uga (ib., §§93-99), and sec 
ante p. 91. 

'* For this locative see First Steps, §69, and ante, p. 243, 
note 13. 

^ kimi for knmi, like kiti, etc. — First Steps^ §90, 

2* X, in Zulu books, stands for the * lateral click,* made by 
pressing the tongue against the side teeth and then with- 
drawing it suddenly. Xoxele, perf. of applied form, instead of 
xoxel'ile — First Steps, §236. 

*7 For the various senses of indaba, see Colenso's or 
Bryant's Dictionary, s.v, Daba (in). 

^ isi- xwe * tribe ' — the root of i(li)-zwe * country,' with the 
7th prefix — see ante, pp. 45, 55. 

^ Relative, with object in an oblique case (First Steps, §134): 
viz., pakaii kwa-so (so pronoun agreeing with isi-xwe 7).— o- 
is the Relative (2nd person singular) subject, wa- the subject- 
pronoun of the 2ud person combined with (Past) tense- 
particle. — Pakati, used prepositionally, is always followed 
by kiva. 

^ Relative construction similar to owauhleni, Zinge is a 


(deiective) auxiliary verb, used (First Steps, §334) * to express 
** repeatedly," " continually," " habitually," etc.* Zona (agree- 
ing with izinncwadi 10) is governed by tsheleka, which, like all 
verbs of giving, etc. (see First Steps, §340), takes a double 
accusative ; but only one objective pronoun can be prefixed 
to the verb., viz,, here, that of the person, -ngi-, 

8^ A similar relative, but with the subject in the first person 
(prefix e-). The tense is the Past, which when combined witb 
a Relative (cf. owauhlexi, above) takes the prefixes both of past 
and present {nga-, ngi), Ngaso agrees with isikati 7. 

" Perfect of land-isa, causative of landa * follow * : * make to 
follow ' — hence * narrate.' • 

^ Literally * of at those tribes,' one would have expected 
ba lezo'ziz we— hut the construction is like Iwa kwa^Zulu^ 
a little further on, and cf. -^ote 8 above. Abanye must be 
translated * some,' or * others,' according to the context. 

5* For nga+tt(lu)-iimi. The usual word for * language.* 

** Literally * I say ' 

^ Muluitgu is used by the Yaos, Anyanjfi and other eastern 
tribes. It is difficult to believe, with Bleek, that it is the 
same word as Unknlunkulu, since the latter is plainly derived 
from 'kuln, a root existing in all the languages where 
Mulungu is found. Unless, indeed, some other form was 
anciently in use among the Zulus, which only became 
Unknlunkulu through an adaptation of popular etymology. 

^' Relative in the Possessive — see First Steps, 1 133. 

^ lu, pronoun agreeing with «/*;»» 11; sondele, perfect of 
sondcla (see above, note 26). Sond-ela is properly an applied 
form of sonda, which, however, does not seem to be used. 

83 Potential Mood. 

*° U(lu)-qobo (q expresses the palatial click), properly * sub- 
stance of a thing,' * self,' * person,' • reality,* is used adverbially 
to express * really and truly' (Coleuso). 

** Tile is an adjective meaning * certain, when the name or 
nnmber is not known ' (Colenso). It takes the prefix o- with 
CI. I, like o-mnyama, etc. ; hence inncwadi etilc, not entile^ 
The original meanings of inncwadi (Colenso's Dictiofiary) are : 
* mark, made to show whether any one has entered a hut in 
the owner's absence; mark or sign told to a person who 
enquires his way by which he will know whether he is going 
right or not ; tribal token, as marks cut in the skin,' etc., and 
hence ' token generally, proof,' and, since the introdaction of 
writing, * paper, letter, book.' The writer has been compelled 


to distinguish between the two last-named senses by the 
addition of English words. The sense in which he here uses 
eliie seems to be equivalent to * some ... or other.* 

*^ kiimhe^ * perhaps, with the idea of hope or expectation ' 
(Colenso), but also equivalent to the conjunction ,*or.' The 
latter is often expressed (as in Nyanja) by a word meaning 

* perhaps ' — the possible alternatives being set before the 
mind as conjectures. 

*^ An example of the quasi-parliciple mentioned on p. ii8, 
yokii' =ya ukti' : ya referring to inncwadi, 

** ake perf. of aka * build,* which is often used in the sense 
of * live.' Akelana (reciprocal applied form) means * to live 
near together,' — ht. * to build for ' (or * with respect to ') each 
other : hence owakeUne * neighbour.* 

^^ yipi, interrogative, * which'? (of two or more), agrees 
with indawo 9 following it. -pi means either * where ? * or 

* which ? ' (see First Steps^ §§169-171). Yipi, as used here is the 
object following ku : as subject it would have to be preceded 
by the copula {iyHpi), -pi * where ? ' takes the inseparable 
subject-pronoun as prefix : upi ? bapi ? lipi ? ipi ? etc. 

" -/*, * where?* is sometimes suffixed to the verb in this 
way, and draws the accent forward {zaveldpi)» 

*'' This is the Future, * I will send,* not the Present, with 
object-pronoun, * I am sending you * ; tuma in the simple form 
cannot take a person as object ; to do this it must be put into 
the applied form (tumela)^ as will be seen a little lower down. 

*® An adaptation of the English word ' steamer.* St being 
a difficult combination in Zulu, i is inserted between the two 
consonants, and the first syllable being taken for the 8th 
prefix (m-), the plural is izi-timela, (There is a genuine Zulu 
word isitimela, meaning * darkness ' — see Colenso's Dic^iowflry, 
s.v., p. 587). The §ame tendency is observable in Swahili, 
where the Arabic kitah * book ' becomes ki-tabu^ pi. vi-tahu. 
Vi-mni has even been heard at Zanzibar, as the plural of 

* (lamp-) chimney.' 

^' Literally, ' not I with it ' — wo * prepositional form ' of the 
pronoun of CI. 6. A mandhla has no singular. 

^ Here tumcla takes the direct object of the person, and, 
the verb being in the future, ku is repeated, or rather two 
different ^m -particles follow each other. See note 47 above. 

^^ esi', Relative Particle agreeing with isi-timela 8. 

*' sa may be rendered by *now,* * still,* * already.' See 
First Steps, chapter XVI. 

APPENDIX 1. 241 

*" Relative — ^the construction like engangigula (see note 31), 
except that the verb is understood and the whole drawn into 
one word. The pronoun -ko refers to uku-gula, 

" Vuka *rise up from a recumbent posture; . . . 
rise in anger, be in a towering passion* (Colenso). The 
personal object -ngi- is unusual with this verb, but may be 
used because it is taken in the sense of ' attack,' which is 
perhaps not incompatible with the second meaning given 
above. In that case, however, one would have expected the 
Applied form, vukeUf which is, in fact, so used ; SLud^uki may 
be a mere slip on the writer's part. For the auxiliary ka see 
First Steps f §315. 

Connected Translation 

We arrived at St. Helena, and when I landed from 
the ship, our people were very glad to see me. I also 
was very glad to land, having no desire to remain on 
board any longer, as I had been very seasick. Yes 
indeed ! dear lady coming from our country I these 
chiefs of the Zulus wish very much to come to England, 
to see that country and its people, and that famous city 
of London. ... • 

As to the news whichrhas reached us from home — I 
have heard that my children are very ill with fever. In 
fact, fever has been very prevalent in the country ; but 
there is one very good thing, even though this is the 
case — for there is that physician of our people whom 
you also know, who is treating the sick according to the 
instructions received by her from the Chief, her father. 
The people praise her greatly, and they are rejoicing 
through her in all the country-side of Ekukanyeni. . . . 

Madam, — One of the chiefs of the Zulus, Ndabuko, 
has heard from me a story which I related to him, 
having heard it from you, of that tribe of black people 
among which you (formerly) lived, and (gathered it) 
from those books which you used to lend me to read, at 
the time when. I was ill, at our home, Ekukanyeni. 

Therefore he wishes very much to ask that you, 
Madam, would relate to him the affairs of those people. 

248 APPENDIX 1. 

I have also told him that some of those tribes s{>eak a 
language exactly the same as that of the Zulus — I mean 
those who call God by the name of Mulungu — and 
others whose language resembles ours (though not quite 
the same). He would be very glad if you could send 
him some booWbr other, or perhaps a letter, to give him 
an account of those people and tell him what place they 
live in, and how many tribes there are, and where they 
came from. Madam, as to my promise that I would 
send you by this mail, some of the traditional songs 
praising the Zulu Kings, — I am not able to do so to-day, 
but I will send you (some) by the next steamer. I am 
now very well in health, as that illness which I had at 
Ekukanyeni has not again attacked me here. . . . 

2. Herero.* 
Siory of the Old Woman with the Bag 
Pa-ri^ omu-kadhe-ndu^ oma-karu-kadhe,' 

There was woman old, 

ngu-ya-twa* OYa-natye* m'ondyatu.^ E-yuYa^ri-mwe 

who put children into bag. Day one 

pa-rire^ oYa-natye, OYa-kadhona OYengi,' Ya-ire^^ 

there were children, girls many, they went 

k' oku-nyanda" k' e-rindi/" n' a-rire'' tyi" 

to play in pool, and it happened that 

Ya-hukura otu-Yanda^^ n' omi-tombe^" n* 

they took off little-skirts and necklaces and 

OYi-mbakutu" n' ou-ndyendye^® n'odho-mbongora^' 

(see note) and beads and (see note) 

n' a-Ye-pundu*^ m' omeYa. Kombunda" omu-atye 

and they descended into water. Afterwards child 

* Published by C. G. Biittner in Ztitschrift fur afrihtmische 

Sprachen, Vol. I. (1887). 


u-mwe wa-tarere^ kokure, n' apira tyVa-tara 

one she looked far, and it happened that she saw 

omu-kadhendu omokurukadhe, ngu n' oka-ti m' eke 

woman old, who with little-stick in hand, 

OFu-hoFo-ti,^ n' ondyatu p' etambo. Nu^ ingwl 

a-long-stick, and bag on back. And that 

omu-kadhona wa-tyere k' oYa-kvawo^: 'Indyea^ 

girl said to (the) others : * Come 

ta-tupokee^ 'ka-karakadhe^ ingwina, 

let us run-away-from litlle old-woman . yonder, 

nga-twa oYa-natye m' ondyatu.* Indino^ ty'a-tya^ 

who puts children into bag. Now when sfie said 

nai, aYche^^ arire tyi Ya-piti^ m' e-rindi oku- 

so all it happened that they came out from pool to 

tupuka, nu auhe^ wa-torera oru-hira^ r-omu- 

run-away, and every she took apron of 

kwawo nu omitombe Yy-omu-kwawo^ tyinga Ya-ri 

other and necklaces of other as they were 

m' oru-haka r-oku-tupuka, ndino arire tyi 

in haste of running-away, now it happened that 

Ta-tupuka k' onganda.'^ 

they ran to kraal. 

N' omuatye umwe ara-dhembire etanda^ e-porora'^ 

And child one she forgot (see note) (see note) 

p' ehi.^ Ndino 'kakurukadhe arire ty' 

on ground. Now little -old- woman it happened that 

a-pingene p' epurura, , n'a-tora, 

she followed (and came) on epurura, and picked-up, 

arire ty' a-twa-mo m' ondyatu.^* Nn ing* 

it happened that she put-in into bag. And that 

omuatye umwe wa-tya: me-yaruka^ me-ka-pura^ 

child one she said : I return I go to ask 

epurura randye k' omu-twa,^ oka-kurukadhe, 

epurura my from Bushwoman, little-old-woman, 

250 APPENDIX 1. 

tyiri ! ^ hi n' oku-pi-etha-ko.^ linb' OYa-kwawo 

truly ! not- 1 with leaving-it-there. Those others 

YE-tyere : muatye I arikana/'^ omundu eingwi/' 

they said : Child ! please (beware of) person that, 

ngu, maku-dhu/^ utwa ovanatye m' odhondyatU) 

who, it-is- said, she puts children into bags 

nu i-ko !^ W% wa-tyere :^ kako ! me-ka-eta 

and goes away ! And she said : No ! I go to bring 

epuFura ra mama oku-kotoka k'omutwa 

epurura of my-mother to return from Bushwoman 

oka-kuFu-kadhe. Nu imb' OYakwawo aYehe 

little-old-woman. And those others all 

Ya-ire k'onganda, n' eye, a- kotoka, a- ende 

they went to kraal, and she, she returning, she going 

n' a- riri*^ n' oma-kono k' otyi-uru. Nu 

and she weeping with hands on head. And 

ty'a-ri m'ondyira kokure, * arire T;y' 

when she was on road far-away, it happened that 

a-raYaere,'^^ a-ithana, a-tya: Mu-tyimba,^ 

she cried-aloud, she called, she*said : Pauper, 

kakuFukadhe, eta nguno epurura ra mama, 

little-old- woman, bring here epurura of my mother, 

ndi wa-tora. Nu omukadhendu wa-tya** 

which you picked-up. And woman she said '. 

Indyo, kambura. N'e-a-ende, a-me-utuka, arire 

Come here, take (it). And she went, she running, and 

ty' a-tumbuka popedhu, n' a-tya : Kakurokadhe, 

so she approached near, and she said: Little old woman, 

eta nguno epurura ra mama. N'e wa-tya rukwao :^ 

bring here epurura of my moth_er. And she said again : 

Kambura, n' arire ty' a-tumbuka, n' arire 

Take (it), and so she approached, and it came to pass 

ty* e-mu-tono oru-pyu k' otyi-tama, nu 

that she her struck slap on cheek, and 


okakupukadhe a- hakahana^' oku-wira-ko'' 

little old woman she hastened to fall-upon-her 

n* a- petere^' m* ondyatu, a'arire ty' a- kata 

and she doubled (her) up into bag, and so she tied 

ondyatu n* omuYia, n' arire ty' a- kuta ondyata 

bag with thong, and so she tied bag 

p'etambo, n' a- Yereka,'^ aripe ty' 

on back, and she carried (her), it happened that 

a- i a- tedha ku-kva-P OYa-natye 

she went she followed where-there-went children 

k'onganda. Nu m' onganda mwa-Tadhepwe'^ 

to kraal. And in kraal there- was-arrived, 

a-mwa-tu omu-kandi.^ N'e we-epe^ 

it-there-died feast. And she came (in the) 

ongupoYa n* a- kape kongotwe y- onganda m' okutl. 

evening and she sat behind the kraal in the field. 

Nu kombunda OYa-natye Ye-ma-muna,^ apipe 

And afterwards children they-her-saw, it happened 

tyi Ya-paePBPe ku ihe^ a-Ye-tya : Tate,® 

that they cried aloud to their-father they said : Father, 

omukadhendu ingwi eingwi^ okakupukadhe ngn- 

woman this she (is) that little-old- woman who 

a-dhepa OYa-natye nu ngu-a-twa-mo omn-atye watn 

she kills children and who has put in child our 

m' ondyatu. Nu Ya-pupipe ku ihe a-Ye-tya : 

into bai». And they-asked from father, saying : 

Nga-tu-mu-tyite Yi ?^ Nu ingwi ihe wa-tyepe ; 

We are to (to) her do what ? And this father he said : 

Wepepekee^ ongupoYa tyi mamu-apuka^ 

Catch-with-guile (in) evening when you (pi.) begin 

oku-papa. Nu imb(a) OYa-natye ongupova 

to sleep. And these children (in the) evening • 

tyi ma-Ye-apuk (a) okupapa, Ye-epe*" p' 

when they began to sleep, they came to 

252 APPENDIX !• 

okakarukadhe n* a-ve-tya : Mama kakurukadhe, 

little-old-woman and they said : Mother, little-old- woman, 

mo-Yanga tyike,^ ku-tya tu-ku-pe? N'e 

you want what » that we may give you ? And she 

wa-tyere : namba^^ ami me-vanga tyike ? Yanatye 

she said ; now, for my part, I want what ? children 

Yandye, ke-ndyi-pahere" urp orukune (o) ru-nene ; 

my, go (for) me look-for just log-of-wood large ; 

mba t'^^ombepera. N'owo Ya-ire, apire 

I am dead (with) cold. And they, they went, it happened 

tyi Ya-ka-paha opu-kane (o)Fa-nene, ndu 

that they went-to-seek log large, 'which 

Yamuna rukura,^^ n'arire tyi Ya-tora 

they saw long-ago, and it happened that they-lifted 

omumbeumbea/^ n'arire tyi Ya-eta, 

all- together and it happened that they brought (it), 

a-Ye-tya ; kakurukadhe, twe-ku-etepe^*^ 

saying : Little-old-woman, we-to you-have-brought 

opukune opu-twedhuj^ ndu-papa n' omundu, 

log thick, which sleeps with person, 

omukadhendu okakupukadhe o-tya oyb,^ 

woman old as you, 

n' a-yanyuka OYiandonya.'' N'apipe 

and she stretches (herself) out (on) back. And 

tyi Ye-mu-etepe opukune. M' ou-tuku 

so they (to) her brought log. In night 

ty' a-papa, oYa-natye apipe tyi Ye-kutupa^ 

when she slept, children and so they untie 

ondyatu, n' apipe tyi Ya-itha-mo omu-atye 

bag, and so they take-out-of-it child 

n'oYi-na OYi-tyuma^^ nu m'ondyatu m' 

and things vessels " and into bag into 

otjipupukute^ apipe tyi Ya-ongepe-mo 

dry bag it happened that they collected into (it) 


ou-puka,^ ngamwa,^ 'kapuka ke-rumata akeha.^ 

animals, all sorts, animal it bites everyone. 

Nu ondyatu otyi-purukute) arire tyi va-kuta rukwaOi 

And bag dry bag, so they tied again, 

n* owo a-Ye-i k'onganda n' a-ve-twara omu-atye 

and they went to kraal and they carried child 

n' oYi-na mbi^ Ya-ithire m' ondyatu, nu 

and things which they had taken-out from the bag, and 

Ye-Yi-twarepe ku ihe. Ihe 

they-then-brought to the father. The father 

wa-dhepcpe omukandi, a-koho nao^ 

he killed (a beast for) the feast, he cleansed with it 

omu-atye. Nu kombunda 'kakurukadhe 

the child. And afterwards the old woman 

apipe ty' a-nununga ondyatu, a-tyangoYathi,^ 

it happened that she felt the bag, she thought, 

omu-atye om' e-pi^ apipe ty' a-kutupa 

the child in it she was and so she untied 

ondyatu n'e wa-tipe omadhenge 

the bag and she was (nearly) dead (with) rage 

tyinene, kutya^ OYanatye Ya-ithipe-mo m'ondyatu. 

truly, that the children had taken-out from the bag. 

Ndino oupuka apipe tyi wa-sakumukipe 

Now the animals it happened that they crawled-out 

mu-ye, n'apipe tyi wa-hiti m'oputu pwe apuhe, 

on her, and so they entered into body her whole, 

m* otji-nyo na m' oma-yupu na m' omeho, n'apipe 

into mouth and into nostrils and into eyes, and so 

ty'a-koka. Oputyo,^* 

she ended. This is all. 



^ Pa locative prefix ; ri verb * to be.' Pari is the perfect 
tense, the one with the suffix corresponding* to -iU is a * PIu- 
perfect,* or distant past. In the Present, the prefix would be 
pCf not pa, 

' Herero has a somewhat peculiar way of forming com- 
pounds. Instead of saying omu-ndu omu-kadh» * female 
person,' or using omu-kadhc by itself as a noun, • woman,' the 
root -ndu is suffixed. See antt^ p. 215, and note t3, on 
oruhoroti ; also Meinhof, Lautlchrc der Bantusprachen, p. 
135. Another curious feature, to some extent analogous to 
the above, is the insertion of the interrogative particle ke 
between prefix and root, as omu-ke-ti, * what sort of tree?' 
omu'kenduy * what sort of person ? ' 

• -kadhe is suffixed to omu-kuru, which by itself means * old 
(person),' in order to indicate the feminine. -^a^rHs similarly 
used in Zulu (as in indoda-kazi * daughter,' inkosi-kazi 
* queen ' : there is no independent word um-kazi), though less 
frequently. The Herero are supposed to have a mixture of 
Hamitic blood, or at any rate to have been in contact with 
Hamitic tribes (r.^., the Gal la or Somali) before their south- 
ward migration, and they might have borrowed from them 
the notion of a feminine suffix — which is quite foreign to the 
genius of the Bantu languages. 

* ngu relative pronoun of the third person. In the Present 
it immediately precedes the verb-stem ; ngu-twa * who puts ' ; 
in the Perfect it is followed by a: ngu-atwa (or ngu-ya-twa ; 
the y no doubt introduced to prevent the two syllables from 
gliding into ngwa) * who put.' 

^ The singular of this noun is omu-atye^ the », which, as we 
know from other languages, belongs to the root, seems to 
have dropped out. 

^ ondyatu 9 is a leather bag or wallet, carried over the 
shoulder by people who go out to collect roots, etc. 

^ The 5th prefix is in Herero abbreviated to e (as Ir Zulu to 
*) : its full form is eri^ the pronoun ri, Ejuva is the same 
word as Sango lidyuva, Nyanja dzuwa^ Swahili jua, etc. 

^ Rira '^tcome,' 'he j' (rire is the Historic Aorist) ; for its 
i (Jiomatic use as an auxiUary , see below. 


^ ov-engi for ova-ingi, adjective agreeing with ovanatye, ova^ 
kadhona * girls ' is, though a noun, practically equivalent to an 
adjective, being placed in apposition with ovanatye* 

^° irtf, pluperfect of the defective verb^a *go.' 

" The frequent use of ku, even where it would seem super- 
fluous, as here before the Infinitive, seems a peculiarity of 

- " Same root as Swahili and Pokomo dindi * hole ' or * pit * — 
more especially applied to a deep place in the bed of a river 
or the sea. It also appears in such place names as Lindi, 
Malindi, Kilindini (the harbour at the south end of Mombasa 
Island), etc. The Herero use erindi to mean what is called 
in South Africa a * pan * — i.e,^ a depression in which water 
collects during the rains, drying up partially or wholly after 
they are over. 

** a-rire, followed by tyi is equivalent to * it happened tJiat,* 
* it came to pass that,* etc., — or merely * and so.* The pronoun 
a (instead of u) is prefixed to the * Historic Aorist * and the 

" tyi * say,* like Zulu ti, here used as a conjunction (cf, 
Zulu ukuti)=ih2±, 

^* PI. of oru-vanda 12 ; the singular is not used in this sense. 
The word means a kind of apron or kilt worn by little girls 
(under 15 or 16) and consisting of a number of hide thongs (in 
Cape Dutch rimpies)^ hanging from a belt. In front these 
reach the feet, — behind they are long enough to sweep the 
ground. A more ornamental kind of okavanda is the otjim- 
bakutu (pi. ovimbaktitu)^ mentioned a little lower down, which 
consists entirely of omitombe (see next note). 

*^ omitombe 4 are strings of small disks cut from the shells of 
ostrich-eggs, and rounded by rubbing their edges on a stone. 
As the process of preparing these * beads * is slow and 
tedious, they are highly valued. Tliey are worn, either in 
single strings, as necklaces, or the strings arc looped together 
to form a sort of bodice, called omutombe 3. 

" ovimbaktitUi see note 15. 

^^ oundyejtdye 14, (imported) glass beads, usually worn in 
strings round the neck. 

^^ PI. of ombongoraf 9, a string of disks ^similar to the 
omitombe (see note 16), but made from the shells of snails or 
other molluscs, 


** 3rd pera. pi. * emphatic aorist ' of punda * descend ' ; in 
this tense the final vowel is assimilated to that of the stem. 

'1 An adverb composed of ku and ombunda 9 ' the back ' — 
therefore * behind' or * after.' In Herero, the u of ku is often 
elided before another vowel, instead of turning into w, 

'* 3rd pers. sing., pluperfect of tara * look.' 

^ oru-horoli is a compound oiomu-ti analogous to omu'^kadhe' 
ndu. It means ' a long stick,' and is used in apposition with 
oka-ti, so that it is practically an adjective=' long.' But 
Brincker's Dictionary does not give ornhoro in any sense 
which would imply this. 

'^ Nn is used to join sentences (or, in other words before a 
verb) — na nouns. 

*^ 'kuao {=kwawo) is given in the grammars and dictionaries 
as an adjective meaning * other,' but really it is the possessive 
pronoun of the 3rd pers. pi. agreeing with Class 15. All three 
persons are used with the prefixes of Class i and Class 2 : — 
omii-kwctu 'my (our) companion, house-mate, person of the 
same village, etc.,' pi. ova-kwetu, omu-kwenu * you, etc.,' omu- 
hwawo ' his, her, their, etc' — like Zulu abakiti (see p. 2^6 ante) 
of which, however, there is no singular form corresponding to 

2^ Imperative plural oiya * come.' 

^^ tupukeej applied form of tupnka, taking the direct object 

(0) kakurukadhe. 

^ Diminutive of omu-kuriikadhe (note 3). Compare the use 
of kizee in Swahili for an old woman, mostly used of a witch 
or other uncanny person. 

*^ Indino, properly a demonstrative agreeing with cyuva 5 

* day ' (lit. ' sun ') : * this day,' and so * now.' 

^ Tyi here used in the sense of * when.' Tya is the form 
used as an independent verb, when the meaning is actually 

* say.' 

^* avehe ' all,' agreeing with CI. t. The root is he which 
always prefixes a- followed by the personal or class -pronoun : 

a-fu-he * all of us,' a-mu-hc * all of you, etc' 

^* ' Historic Aorist ' (Viehe), one of the tenses which 
assimilates its final vowel to that of the stem — of. pundu 

(note 20). 


Auhe : -he * all ' agreeing with CI. i — singular of avehc^ 


^^ oruhira ii, a goat-skin apron worn next the skin, the other 
articles mentioned being put on over it. The initial r of the 
next word stands for ra, the nth possessive particle, agreeing 
with oruhira, Tliis elides the a (instead of combining it, as in 
Zulu, with the initial vowel of the noun) — no doubt because 
the initial u has already been modified to o (as is also the 
case in Ganda). 

" The possessive particle of Class 3 is vya (not asr in most 
languages yk), preserving a hint of the original y. Nu before 

omitomhe seems to contravene the rule given in note 24, but 
may be a printer's error. 

^ onganda 9 is the word generally used for * kraal,' * village ' ; 
the word used in S.W. Africa is werft (Cape Dutch, though in 
this sense it seems to be peculiar to that district) — see 
Pettman, Africanderisms, p. 550. The Zulu umuzi 3 
represents the word used in most Bantu languages; it is 
found in in Herero as oru-dhe 11, meaning * principal 
village.' Brincker translates onganda by Viehdorf * cattle- 
village,' which among the pastoral Herero would be the 
normal type of settlement. 'A village without cattle is ondua 
(which, ex hypothesis appears to be a Nama village) or otjihuro, 

'■^ etanda and epurura appear to be more or less synonymous 
and consist of strings of iron and copper * beads,* or hoUow 
balls, fastened to the lower edge of the omutcmbe, 

•^ ehi 5 is the word which appears in Swahili as nti 9 ; in 
Zulu, Nyanja, etc., as pa-nsi (it is not used by itself) ; just as 
-he * all,' corresponds to Nyanja -onse and Zulu -onke. But it 
is something of a puzzle that Zulu should have the ns in pansi, 
and so is the elimination of the vowel in Herero). 

^ Herero, as we have seen, prefixes pa, ku or mu to a noun, 
and does not possess the suffixed locative of Zulu, etc. It 
also suffixes the pronouns -po^ -ko -mo to the verb accompany- 
ing the noun — a usage also found in Nyanja, where the 
noun, moreover, frequently takes both prefix and suffix as 
m'nyumha-mo * in the house.' 

*° The inseparable pronoun in Herero varies to an extra- 
ordinary degree. * I * is me- with the Present, e- with the 
Aorist, mha- with the Perfect, and with the * Jussive,' ngU- or 
hi- ; while it also has a distinct object-form ndyi-, 

*^ The particle ka has a * directive force ' as mekatona * I go 
(to) strike ' — i.^., * I am going to strike.* 

*^ Omu-twat pi. ova-twa (cf. Zulu umu-twa^ aha-twa) originally 
meant ' Bushman,' but seems to be used in a depreciatory 


stnse of any non-Herero, and hence with the meaning of 

* slave,* * bandsman,' etc. Omu-tyimha, applied further on to 
the same old woman, is used by the Hereto of people who 
have no cattle, but pick up a living as they can in the Bush 
(and so = * pauper ') ; but other tribes apply it to the Herero 

^^ tyiriy invariable, is called by Brincker an * interjection of 

^* ^if/t«=* leave * ; ri reiers to epurura, ko, locative pronoun 

** arikana an exclamation ©f entreaty, variously rendered 
according to the context. Similar expressions are found 
elsewhere — e.g,^ the Yao chonde ! It looks like the imperative 
of a reciprocal verb, but none such appears to be now in use. 

*^ s-ingwi for tye ingwi. Eye is frequently contracted to c, 

*7 dhu from dha * come from * means, with the indefinite 
subject (ku) *it is said,* ma-ku-dhu is the tense called by 
Brincker the ' Simple Present,' which prefixes ma to all its 

*^ i is the aorist of the defective verb ya ^ go* ; ko the 
locative pronoun, here best rendered by * away,* but a better 
equivalent would be the French en in s*en aller, 

*^ f(y^)i or . eyej separable personal pronoun : tyere, 
pluperfect of tya, 

*° a-riri : this, like the preceding verbs is a participle, which 
in the simple form always assimilates the final vowel. Rira 

* weep ' (Zulu lila, Nyanja /ira, Swahili /»a, Pokomo ia) must 
not be confused with rira * become.* 

'^^ Ravaera^ applied form of rava * thrust in * (used, e,g,^ of 
Moses putting his hand into his bosom, etc.). The sense of 

* crying aloud ' is derived, according to Brincker, from that of 

* thrusting the tongue into the throat * (stark die Zunge in die 
Kehlc stecken) ; in the applied form * cry aloud to * some one, 
ithana (cf. Nyanja itana) is properly a reciprocal; Swahili has 
the simple form ita, 

^' See note 42. is elided in this word and the next, because 
they are in the vocative. 

" rukwaoy used as an invariable adverb, * again,* but really 
an adjective agreeing with oru-vedhe * time,' =* another time.* 

'^^ Historic Aorist. The rule of vowel-assimilation is not 
usually applied to yerbs of more than two syllables, but there 
are some exceptions, 


" Ko locative preposition. According to the usage of most 
Bantu languages, one would have expected oku-mu-wira, 

*• Pluperfect of peta, * bend,' Swahili peta * bend,' * curve,' 
from which comes pete * ring.' 

" vereka means to carry on th« back, as native women do 
babies : bcreka is similarly used in Nyanja, and beleka (or 
beleta) in Zulu, where im- beleko is the prepared goat-skin used 
for tying the child on. 

*® Relative of the ku- class in the past. We must under- 
stand something like * to the place,' or * at the time ' after 

^ mwa- is the locative pronoun for the past tenses, the 
subject of the verb being m^ongMttda. vadherwe is the passive 
of the applied form of vadha * reach,' 

^ Omu-kandi is a feast of meat, when a bullock is slaughtered 
on special occasions. The feast is said to * die ' because it 
was just ending. A -mwa-tu seems to be a mistake for a-mu-{u, 
which is the Historical Aorist of ta * die.' (This verb has a 
dental /, which distinguishes it from ta * be equal with.') 

•* ere plup. oiya * come,' which takes we instead of wa for 
the pronoun of the 3rd pers. sing, in the past tenses. This 
and the aorist ya (instead of i) distinguish it from ya * go 
away.' 0^w-/» is really the locative (17) which in Herero is 
merged into the infinitive class (15) — see ante^ p. 85. It 
means the open country — in fact is best translated by the 
Dutch veld, 

^' mu is here the objective pionoun of the ist class, not the 
locative prefix. 

«® the ' his, her, their father ' — cf. Zulu uyise, * Your father ' 
is iho (Zulu uyihlo) ; * my father ' tate (cf. Nyanja tate^ atate). 
This form is found in a good many languages, while others, 
like Zulu and Swahili, prefer (u)baba, 

^ e=eye : eye ingwe * she (is) this ' (or * that ') one, 

** Subjunctive. In principal sentences (as here) this has 
nga- prefixed to it. For tyita * do,' cf. Nyanja chita, vi is an 
invariable interrogative. 

** Brincker translates werereka by * do a thing treacherously ; 
{verrdtcrisch etwas tun), 

" Second person plural of the Present, which prefixes ma 
to all the pronouns, though in the three persons of the 
singular it is contracted with them Into me^ mo, ma, 

^ See ante, note 61. 


•* Tyike * what ? ' stands by itself after a verb, as here. 
When the question is asked, * what is (are) he (it, they) ? ' 
— 'kwatyike is used with the proper class-prefix : ofuukwa- 
tyikCi ovakwatyike, otyikwatyikt^ etc. 

^ In the original n'ti^ha, which, Prof. Meinhof tells me, is 
a mistake. * It should be namha " now,'* which is derived from 
pa' Cat'). 

" Pahere (e) imperative plural of applied form (pahera) of 
paha * seek.' Ke is the * directive particle ' ka, which modifies 
its vowel when followed by an object-pronoun. * Go and 
seek for me a log.' 

7' un an invariable (adverbial) particle, equivalent to * just,' 
* only,' * so,' etc. 

'® For {u, perfect oita * die ' ; omhepera^ a noun of the 9th class. 

'* Originally an adjective (* old ') agreeing with oru-vcdhc^ of. 
note 53, on rukwao, A fairly good supply of firewood is to be 
obtained from the mimosas and acacias of the Herero country 
(Biittner). People are always on the look-out for dead logs 
which will burn easily, and, if they see one, note the place so 
that they can return for it when wanted. These girls 
remembered that they had noticed one in the bush some 
time before. 

^* Translated by Brincker and Viehe ' zusammen,' * gemein- 
sam ' ; it is evidently a noun of Class 3, but the original 
meaning is nowhere given. 

^' Applied form of da (Zulu leta) * bring,' which enables it 
to take the direct object (-ku- object-pronoun 2nd pers. sing.). 
Twe^ instead of twa, because a always becomes e before the 

" Properly * a log like a bull.' 

^^ t.^., * which an old woman like you can sleep with': 
meaning that it is large enough to burn through the night, so 
that a person can sleep comfortably, without getting up to 
put wood on the fire. 

^^ Properly a plural noun of Class 8, but it gnly seems to 
be used adverbially, ondonya 9 is both noun (* back ') and 
adverb (* behind '), 

®° Reversive of kuta ' tie.' 

^^ A general word for * vessels,' * implements,* * household 
stuff.' Chuma^ in Yao, means * beads,* (applied in Nyanja 
to property of any sort) ; in Swahili, * iron ' — but it is not 
certain that the three are the same word. 


^ This seems to be a descriptive epithet applied to the bag 
and to mean anything made of hide which is hard and dry 
and rattles. 

^ PL of §ka-puka (diminutive of otji-puka), applied to small 
animals and insects. 

^ ngamwat indefinite numeral meaning * all sorts,* * of any 
kind whatever.* 

^ ' Every biting animal.* rumata * bite ' : the simple form, 
ruma does not seem to be used in Herero. Ke pronoun of 
CI. 13 with the present tense, 

^ Relative Pronoun of Class- 8, agreeing with its antecedent 

^7 < with it* seems to refer to omukandi. No doubt some 
sort of ceremonial purification is intended, to free the girl 
from any evil influences which may have emanated from the 
old woman. The sentence seems to mean that the father 
killed an extra beast {wa-dhepere imperfect of the Applied 
Form, not Pluperfect) as part of the omukandi^ which was not 
yet finished. 

^ This and some allied forms are derived from iya * say * 
and ndovathi (nd§vadhi) * perhaps,* * if haply,* and mean ' think,' 
* be of opinion that.' , , , , 

^ Om'eri contracted from omu eyi u ru (Information kindly 
urnishedby Professor Meinhof,and see Brincker, Worterbuch, 
p. 83).- 
^ kutya used synonymously with tyi, 

»* Opu, locative adverb, * there,* * in that place.* Combined 
with a pronoun, as here with -iyo (CI. 7) it means * that's all ' 
(literally * there (is) that ') — uc, * this is the end of the story.' 

Connected Translation 

There was once an old woman who used to put 
children into her bag (and carry them oflf). *One day, a 
number of girls went to play in a pool ; they t#ok oflf 
their clothes and ornaments and went down into the 
water. After a time, one of them, looking out to a 
distance, happened to see an old woman who had a long 

262 At>l>ENDIX 1. 

stick in her hand and a bag on her back. So the girl 
said to her companions : * Come, let us run away from 
the little old woman yonder, who carries off children in 
her bag.* When she spoke thus, all of them came out 
of the pool, in order to run away, and every one picked 
up the apron and the necklaces of her companion, as they 
were in such haste to run away. So they ran as fast as 
they could back to the village. But one child forgot 
her epurura and left it lying on the ground ; and the old 
woman went up to it, picked it up, and put it into her 
bag. So the girl said, * I am going back to ask that 
old Bushwoman for my epurura; I am not going to 
leave it there, truly ! ' But the others said, ' Please 
don't, dear! — they say that person puts children into 
bags and goes away with them ! * She answered, * No, 
I must get my mother's epurura back from that old 
Bushwoman.* So all her companions went home, but 
she turned back, and walked along, crying, with her 
hands on her head. And while she was on the path, 
she called out to the old woman, a long way off, saying, 

* You horrid old pauper ! bring me my mother's epurura, 
which you have picked up.' The old woman said, 

* Come here and take it.' The girl ran up to her, and 
when she was quite near, said again : Old woman, bring 
my mother's epurtira here ! ' The old woman said 
again, * Take it ! ' and when the girl came close to her, 
she slapped her on the cheek.* And then the old 
woman made haste and seized her and thrust her into 
the bag, and then tied up the bag with hide thongs and 
fastened it on her back and carried it so, and went on in 
the direction which the girls had taken to reach their 
village, where a great feast had been going on and was 
nearly ended. The old woman arrived there in the 
evening and sat down outside the fence in the open 
field. When, later on, the girls saw her, they called out 

* It is not clear from the text, as it stands, whether it was the 
old woman who slapped the girl, or vice versa. Bat the women 
who related the story to Biittner insisted that the former was the 

APPENDIX 1. 263 

to their father, saying, * Father, the old woman out there 
is the one who kills children, and she has put our child 
into her bag.* And they asked their father, saying, 

* What shall we do to her?* And their father said, 

* Wait till the evening, when you are all thinking of 
going to sleep, and then you can entrap her.* So, in 
the evening, before those girls lay down to sleep, they 
came to the old woman (outside the kraal fence), and 
said, * Mother, what would you like us to get for you ? ' 
And she said, * For my part, my children, what I should 
like is that you should just find me a good big log (to 
burn), for I am well-nigh dead with cold.* So they 
went to look for a large log which they had marked 
down some time before, and lifted it all together and 
carried it back and said, * Little old woman, we have 
brought you a regular' whoppet of a log, such that a 
woman can sleep all night beside it, lying comfortably 
on her back.* So they brought her the log (and put it 
on the fire).* 

But in the night, when she was asleep, the girls went 
and untied the bag and took out the child and everything 
else that was in it, and they collected and put into it all 
kinds of biting insects and reptiles, — every creature that 
bites. And they tied up the bag again and went into 
the kraal, carrying with them the little girl and the 
things which they had taken out of the bag, and brought 
them to their father. And he killed another bullock for 
the feast, so as to purify his daughter with it. But, 
after a time, the old woman got up and felt the bag, 
thinking the girl was inside it (but she was not there), 
so she untied it and nearly died of rage, indeed, because 
the other girls had taken her out. So then all the 
animals crawled out on her and got into her mouth and 
nose and eyes (and stung her to death), and that was 
the end of her. That is all. 

* It is to be supposed that the old woman had made a little fire 
for herself with such dry sticks as she could find, and only wanted 
fuel to keep it up through the night. 

264 Appendix i. 

3. iLA* 

The Tortoise and the Hare 

Ba-nyama^ bonse' ba-ka-fwe^ nyotwa,^ 

The animals all, when they were about to die (of) thirst, 

ba-amb,' ati :^ ' A-tu-lukanke lubilo, 

they spoke, saying : Let us run (with) swiftness, 

tu-bone ati a-ka-shike'^ ku menzhi.* 

(so that) we may see that he may arrive at water.' 

Pale, Fulwe » nga a-ka-^hala^ bana 

But Tortoise (it is he) who produced children 

banjibanji: a-la-ya-ba-zhika^ mwiYu;^ umwi 

very mauy : he goes burying (them) in ground ; one 

mwana wa-mu-zhika, ku-mbadi ku^ menzhi. 

child he him buried, by side of water. 

Inzho banyama baamb', ati: ' A-ta-tiane/" 

So the animals they spoke, saying : * Let us race, 

tu-ka-shike ka mu-longa, tu-ka-nwe menzhi.' 

when we arrive at the river, let us drink water.' 

Ba-fuma, ba-lukanka, bonse baamb', ati: 

They started. they ran, all they spoke, saying : 

* Tu bona^ ati ngani^^ u-ka-tanguna^^ ku-shika.* 

*Let us see that who is it he will be-first to arrive.* 

Pele ba-lukanka odimwi/^ ba-fulwe ba-la-ya- 

But they ran again, tortoises go along 

bu-amb'^^ ati : ' Imbelembelei o-ba-shana^ 

saying : * Forward, those who are with 

* Ila is spoken in North- Western Rhodesia, by the people 
commonly called the Mashiikulumbwe, whose proper name is ba-ila. 
Tl]ey live on both banks of the Kafue, one of the northern 
tributaries of the Zambezi. They are closely allied (at any rate as 
far as speech goes) with the Baton ga and Basubiya. The above 
story is extracted from the Rev. E. W. Smith's Handbook of thi 
Ila Language (see Bibliography). 



solwe.'^^ Odimwi balukanka, odimwi baamb' ati : 

Mr. Hare.* Again they ran, again they said : 

' Imbelembele, obashanasnlwe I ' Dimwi izuba^^ 

* Forward, Hare & Co. ! * Another sun 

dia-ibila, ba-la-ya-bu-ompolola : ' DimwP 

it set, they go along shouting : * Another (day) 

kwa-shia.^^ Imbelembele, obashanasnlwe I 

it has grown dark. Forward, Hare & Co. ! * 

Dimwi banyama bamana knfwa,^ mwana^^ folwe 

Next day the animals finished to die, child (of) tortoise 

0-wa-ku-di^ kumbadi ku menzhi, wo-ompolola^ 

he who was beside the water, he shouted 

ati : ' Imbelembele, obashanasnlwe ! ' Wezo 

saying : * Forward, Hare & Co. ! ' That 

Snlwe wa-ya ku-fwa,^ wa-bnla^ o-ku-shika kn 

Hare was going to die, he was- without arriving at 

menzhi. . Hwana fulwe owakndi knmbadi 

water. Child (of) tortoise who was beside 

kn menzhi wa-ba-letelela^ menzhi mu^kanwa : 

water he brought-for them water in mouth : 

ke-ziza^ kn-lapwila^ banyama. Ati : 

let him come to spit-out-for animals. He said 

, Ndimwe mwa-ku-zumanana, ati, '' Fnlwe 

It is you you were quarrelling, saying, " Tortoise, 

tu-lamn-shia^ Inbilo." Inzho 

we shall him leave (behind) (in) swiftness." So 

mwa-ba-nji'' ku-shika ? Hn-di ba-nichi.'' 

you have become what to arrive ? You are children. 

Ndimi mukando, nda-shika ku menzhi. 

It is I (whc^m) a big man, I have arrived at water. 

Hudi banichi.' Ngonao^^ wa-ba-lapwila 

You are children.' Immediately he spit-out-for them 

menzhi a-ku-di mu-kanwa. Ba-bnla 

water it was in (his) mouth. They were without 

266 Appendix i. 

o-ku-mu-ngula : ba-usa budio.'^ Inzho 

answering him : they were-sad only. So 

banyama baamb' ati : ' Tu-ka-fambe^ mu-kalo, 

animals they said : * Let us dig water-hole, 

tu-ka-ku-nwa"^ u^-mukalo menzhi.' Inzho 

that we may drink in water-hole water.' So 

ba-fumba. Basnlwe ba-kaka kufumba, inzho 

they dug. Hares they refused* to dig, so 

baamb' ati : ' Bu^^ mwa-kaka kufumba, inzho 

they said ; * Since you refused to dig, so 

ta-mu-ti-mu-nwe^ menzhi. Mu-la-mana 

you shall not drink water. You shall finish 

ku-fwa nyotwa/ Kwashia, 

to die (of) thirst.' It grew dark, 

bakaka kufumba, ba-ya ku mukalo, 

they (who) refused to dig, they went to hole, 

ba-kwiba.^ Inzho banyama bamwi baamb' ati: 

they stole. So animals other they said : 

' A-tu-ba-zube^ basulwe, tu-ba- 

'Let us hide (from) them the hares, (that) we may see 

bone.' Inzho ba-ba-bona, ba-ba-kwata, 

them.' So they saw them, they caught them, 

ba-ba-anga. Pole baamb' ati : ' Bu mwa- 

they bound them. But they said : * Since you 

tu-anga, inzho twa-beba. A-mu- 

(have) tied us, so we (have) repented. Let you 

tu-tole^^ a-bwina, mu-ka-tu-yayile^ ngona.''' 

carry us to burrow, (that) you may kill us just there.* 

At>P£NDIX I. 207 


^ Nyatna, in most Bantu languages, is a noan of the ninth 
class (though, in Swahili, when meaning * an animal,' it usually 
takes the concords of the first). In Ila it has the prefix mu- 
(pi. hanyama 2) and is thus included in the person-class. 
Other names of animals are treated in the same way, e^.^ 
munyati ' buffalo ' (Z. innyati 9 ; Ny. njati) musifu ' eland,' mu- 
xovu ' elephant.' Some names ot animals (also included in 
Class I) are compounded with the prefixes 5/r<i=* father of 
and na=* mother of ' (Smith, p. 18). This seems to be dis- 
tinct from the use of sha- or shana- as an honorific prefix, «^., 
shana-sulwit for sulwe 1 * hare.' (5m/w^, ordinaruy, has no 
preRx in the singular, but, being included in CI. i on account 
of its meaning, it's plural is ha-sulwi z.) This is very common in 
African tales — cg,^ in Ganda * elephant* is ittjovu 9, but 
when he figures in a story he is called Wanjovu, and in Yao 
stories the names of animals have the title Chi prefixed to 
them. (Cf. ' Brer Rabbit,' * Miss Cow,' etc.) 

> Future Subjunctive (Smith, p. 161). This seems, incon- 
gruously, to be used as a principal verb, but in reality it is 
equivalent to an adverbial clause, with * when ' understood. 
' The relation of time is often expressed not by an adverb, 
but by moods and tenses of the verb. . . . [«^.J the 
preterite indicative and the subjunctive.' (Smith, p. 240). 

' Nyota means * thirst ' in some dialects of Swahili, also in 
Nyamwezi, Karanga, etc. Cf. also Ganda $nyonia^ Yao njota^ 
Herero onyot/i, Sutu Unyora, 

* Ati, properly 3rd pers. sing, of ti * say,' is used regardless- 
of number or person, in a way which comes to be equivalent 
to the conjunctive * that.' For other idiomatic uses of tif see 
Smith, p. 185. 

* Lit. * that he may arrive (first) at the water,' — 1.#., • who 
will arrive first.' 

* Past (Preterite) of zhala * bear,' « beget ' : Zulu, xala^ 

Swahili vyaa (zaa). 

V Properly the * Immediate Future Habitual' tense (Smith, 
p. 156) : the narrator goes back to the actual time of t 
incidents and treats them as if they werte happening I »« 
his eyes. 

® Locative,=mi« ivu *in the groandL* Mr. Smith 

268 APPENDIX 1. 

tnwivhUf but the sound — see p. 7 of his Grammar — is clearly 
that of * bilabial v.* 

^ We should have expected kumbadi kwa menxhi, mhadi 9 
being placed in CI. 17 t>y prefixing the locative ku^ but see 
Smith, p. 223. Mbadi is not given in the vocabulary as a 
noun, but cf. Nyanja mhali 9 * edge, side, rim ; ' no doubt the 
same word used in Swahili as an adverb * far,' etc. 

^0 tia * be afraid ' (cf. Swahili tisha * frighten ' — probably a 
causative of the verb usually written cha *fear '), and so *run 
away ' : tiana reciprocal, but apparently with the meaning 
* run against ' (or, * in competition with ') and not * run away 
from ' each other. 

^^ Present Subjunctive, used in place of Imperative. 

" Ngunif interrogative (Smith, p. loi), lit. : * it is who ? ' A 
relative is understood after it, or rather, it is an example of a 
construction very common in the Bantu languages, even 
where relative pronouns exist : the demonstrative, or even 
the ordinary personal pronoun are often preferred, as though 
it were less trouble to make a fresh assertion than to link up 
the clause with the preceding one. 

^^ Second Future (Smith, p. 157) — probably distinguished 
from the Preterite by tone, — tanguna^ evidently a derived form 
of tanga * begin,' but the Jorce of the termination is not very 
clear: it can scarcely be reversive (Smith, p. 130). 

** Dimwi * another ' (agreeing with izuba 5 * day,* or some 
similar noun, understood), and preceded by the insjirumental 
preposition (Smith, p. 224), so meaning * again.' 

^^ Same tense as in line 4 — see above, note 7. 

^^ Obashanastdwfi, a kind of collective pL, including the 
person named and those with him — see above, p. 48, and 
Smith, p. 18. This> or a similar idiom seems to be universal 
in Bantu — e.g. Sumbwa : nge Bandega^ * ce sont des hommes 
de Ndega ' (P. Capus) ; Swahili : kina Hamisi, etc. Oba- is the 
plural relative prefix (Smith, p. 108). 

^■^ Izuba 5 'sun' — here used for *day.' The same f«rm of 
the word is found in Tonga (Zambezi), and cf. Nyoro ixobut 
Konde ilisuba^ Ganda enjuba^ etc. Other forms are lyuwa, 
dzuwa, riua, jua^ iruwa, eyuva^ loba, etc. The pronoun for 
Class 5 is in Ila di, Dia is "the form with past tenses. 

^^ Dimwi agreeing with izuba understood. 

^^ K%va 17 {kii- with the past tense) is the ' indefinite subject,' 
equivalent to * it ' or ' there ' (' there was darkness '). 


^ Idiomatic use of mana * finish ' (see Smith, p. 187), mean- 
ing * they all died together.* The seqnel shows that * died ' is 
not to be taken literally. 

^ Wa omitted after mwana. 

^ Past tense of verb * to be ' (di^ Smith, p. «oo), preceded 
by relative particle 0, 

" wo for wa : a becoming before the verb ompolola (see 
Smith, pp. 12-13). The tense is the * aorist * (Smith, p, 150). 

^* Aorist of ^a * go,* followed by infinitive ku-fwa, Wezo is 
th« demonstrative pronoun of the first class meaning * that ' 
(already referred to), 

"* hula * lack,* ' be without,' sometimes followed by a noun, 
as ndabula shidyo ' I have no food,' sometimes, as hare, by the 
infinitive preceded by a relative particle. * He was without 
arriving '=' he failed to arrive.* 

^ leteUla, * Doubib Relative ' (Applied) form of leta : Ut-ela 

* bring to,' Ut-el-ela * bring to * a person * for * his use. 

^ 3rd pers. sing. Imperative of the irregular verb kweza 
{z=ku iza or ku iza) *come ' — see Smith, pp. 182, 183. 

^ lapwihy Applied (' Relative ') form of lapula * spit ' — see n, 
Smith, p. 120. We should have expected ku-ba-lapwila. \ 

^ Immediate Future Tense (Smith 155). 

^ ba is the verb * to be,' also used in the sense of * become ' 
(Smith, p. 184). Translate * What has become of you that 
you did not arrive ? ' 

'^ PI. of. mwanichi (or mwaniche) * youngster.' The ordinary 
word for * child ' is mwana, 

82 =ngon'awo : * substantive locative pronoun '=(* the place) 
just there' combined with the demonstrative awo 16 (Smith, 
p. 216). Here used as an adverb of time, *just then,' or 

* immediately.' 

»• budto * merely.' Smith suggests that it may be a noun of 
Class 14 meaning * nothingness.' But the fourteenth prefix is 

* the basis of a number of adverbs of manner ' (Smith, p. 217) 
and possibly -dio might be explained as a pronominal stem 
agreeing with some 5th class noun understood. 

" Future Subjunctive used as ImperatK^e. 

»* Another form of the Future Subjunctive— (see Smith, p. 

^ 1^ is the form assumed by the locatives mu and ku before 


nouns which already begin with those prefixes — e.g,, u-kubokOt 
for ku-kuboko or (as here) u-mukalo for mu-tnukalo, 

'^ BUj used as a conjunction and meaning * since/ is 
probably a pronoun, perhaps agreeing with busena 14 * place/ 

•^ Negative Future (Smith, p. 171). 

w Kwiba=kuiba ' steal/ Cf. Zulu (e)ba, Nyanja ba, Swahili 
iba (in the northern dialect jepa^ which may preserve a trace 
of the lost initial consonant). 

4ft ist pers. pi. Imperative (Second Form : Smith, p. 163). 
Zuba ' hide * (intr.) as it takes a direct object of the person, 
must mean * hide from ; ' but we should have expected the 
Applied Form. 

*^ Second Augmented Form of the Present Subjunctive, 
with the particle a prefixed (Smith, p. 163). 

^ Future Subjunctive of yayila, which is the applied foon 
of yaya * kill.' The force of the Applied Form is not obvious 
here, as tuyayilc would ordinarily mean * kill .... for 
us,' and no second object is expressed —or, indeed, required 
by the sense. 

^^ Locative demonstrative emphasised : * just on that 
place).' (Smith, p. 91.) 

Connected Translation 

[This story is not very clear as it stands, but it seems 
to be a confusion of two different tales, both of which 
are widely distributed in Africa: that of the race 
between the Tortoise and the Hare, in which the former 
wins by planting out his family along the track (cf. 
Uncle Remusy * Mr. Rabbit finds his match at last Oi 
and one where all the animals join together to dig a 
well : the Hare refuses, and is not allowed to draw 
water, but does so by a trick, which is finally detected 
and frustrated by the Tortoise. This latter story is 
found in Jacottet's Contes Populaires des Bassoutos 
{Le Chacal et la Source), in Theal's Kaffir Folk-Lore, 
in the Swahili collection entitled Kibaraka {Sungurana 


Ugomba and Hadilhi ya Vinyama), in Mrs. Dewar's 
Chinartfwatiga Slories (' The Rabbit and all the other 
Animals ') and elsewhere. All details of the trick bjr 
which the water was stolen and that by which the thief 
was captured ace here omitted.] 

Once upon a time, when all the animals were dying 

with thirst, they said to each other : ' Let us run swiftly 

lod see who reaches the water first.' But the Tortoise, 

who had borne very many children, went on burying 

them in the ground (along the course), and one child she 

buried beside the water. So the animals said, ' Let ua 

race each other, and when we reach the river, we shall 

Irink the water.' They started, they all ran, they said, 

Let us see who will be the first to arrive.' They ran 

igain, and the Tortoises went on saying, ' Forward I 

Forward! Mr. Hare and his friends!' Again they 

ran, again they said, ' Forward ! Mr. Hare and his 

friends I ' The sun set once more, and they went on 

dumting, ' Once more it has become dark. Forward ! 

' Next day the animals all 

I tortoise who was beside the 

orward I ' as before. The 

without reaching the water. 

fas beside the water brought 

th, in order to spit it out for 

is you who were spiteful, 

ise, we have outrun him." 

you that you did not arrive ? 

am a grown man — I have 

are children I ' Thereupon 

cb was in his mouth. They 

remained, sad and silent. 

* Let us dig a water-hole, 

ak.' So they dug. But 

tiie others said : ' Since 

all not drink any water. 

d In the HDM of bdng ' Ult 


You shall all of you die of thirst.' When it was dark, 
those who had refused to dig went to the water-hole 
and stole water. So the other animals said, * Let us 
lie in wait for the hares, so that we may see them.* So 
they saw them and caught them and bound them. But 
they (the hares) said, * Since you have tied us, now we 
repent. Carry us to our burrow, that you may kill us 
just there.'* 

4. Nyanja 

The Story of the Cock and the Swallow\ 

Tambala ndi namzeze a-na-palana 

Cock and swallow they made-with-each-other 

chi-bwenzi/ ndipo namzeze a-na-ti,^ 'Koma' 

friendship, and swallow he said, * But 

u-dze^ kwatu."' Ndipo tambala 

you (must) come to our (house). And Cock 

a-na-muka, a-na-ka-peza^ namzeze, a-li pa nsanja/ 

he went, he found swallow, he is on nsanja. 

Ndipo mkazi wa namzeze, a-na-pula^ ma-ungn, 

And wife of swallow, she took-ofF pumpkins, 

ndipo namzeze a-na-lengalenga,^ a-na-tenga 

and swallow he-flew-up-aloft, he took 

• This seems inconclusive, but no doubt the sequel is omitted as 
too obvious : viz. , that the too credulous animals did as they were 
asked. Brer Rabbit more subtly entreated Brer Fox not to * fling 
me in dat briar-patch.' 

t MS. collecte'd at Blantyre, from a boy whose home was in the 
neighbourhood of the Murchison Falls, on the Shire River. Mr. 
R. S. Rattray has published a longer version of the same story 
(from Central Angoniland) in Sotm Folk-Lort^ Stories and Songs. 


maungUy na-patsa^^ tambala, ndipo tambala a-na-ti, 

pumpkins, and-gave (to) cock, and cock said, 

' Udze kwatu.'* Ndipo tambala a-na-nka 

* You (must) come to us.' And cock went 

kwao/ na-uza mkazache^^ kuti/^ ' u-ndi-ika^'^ ine 

home, and told his- wife saying, * you-me-put me 

mu mpika^^ wa mponda/^ 'ndipo a-na-m-pika 

into pot of gourds,' and she-him-cooked 

pa moto. Ndipo namzeze a-na-dza, na-peza 

on fire. And swallow he came, and found 

tambala a-li mu mpika/^ ndipo namzeze a-na-ti, 

cock he is in pot, and swallow he said, 

' Pulani^^ mponda, ndi-funa ku-nka kwatiu' Ndipo 

* Take-ofF gourds, I want to go home.' And 

mkazi wa tambala a-na-pula mponda, ndipo 

wife of cock she took -off gourds, and 

a-na-peza tambala, a-ta-fa,^ namzeze 

she found cock, he-was-already-dead, swallow 

a-na-bwerera^^ kwao wo-sa-dya^ mponda. 

he-returned home not-having-eaten gourds. 


* Chi-bwiftzi 7, from hwcnxi 5 * friend ' (see p. 55). Ndipo, 

properly the copula joined with the pronoun of the i6th 

locative) class, is very commonly used in Nyanja for * and,' 

' and so,* * and then.* In Swahili it is more often found in its 

briginal sense of * that is where,* * that is how,* etc. 

' Nyanja has the verb ti * say ' conjugated in all, or most, 
of its tenses, while keeping its original force, unlike Zulu, 
where it is apt to pass into adverbial, etc., senses. This is 
the past tense in -na-. See Hetherwick, Manual,* p, .50. 

^ Koma * but,' often begins a sentence in this way, where 
there seems to be no adversative meaning ; but perhaps a 
Hind of polite deprecation is implied. 



* u-dxe^ subjunctive (used for imperative) of dza * come.' 

** Kwatu possessive pronoun of Class 15, ist person plural. 
Chez nous is a closer parallel than any we have in English. 
But it should be noticed that it is always kwatu, never kwangaj 
even when the speaker is referring to himself only. It is the 
same in the second and third persons — cf. kwao (chcz lut), 
lower down, where I have translated it simply by *home.' 
Some nouns of relationship are always used with a plural 
possessive in the Bantu languages — cf. udade wctu * my sister,' 
umne waho ' his elder brother,' in Zulu. 

^ For this tense see H«therwick, Manual, pp. 150, 156. It 
here seems to indicate the interval between the act of starting 
from home (muka) and * finding ' the Swallow — as though we 
had to understand ' and, when he arrived, he found.' . . . 
Peza, as here used, involves a sort of bull ; it is not meant 
that the Cock saw the Swallow sitting on the nsanja (see next 
note), — but that he did not see him : he found him not there, 
he being on the nsanja. It is very common for Africans to 
lay, * I saw him not there,' or the like — which, after all, is not 
very different from ' I found him already gone,' as we often 
say — illogically, perhaps, but not irrationally. 

^ Nsanja is a kind of staging erected over the central fire- 
place in a hut, on which meat is placed to be smoke-dried, 
and seed-corn, beans, etc., to protect them from the attacks 
of mice and insects. It forms a little loft under the point of 
the conical roof. 

^ Pula * to take a cooking-pot off the fire,' is often used, by 
an extension of meaning for *dishing-up food,' and in 
European households generally means * bring in dinner.' — 
Ma-ungu, plural oi dz-ungu 5. 

^ He would, as a matter of fact, have come down from the 
nsanja, but having descended (probably at the back) under 
cover of the smoke, he would then fly up, as if emerging from 
the boiling pot. 

^0 ' And ' in Nyanja, is ni or ndi, not, as in some other 
languages na. This na- is made up of ni and the pronoun a, 
and is often found in continuous narrative, prefixed to the 
second of two consecutive verbs. Cf. below, na-uza, na-peza, 

" mkazache. Nouns expressive of relationship are often 
combined with the possessive in this way : Nyanja : amako 
* thy mother,' amache ' his mother ' (but in some dialects mni 
wake) ; Swahili mkco * thy wife,' mkewc * his wife,' etc. The 


rule does not apply uniformly, for Nyanja has ataU wako * thy 
father,' while Swahili has babangUt babakoy babakc (often 
further abbreviated into bake) as well as mamangu, etc. (See 
Hetherwick, p. 87). 

^' Literally ' to say ' ; equivalent to * that,' but often used 
(as here) where ' that* would be superfluous in English. 

13 We should have expected u-ndi-ikct and possibly the MS. 
is wrong. Ine * me ' follows for emphasis : * But, as for me, you 
must put me.' . . In Mr. Rattray's version, the correspond- 
ing sentence runs: * Mawa (to-morrow) u-pikc maungu^ ndi-ka- 
itana (and then I will call) bwenzi langa, ndipo ins u-ndi-ike m* 
mpika tnomo,* ,Here the position of ine is varied for still 
greater emphasis. Momo is a strengthened form of mo * in it.' 

" This is written without a hyphen, because the mu really 
has prepositional force. Had it still been felt as the locative 
prefix jmu-mpika, or tn'pika * the-inside-of-the-pot ') it would 
have been followed by mwa^ not wa, as the possessiv.e particle. 

1* Mponda are a small kind of gourd, not unlike the species 
known to cultivation as * custard-marrows,'— very delicate if 
properly cooked. 

18 Here, again, it is not meant that the Swallow saw his 
friend in the pot, otherwise what follows would lose all point. 
Of course the meaning is * He did not find him, for he was in 
the pot.' 

^^ In Nyanja and some other languages, such as Makua and 
Venda, the plural of the second person is used instead of the 
singular where special politeness is intended. But this idiom 
does not seem to be very general in Bantu. 

1^ The verb ta * finish ' is used as an auxiliary, particle to 
indicate * complete action.' See Hetherwick, p. 161. 

19 Bwer-eraj applied form of bwera * return,' appears to 
imply a return fronts though only the place to which he 
returned is expressed in words. 

'^ Wo-sa-dya for waku-sa-dya, literally * of to-not-eat ' is a 
kind of negative participle in very common use. In the Likoma 
dialect, where the ordinary negative serves to express the 
future (si-ni-chite * I shall do ') this participial form is almost 
the only one, and is used without reference to person or time : 
wO'Sa-chita, pl.o-sa-chita * not doing,' wo-sa-lima, * not cultivating,' 
etc., etc., see pp. 118, 169. 


Connected Translation 

The cock and the swallow made friendship with each 
other, and the swallow said, * But you must come to my 
house.* And the cock went, and did not see the 
swallow, for he was sitting on the staging over the 
fireplace. And when the swallow's wife took the 
pumpkins off the fire, the swallow flew up (through the 
smoke, as if he had come out of the pot) and took of 
the pumpldns and gave them to the cock, who said 
* you must come (in return) to my nouse.' And the 
cock went home and told his wife to put him into the 
pot of mponda gourds (which she was going to cook for 
the guest). So she cooked him over the fire, and when 
the swallow came, he did not see the cock, who was 
inside the pot. (After waiting for some time), the 
swallow said, * Please dish up the gourds, for I want to 
go home.' She did so and found the cock already dead 
(in the pot). So the swallow went home, without 
having eaten any of the gourds. 

{a) Lamti Dialect (Kiamu). 
Stories about the People of ShelU^^ 

I. Pa-li-kuwa na^ mtu «a Shela,' hH-amkuIiwa' 

There was a man of Shela, he was called 

Bwana Mgumi, a-ka-twaa^ kibarua' 

Mr. Mguipi, and he took a day-labourer 

ku-m-tilia^ maf katika^ kasikfy na kasiki 

to pour for him water into a jar, and jar 

♦ Pictated by Muhamadi bin Abubakari (Kijuma) 


hiyo'' hu-ngia mi-tangi'' esherii^. Ule'' 

that one there go in jars twenty. That 

kiba-rua a-ka-tia mai, hatta kasiki i-ka-yaa,"^ 

labourer and he poured water, till the jar it was full, 

a-ka-mwambia, 'Bwana, kasiki i-me-ziye 

and he said to him, ' Master, the jar it has exceeded 

kn-yaa.'^^ Ka-mwa-mbia, 'Shindilia^ mal, 

to be full. And he said to him, * Press down the water, 

twaa mti^° huu, u-ka-shi-ndilie.'^^ 

take pestle this, that you may press down.* 

A-ka-m-pa mti, ule akapiga, 

And he gave him the pestle, and that (man) struck, 

kasiki i ka-vundika'' tini'' • (kasiki ile 

the jar it was broken below (jQX that 

i-me-zikwa tiati^ nusu), mai 

it was buried (in) the ground half), the water 

ya-ka-shuka ; akamwambia, ' U-me-ona, 

it went down ; and he said to him, * You have seen, 

ongeza^^ tena basi^ mail' Hatta^ mai 

add again then water ! ' Until the water 

yakashnka kwa tini,^ ndipo a-lo-po-yna" 

and it went down from below, that is where he knew 

kasiki ime¥«uidika. Ndiye akatoa^ habari 

the jar it is broken. It is he (who) put forth the news 


the labourer. 

II. Hngwana^ wa Shela* mmoya, a-li-weka 

Gentleman of Shela one, he put away 

baruti, i-ka-ngiwa^ mai, akamwambi^ 

gunpowder, and it was entered (by) water, and he told him, 

mtumwake,^ 'Twaa kikaango,^ weke motoni, 

his slave, * Take frying-pan, put on fire, 

na-taka kn-kaanga barati yanga, 

I want to roast (dry) i powder my, 

278 APPENDIX 1. 

i-me-n£iwa mai, na-taka kukaan^a mimi 

it has been entered by water, I want to dry (it) I 
mwenyewe " wewe hu-to-yW^ kwa uzuri.'" 

myself, you will not know properly/ 

Mtwmwake a-ka-twaa kikaango, 

His slave and he took the frying-pan, 

kaweka motoni kamwambiay 'Bvana, 

and put (it) on the fire and said to him, ' Master, 

tayari!' Kenda^ bwana, akatia . 

ready ! ' And he went, the master, and he poured 

baruti kikaangoni, baruti 

the powder into the frying-pan, the powder 

i-ka-m-teketeza uso'^ na ndevu zake.^° Hini'^ 

and it burnt him the face and beard hiS. This 

habari ya-tendeka Shela. 

affair is done (at) Shela. 

III. Mwinda kungu^ a-li-pata kungu, 

A hunter (of) bush-buck, he got'(caught) a bush-buck, 

a-ka-m-funga kisu na ukambaa^ 

and he tied (on) him a knife with (his) girdle 

ka-m-wambia, * Enda kwa Hwana^ 

and said to him, * Go to the Mistress, (tell her) 

a-ku-tinde/^ nso na ini a-ni-vekee 

she is to kill you, kidneys and liver let her put by for 

mimi, kiya, nitwelee^^ mkakambe.'^ 

me, when I come, that I may add (them to my) porridge/ 

A-ka-mw-eta^^ kenenda ale, kisa^ 

And he sent him and went that one, afterwards 

a-ka-Fudi, mwinda akenda nyumbani 

and he returned, the hunter and he went to-house 

kwake^^ ; mke wake ka-mu-pa mkakambe mtupu/^ 

to his ; wife his and gave him porridge bare, 

kamwambia, 'Nso na ini 11^ wapi?' 

and he said to her, * Kidneys and liver is where ? ' 


Akamwambia, * Ha-ku-eta/ 

And she said to him, * You did not send ' (them), 

kamwambiay ' Ni-me-m-tuma Bwa' Kungu,^ 

and he said to her, * I have sent him, Mr. Bush-buck, 

ni-me-m-funga nkumbuu na kisu'; 

I have tied (on) him a girdle and a knife ' ; 

kamwambia, ' Ha-kn-ya ' ; 

and she said to him, * He has not come ' ; 

a-si-le'^ mkakambe, katoka 

and he did not eat the porridge, and he went out 

kenda ku-m-zengea,'^^ ^ a-si-mu-one. Basi, 

and went to seek him, and did not find him. So, 

hatta sasa watu wa Shela a-ki-v-amkua ' Bwa' 

until now the people i)f Shela if you call them * Mr. 

Kungu, hu-teta. 

Bush-buck,' they quarrel (with you). 


* Pa is the pronoun of Class i6 (locative), and it is quite 
easy to translate pa-Ii-kuwa * there was,* but the na which 
follows seems superfluous. We must remember, however, 
that the pronoun represents some noun meaning * place ' (no 
doubt the obsolete pantu, which has been replaced by fiahali 
dr mahali) and that the construction is, literally, * Thfi place it 
was with ' — i.«., * it had * — of. the French use of avoir in il y 

* Shela is a town within a half-hour*s walk of Lamu, but 
the people consider themselves quite distinct, and the Lamu 
men affect to look down on them as stupid and ignorant, and 
tell numerous tales against them, of which the three given in 
the text are specimens. They resemble those of the exploits 
attributed to the men of Gotham, or the mutual taunts of 
' Hampshire hogs ' and * Wiltshire moon-rakers.' 

B Amkua, elsewhere meaning * salute' is used at Lamu for 
* call.' A Mombasa man would have said huitwa or aliitwa. 
The * habitual tense ' in hu- (see Steere, Handbook of thi 


Swahtli Language, p. 126), which has no distinction of number 
or person and may refer either to present or past, is more 
freely used in the Lamu dialect than in the more southerly 

* Twaa ' take,' here means * hire,' * engage.* It is the same 
word as the Zulu twala, which, however, means * carry' (on 
the head) — a good illustration of how identical roots may 
diverge in meaning. 

'^ Kibarua, literally * little letter,' has come to mean, first, 
the ' ticket ' given to people hired by the day and handed in 
when their wages are paid, and, then the person so hired. 

^ Tilia, applied form of Ha, * put,' * pour ' — Zulu tela, 

^ Mai (mayi), Kiamu for maji. See yaa, yua, mmoya, etc., 
later on. 

^ Originally kati ka * the middle of ' (perhaps a trace of the 
ka- class which has disappeared from Swahili). Used like a 
preposition in the sense of * in,' * on,* etc. 

^ Kasikif a large earthen jar, three feet or more in height, 
sometimes seen at the door of a small village mosque, instead 
of the usual tank {birika), which holds the water for ablutions. 

^° Hiyo, demonstrative, CI. 9 ; here=* the aforesaid.* 

" Plural of m-tungi 3 ' water-jar ' ; the usual size holds 
about a gallon. Esherini {ishrin, ishirini) is Arabic, like the 
other words generally used for the higher numerals. 

^* Ule, Kiamu iox yule. Distant Demonstrative of Class i. 

^^ i- pronoun, agreeing with kasiki 9; -ka-, sign of the 
Narrative tense (Steere, Handbook, p. 134). Yaa=jaa in 
Mombasa and Zanzibar Swahili : cf. Nyanja dxala and Zulu 
zala ' be full ' (dist. from zala ' bring forth '). 

^^ An idiom implying ' not only full but overflowing.* Ziye, 
for the more usual zidi (Arabic) ' be abundant,' * exceed,* etc. — 
Kamwambia ; the initial pronoun of the ka- tense is sometimes 

^^ Shindilia (doubly applied form of shinda * conquer,* of 
which the original meaning was, probably, *beat down,') — 
used for pressing down grain into a basket or measure, to 
make it hold more. 

^^ Mti, with dental t (Zanzibar mchi) seems to be a distinct 
word from mti ' tree,' which has the cerebral t and does not 
change in the Zanzibar dialect. The * pestle * used for 

Eounding grain is a pole of some heavy wood, about four or 
ve feet long and of a thickness to be easily grasped in the 


hand. The pestle used in Nyasaland (munchi, munsi) is much 
thicker and is raised between the open hands which do not 
meet round it. 

" For the subjunctive 'with -ka-, see Steere, Handbook, 
p. 141. 

^8 Neuter-passive of vunda (Zanzibar,*vw»;a). The implica- 
tion is that * it was in a state of being broken/ — * it was found 
to be broken ' ; if the man's agency had been emphasised, i-ka- 
vundwa would have been used. 

^^ Zanzibar, chini : it is really the locative of nti (nchi) 

* earth,* * ground.' Cf. the Zulu adverb pa-nsi^ which has 
survived the introduction of the locative in -ni and the loss of 
the noun -nsi. 

^ Tiati * earth,' only found in Lamu and other northern 
dialects. I have been unable to arrive at its derivation. 

'^ Causative of ongeut the intransitive verb meaning 

* increase,' no doubt the applied form of onga, not in use. 

^> Bast, sometimes spelt bassi (but it is better to avoid 
double consonants in writing Bantu words), is the Hindustani 
bass * enough ! ' — constantly used in a variety of ways, #.^., 
•that's all ! '— * well I '— * and so '— * so then '—etc. The 
position here is unusual. 

^ Arabic for * until,' but often used for * even,* or (in 
narrative) as a mere connective. 

^* See note 19. Kwa might be taken here as having some- 
thing like an instrumental force, indicating the way by which 
the water disappeared. 

** a-lo-po-, Kiamu form of the relative (alipo). Yua iovjtk 
see note 7. Ndipo is the i6th pronoun combined with the 
copula, to form the kind of demonstrative (see Steere, Hand' 
book, pp. E 16- 1 17), which means * This is he, it, etc. '; in this 
instance * this is that (place) where ' — t.e., * the time when.' 

^ For the various meanings of toa, primarily * put out,' 
* take out,' see Madan's Swahili-English Dictionary, s.v. 

^ Mngwana * a free man * (not a slave) and therefore often 
used to denote an educated or civiflsed person, — or a man of 
good position. Also mungwana, and, on the southern Mrima, 
or among inland tribes mulungwaiM, though it seems doubtful 
whether a derivation from Mulungu could be made out. The 
word is not in Krapf. Mmoya, see note 7. 

^ ngia, sometimes heard as ingia, but in the north at any 
rate, the former seems to have better authority. The con- 


struction illustrates the Bantu use of the passive in cases where 
it would be unexpected, or even impossible in a European 
language : cf. also amefiwa ni mume for ' her husband has 
died,* and amekwenda kwitwa * ke has gone to be called ' — ».r., 

* some one has gone to call him.* 

^ For mtumwa wake. Such coo tractions are mostly con- 
fined to words denoting relationship, e.g., babake, mamake, 
mumeo, nduguzi, etc. 

^ Kikaang§ (from kaanga, * roast,* * fry ') is used for a 
European frying-pan, but in native households denotes a 
shallow earthen pipkin, which serves a similar purpose. 

" When following a pronoun this word means * myself,* 

* yourself,* etc. : it is really a contraction of mwenye wak$ * the 
owner of it * ( ., it is to be supposed, of the identity expressed 
by the pronoun). 

" Hu-tO' negative future prefix of the 2nd pers.sing., instead 
of ha-U'ta-, See Steere, Handbook^ p. 149, where this form is 
only recognised as used with the Infinitive and is derived 
from toa * take out.' Comparison with other Bantu languages 
suggests that it may have had a different origin. 

^ Vizuri is often used in the sense of * rightly,* etc. ; at 
Lamu, the abstract noun (uzuri) preceded by the instrumental 
kwa, is preferred. 

" For a-ka-tnda. The subject, by a not unusual exception, 
follows the predicate. 

" The idiom here is more easily parallelled in French than 
in English ; (la poudre) lui brUla Ic visage. See Steere, Swahili 

Exercises J p. 20 : the possessive, in a similar sentence, is seldom> 
if ever, used in Swahili, 

^ zake agrees with the second noun only. Ndevu 10 is 
really the plural of udevu 11, which means * one hair of the 

" Kiamu form of the ninth pronoun (hii). Tendeka^ 
perhaps because no agent is mentioned ; otherwise one would 
have expected the passive. But perhaps the meaning is 

* Such things arc (only) possible to be done at Shela ! * 

^ Usually the noun- agent formed by prefixing m- to the 
unaltered verb-root is followed (as here) by a noun as object 
— so that it might almost be called a participle. Occasionally, 
however, a noun of this kind is found standing alone, as 
mgema (not tngemi) * palm-tapper). * 

^^ * A girdle made of a narrow cloth ' (Steere). The con- 


struction <he bound his knife on him' is similar to that 
mentioned in note 35. 

^ Mwana^ used for ' mistress,' * lady/ and, with a woman's 
name, as the equivalent for * Mrs.' or *Miss' — e.g., Mwana 
Sotnoye, Mwana Esha, etc. This is sometimes called the 
feminine of Bwana and is practically employed so to a certain 
extent, though hibi is more usual at Mombasa and nana 
(originally * grandmother ' at Lamu). Krapf enters this 
mwana as a different word from mwana 'child' (which, in 
Swahili, seems to be confined to the meaning * son '). It is 
possible that they may he either (i) different words which by 
phonetic change have become identical in form, or (a) the 
same word which has become differentiated in meaning. But 
Burton's suggested derivation from the Arabic umtnand * our 
mother' (see Taylor, African Aphorisms, p. 31), seems very 

** Tinda, Zanzibar chinja * slaughter '—especially in the 
correct Moslem fashion. Probably it was the time required 
for this ceremony that made the hunter unwilling to stop. 

^* TweUa (spelt by Krapf toelea) is to add the fish, chickes, 
or other kitoweo to the rice or porridge. 

*^ Old word for * porridge ' (sima or ugali). 

^* eta, Kiamu for leta, which means * bring * or • send ' 
(a thing) according to circumstances {tuma is used of sending 
a person), kcnenda for a-ka-enenda : enda and entnda are 
synonymous. Ule, of course, is the kungu, 

^'^ Momhaisai kisha, for a-ki-isha; ^ when he had finished,* 
but now practically an adverb. Good Swahili speakers at 
Lamu prefer it to the Arabic khalafu (halafu), 

*• Locative concord: in Nyanja it would be ku nyumba 
kwache ; the ku, implying motion towards, has been replaced 
by the locative -ni in Swahili. 

*^ 'tupu * bare,' * naked ' is often used thus (• porridge and 
nothing more,' — whereas it is always eaten with some < relish ' 
— kitoweo or nttuzi), Cf. the line from a popular song : 

* Wanipa maji matupu kunisonga moyo* 

* You have given me mere water (the barest minimum of 

hospitality), to twist my heart.' 

^ Pronoun agreeing with ini 5, the last subject. {Ns9 10, 
cf. Zulu izi-nso*) 

'^ A common shortening of Bwana in the Siu and 
neighbouring dialects. 


•° Subjunctive, because the action follows and is in a sense 
dependent on what goes before : he did not eat because he 
had been told that the buck had not come. Similarly, in 
next line asimuone * without finding him ' (* so that he did not 
find him '). Ha-ku-ya (Kiamu for ha-ku-ja) : Negative Past 
which can be used either for * did not ' or * has not.' 

" Zc'igea, used at Lamu instead of tafiita * seek.' 

Connected Translation 

I. There was a man of Shela who was named Bwana 
Mgumi, and he engaged a day-labourer to fill a large 
jar, holding about twenty gallons, with water. The 
man poured in water till the jar was full and then said, 

* Master the jar is full and running over.* The master 
answered, * Take this pestle and press it down ' — giving 
him a pestle, with which he pounded the bottom of the 
jar (which was buried in the ground for half its height), 
till it cracked, and the water began to go down. So the 
master said, * Do you see ? — now pour in some more 
water ! ' And he did so, and it was only when the 
water kept running away at the bottom that he knew 
the jar was broken. It was through the labourer that 
this story got about. 

II. A certain gentleman of Shela had put away some 
gunpowder, and (after a time, found that) the damp 
had got into it, so he said to his slave, * Take a fryisg- 
pan and put it on the fire ; I want to dry my powder, 
which has got damp ; but I want to do it myself, as you 
will not know how to do it properly/ So the slave 
took the frying-pan and put it on the fire and said, 

* Master, it is ready.' Then the master went and 
poured the powder into the pan and it (blazed up and) 
scorched his face and his beard. This is the sort of 
thing that happens at Shela. 

III. A hunter caught a bush-buck and tied his knife 
round it with his girdle and said to it : * Go to my wife 
and ask her to kill you and put by the liver and kidneys, 


SO that I can eat them with my porridge in the evening.' 
So he let him go, and the buck disappeared. In the 
evening, when the hunter returned home, his wife gave 
him nothing but porridge for supper, so he said to her, 
* Where are those kidneys and that liver.* She said to 
him, * You did not bring any * ; anS he said, * I sent 
Mr. Buck and tied a knife round him with my sash'* — 
but his wife said, * He has not come.' He would not 
eat his porridge, but went out to look for the bush-buck 
and could not find him. And so, to this day, the Shela 
people get angry with you if you address them as 'Bwa^ 

(b) Kimvita {Mombasa Dialect) 

Story of the Man who did not know when he was 

well off A 

Alikuwako mtu mmoja maskini sana, akaketi 

There was man one poor very, and he sat 

siku hiyo/ akasema, ' Ni-ta-kwenda kwa 

day that, and he said, * I will go to 

Hwenyiezi HuungUy ni-ka-ombe ni-pave' 

Almighty God, that I may pray I may be given 

riziki^ yangu, kwani n-na^ dhiki sana.' 

living my, for I have trouble greatly.' 

A-ka-ondoka a-k-enda zakweS akaflOka 

And he rose up and he went his (ways), and he arrived 

mbali sana, akaona ziwa li-na^ maji mangL 

far very, and he saw a lake it has water much. 

Akaoga, kisha akmda zakwe. 

And he bathed, afterwards he went , his (way). 

* As a rule, in telling this story, the narrator repeats the speech 
in full. In dictation, it was given more concisely. 

f Dictated by Muhammad bin Ma«alim '1 Betawi, at Mombas^i. 


Akenda, akamwona^ simbay ha-oni, 

And he went, and he saw him a lion, he does not see, 

a-na-konda^ na ndaa, akamvambiay 

and he was thin with hunger, and he said to him, 
' Mwana Adamu, wenda wapi ? ' Akamwambia, 

* Child (of) Adam, you go where ? ' And he said-to him, 

' Nenda kwa Hwenyiezi HuongUy^ nenda omba'^ 

* I go to Almighty God, I go pray 

nipawe nami riziki.' 

I may be given I too a living.' 

Akamwambia, ' Ukenda^^ ni-ombea 

And he (the lion) said to him, * When you go pray for me 

na mimi, ni-fonuke mato yangu, 

also me, I may be opened (as to) eyes my, 

ni-pate na chakula ni-le.' Akamvambia, 

I may get also food (that) I may eat.' And he said-to him, 

'Yyema.' Akenda zakwe. Akamvona 

* Good.* And he went his (way). And there saw him 

nyoka, a-ka-mw-uliza, 'Wenda vapi?' 

a snake, and he asked him, * You go where ? * 

Akamwambia 'Nenda kwa Haungu, nenda 

And he said to-him * I go to God, I go (to) 

omba riziki yangu.' Akamwambia, 

pray (for) living my.* And he said-to him, 

'Ukenda, niombea na mimi; joa 

* Where you go, pray-for me also me ; the sun 

li-na zidi/^ sipati chakula; basi, nataka 

has exceeded, I do not get food ; well, I wish 

mvua i-nye tu-pate chakula.' 

rain may fall, (so that) we may get food.' 

Akenda zakwe. A-ka-tokea^*^ mji 

And he went his (way). And he appeared (at) town 

mkubwa, akamwona surutani mwanamke, 

large, and he saw the sultan, a woman, 


akam wambia, ' Wenda wapi ? ' Akamwambia 

and she said to him, * You go where ? * And he said to her 

' Nenda kva Muungu, nenda omba riziki yangu.' 

* I go to God, I go (to) pray (for) living my.* 

Akamwambia ' Ukenda niombea na mimi 

And he said-to him * When you go pray-for me also me, 

mimi surutani, mwananike, raia zangu 

I (am) a sultan, a woman, subjects me 

ha-wa-ni-sikizi, na mji ha-w-ishi^^ vita. Basi, 

do not obey me, and town does not finish war. Well, 

nataka ya-ondoke haya.'^*^ Akenda 

I wish they may go-away, these (matters).* And he went 


his way. 

Akafika, akamwambia Mwenyiezi 

M And he arrived, and he said-to Almighty 

^ Muungu, ' Himi, n-na-ku-ja, na-ona dhiki sana 

God, * As for me, I have come, I see trouble much 

kwa umaskini, nnakuja omba 

through poverty, I have come (to) pray 

u-ni-wasii^^ kwa riziki/ Akamwambia, 

you (to) me assign for (my) living.' And he said to him, 

'Riziki^^ zako sasa nyingi sana, 

' (means of) living thy now many very, 

zamwayika.' Akamwambia, ' Ni-li-po-ku-ja 

they are being wasted.* He said to him, * When I came 

huku, na-li-mw-ona mwanamke, a-me-ni-ambia, 

hither, I saw a woman, she said to me, 

*' na mimi, niombea kwa Mwenyiezimgu, mimi 

" and me (too), pray for me to Almighty God, I 

ni mfalme, raia zangu hawanisikizi, na 

am a queen, subjects my do not obey me, and 

mji wetu hawishi vita."' Akamwambia, 

town our does not end war/' * And be said to him, 



'Mwambie, "wewe ni mwanamke, pata mume 

* Tell her, " you are a woman, get a husband 

a-ku-oe/^ ya-ca-ondoka, 

that he may marry you, they will go-away, 

yote hayo." ' 

all these (things).*" 

n-na-ona nyoka, 

I saw a snake, 


they do not get 


And he said-td him, 
iliyo kitwani, 

Akamwambia : ' Kisha 

And he said to him : * Afterwards 

ameniambia, jua 

he has told me, the sun 

chakula, ataka 

food, he wants 

* Na-tue'^ 

* Let him put down 

ni lingi, 

is much, 




the jewel 

i-ta-shuka mvua 


which is in (his) head, it will come-down rain much 

Sana.' Akamwambia, ' Kisha na-li-ona simba 

very.* And he said-to him, * Then I saw a lion 

ha-oni, akanambia, 

he does not see, and he said-to me. 


Almighty God 


(and) then (that) 


He said to him, 

yakwe mat::2i, 


that I may get 


I may get 

' Hwambie 

"niombea kwa 

" Pray for me to 

mato yangu, 

eyes, my, 

chakula." ' 

food.*' * 

apake mate 

* Tell him he is to smear spittle 

yatafunuka mato, na 

his on his eyes, they will be opened, the eyes, and 


that which he sees 



mbele na-le, ndio 

before (him) let him eat, ' that-is 

Akamwambia, ' Hewallah ! ' 

And he said-to him, * Hewallah ! *^ 

Akamwambia yule surutani 



akenda zakwe. 

and he went his (way). And he said-to her that queen 

kama a-Ii-vyo-ambiwa.^ 

Jike (that) which he had been told. 


The womai) 


akamwambia, 'N-oa^ wewe, utapata mail 

said-to him, * Marry me you, you shall get property 
mangi ; Msha^ u-ta-ku-wa mfalme we we.' 

much ; (and) then you shall be king you.' 

Tale akasema, 'Sitaki mail wala 

That-one and he said, * I do not want property nor 

sitaki ufalme, mali mimi nayo mangi 

I do not want kingdom, property I with it much 

Bana, na-pawa, ni Muungu.'^ 

very, I am being given (it), it-is God.' 

Akenda zakwe. Akamwona nyoka, 

And he went his (way). And he saw him the snake, 

akamwambia Eana^ aliyyoambiwa. .^ 

and he said to him like (that) which he had been told. 

Nyoka akamwambiai ^waa wewe hli 

The snake said to him, * Take yourself this 

johari.' Tule maskini akasema, 'Si-i-taki, 

jev/el.' That poor man he said, * I do not want it, 

mimi, mimi mali yangu ni mangi 

for my part, I property my is much 

Sana, ni-li-o-pawa, sitaki tena.' 

very, which I was given (it), I do not want again.' 

Akenda zakwe. Akamwona simba, 

And he went his (ways). And he saw him the lion, 

akamwambia, ' Hwenyiezimgu akwambia, 

and said to him, * God Almighty says to you, 

" Paka mate yako, mate yako ya-ta-funuka. 

" Smear spittle your, eyes your will be opened. 

Cliakula chako u-taka-cho-ona mbele."' 

Food your (is) that which you will see in front (of you)."' 

Akapaka mato yakwe, yakafunuka. 

And he smeared eyes his, and they were opened. 

Aka-mwona yeye anasimama,'^ 

And he saw him him (where) he stood, 



akapeleka mkono^ akamshika, akasema, 

and he stretched out paw and seized him, and said, 

' Nitapata wapi chakula chengine, mimi? ' Tale 

* I shall get where food other, I ? * That 

mwana Adamu akasema, 'Mimi na-ku-ombea, 

son (of) Adam, he said, * As for me, I pray for you, 

yanafunuka mato yako, sasa wataka 

they have been opened eyes your, now you want 

nila ? ' Akamwambia, ' Sijui^ 

eat me ? ' And he said to him, I do not know (but), 

mimi, nitakula, nitimize maneno 

as for me, I will eat you, that I may fulfil words 

yakc' Akamla. Hadithi inaflka 

your.* And he ate him. The story it has arrived 




1 Hiyo is the demonstrative implying *that previously 
referred to '— here meaning the day to which the story relates. 

* Pawa, Kimvita passive of />a (Lamu^<?wa, Za.nziba.r pewa) 
Omba is used for * pray ' in the sense of making a definite 
request (also used for *beg') -ku-sali means to repeat the 
ritual prayers. 

* From the Arabic raxaqa * provide,* (hence er-Razxaq, one 
of the names of God) ; — it is used for * subsistence,* * daily 
bread,' ' rations,' etc. 

* For nina : the contraction of this pronoun is specially 
common at Mombasa. Cf. Stigand, pp. 29-30. 

* -akwt for -ake^ the Kimvita form of the possessive 3rd 
pers. sing. Stigand unaccountably says (p. 29), *this is not 
often heard.' The expression cnda zako {zake^ ttc.) has njia 
(ndia) (pi.) understood after it, and corresponds exactly to the 
Scottish provincial * go your ways,* 

* li is the pronoun agreeing with xiwa 5 (Nyanja dxiwe 5, 


Ila i'Zhiba 5). Zulu and Ganda have the same word with the 
prefix of Class 7: isi-xiba, tki-diha, Mangi^ Kimvita — more 
southern dialects mengi, 

^ The construction leaves it uncertain whether the lion saw 
the man or vice versa ; the insertion of the objective pronoun 
would favour the former view, as this usually indicates that 
some definite person or thing is meant (performing to a 
certain extent the oflfice of the definite article), while, on the 
other hand, it is obvious that, if the lion was blind he could * 
not see any one. However, ona is often used for * meet * or 

* find,* as well as * see,' and this rendering seems to suit the 
context best. 

^ A -na-konda, not, as in the Zanzibar dialect, a present, but 
a perfect, cf. H-na-xicfi later on. 

' Kwa only used in this sense before nouns denoting 
persons, like the French chez. Really the possessive particle 
of the locative ku- class (17) with a noun understood ; {nyum- 
bani=ku-ttyumba) kwa. The instrumental kwa (as in kukata 
kwa kisu), though the same in origin, is, in usage quite 
distinct. Mwenyeezi, compounded of mwenye * owner * and m, 
{enzi^ Arabic Hzz)^ * power,* ' authority,* is never used unless 
followed by Muungu {Mungu, Mngu or Mgu as below). The 
name Allah is not often used by Swabili Moslems, except when 
sQ^aking Arabic ; it seems to be confined to expressions like 
Hewallah ! — which is now nothing more than a form of assent, 
and Allah Allah! originally an adjuration — * for God's sake,' 
— but generally used to mean * be sure you don't forget,' * be 
quick, whatever you do,' etc. 

^ Nenda omba. The infinitive following a finite verb ' 
(especially after enda, ja and isha) often drops the ku, thus 
constituting a seeming exception to the rule that the verb- 
stem is never found without a prefix, except in the Imperative. 

" Both -ka- and -ki- are frequently contracted before mda. 
Here the sense requires -ki-, 

^^ This looks like the present in -na-i, but that tense is not 
used at Mombasa, where the -mi- tense has a perfect force 
^i.e,j it implies an action which has taken place in the past, 
but whose effects are still continuing. Cf. anakonda (note 8), 
which means * he became thin and is (or was at the time when 
the events occurred) thin.* Cf. also nnakuja, lower down. 
The perfect in -me-t however, is also used at Mombasa. 

" tokea, applied form of toka, * come out,' properly means to 

* come out to or for some one * — i,e,, appear to him (it is there- 
fore used of ghosts, etc.) and always implies a spectator or 


spectators. Here the meaning is * he came in sight of (the 
inhabitants of) a town.' 

" Hazvishi for hau-ishi: u agreeing with the subject mji 3. 
Isha^ is here used actively. 

" Hoya "demonstrative 6 agreeing with mainho understood. 

" More usually wasia (from the Arabic was j)— properly, 

* make a will,' * give testamentary directions,' and thence 

* appoint,' ' assign.' Some word like viiu or mali is understood 
after it. 

*7 riziki is here treated as a plural. Mwaya (also tnwaga 

* spill,' ' empty.' The neuter-passive, mwayika^ is best 
rendered by 'are going to waste,' or * are lying unused.' 

^^ §a * marry' (only used of the man, olcwa is the word 
applied to the woman and oza^ * give in marriage ' is said of 
the parents or guardian), is the same word as the Zulu lobola^ 
and illustrates the degree of attrition stems may undergo in 
Swahili through the loss of medial consonants. 

^® tua * set down,' as a load off the head, also (Madan)* settle 
down,' ' rest,' etc. ; hence the applied form tulia * be calm,' 

* be quiet.' Cf. Zulu tula • be silent,' etula * take off* (as a hat, 
or a pot off the fire), wliich are probably the same word, the c 
having been introduced to differentiate the latter. (Of the 
fairly numerous Zulu verbs in e some have lost an initial 
consonant and are in process of shedding the vowel, as cmhti^ 
or mha ' dig,' in others the c seems to be an accretion (as 
above). — Na tue^ less usual than katuc (Steere, Handbook^ p. 
140). — The jewel in the snake's head seems to be taken for 
granted as if possessed by all snakes, but it may be less 
summarily treated in the original story. 

*° For the construclion of the Objective Relative, see Steere, 
Handbook^ p. 119. A- is the pronoun of the 3rd person agree- 
ing with the subject (simba), -taka- the sign of the future, -clo- 
the relative pronoun, object, agreeing with kitu understood. 
We should, however, have expected the object-pronoun to be 
inserted as well as the relative : a-taka-cho-kt-otta. For nale^ 
see last note. 

" See above, note 9. 

^^ The full form would be vitu alivyoviambiwa * the things 
which he had been told them,' but the pronouns of the 8th 
class are often used without reference to a subject — cf. 
the adverbial use of vizuri, 

^ It is more usual to substitute the Subjunctive for the 
Imperative when there is an object-prononn (e.g., mpe * give 
him '), but we also find nipa ' give me.' 

At>PEN©IX I. 293 


'* Kisha^ in this case, * moreover,* * besides * — not * after- 

^ If a connective particle is expressed after the Passive 
(there is sometimes none) it is oftener ni than na which 
would be the natural word to use, according to European 
ideas. The literal rendering of the ni construction is — eg,, 
in this passage : * I am being given — it is God (who gives).* 

^ Kanay equivalent to kamtit but not so common. 

'^ anasimama^ Perfect in -na- : so, too, yanafunuka and 
inafikUj lower down. 

^ mkono, properly used of human beings, but also of 
quadrupeds when the paw is — as here — used like a hand. 

*^ Meaning, * The story having arrived at this point, it ends 

Connected Translation 

There was once a very poor man, who, on a certain 
day, said to himself, * I will go to (the house of) 
Almighty God and pray to him to give me enough to 
subsist on, for (as it is) I am in great distress. So he 
rose up and went his way, and when he had reached a 
place a long distance off, he saw a lake containing much 
water. He bathed and then went his way. As he 
went, there met him a lion who was blind and very thin 
with hunger and said to him * Son of Adam, where are you 
going ? * So he said, * I am going to the abode of God, 
to pray that I may be given enough to live on.* And 
the lion said, * When you go, pray for me also that I 
may have my eyes opened and get food to eat.* *The 
man replied, * Very well * and went his way. Th^ he 
saw a snake who asked him, * Where are you going ? * 
and he said, * I am going to God to pray for sustenance * ; 
and the snake said, * When you go, pray for me also ; 
there has been such a drought that I cannot find 
anything to eat, so I want the rain to come that we may 
get food.' The man went on till he reached a large 
town, where the Sultan, who was a woman, saw him 

294 ' APPENDIX I. 

and said to him * Where are you going ? * [He 
answered as before.] She said, * When you go, make a 
request for me also. Though I am the Sultan, I am a 
woman, and my subjects do not obey me, so that the 
quarrelling and fighting in my town never cease. My 
prayer is that this state of things may come to an end.' 
So he went on. 

And he arrived and said to the Almighty, * I have 
come, because I am in great trouble through poverty — I 
have come to beg you to assign me sufficient means of 
living.* And He said to him, * You have abundance to 
live on now, but it is being wasted.* The man then 
said, * On the way here I saw a woman who said to me, 
" Pray for me also to the Almighty : I am a queen, but 
my subjects do not obey me and war ne\ er ends in our 
town." * He said * Tell her ; " You are a woman, you 
had better get married, then all these troubles will 
cease.*' * The man then said, * After that, I saw a snake 
who told me that, because of the drought, his people 
cannot get food — he would like it to rain.* The Lord 
answered, * If he lays aside the jew^el which is in his 
head, the rain will fall abundantly.* The man went on, 

* After that I saw a lion who was blind and who asked 
me to pray that he might recover his sight and also be 
provided with food.' The Lord said, * Tell him to 
smear his eyes with his spittle, and they will be opened, 
and then let him eat whatever he sees before him, — that 
is (assigned him for) his subsistence.* So the man said 

* Hewallah ! ' and went his way. When he came to 
the queen, he gave her the message with which he had 
been charged, and she said, * Marry me yourself, you 
will acquire much wealth, and you shall be king.' But 
the man answered, * I do not want your wealth, nor do 
I want the kingdom, I for my part have very much 
wealth of my own, which is being given me by God.' 
So he went on. When he came to the snake, he 
likewise gave him his message, and the snake offered 
him the jewel out of his head, which the man refused, 
saying * I have just had a large property given me, I do 
not want any more.' Then he went on and came to the 


lion, and delivered the message as it was given him. 
The lion did as directed and recovered his sight, and, 
seeing the man standing before him, stretched out his 
paw and seized him, saying, ' Where shall I get any 
other food than this ? * The man said to him, * Why, I 
prayed for you, and your eyes have been opened, and 
now are you going to eat me ? * And the lion said, * I 
don't know about that, but I have to eat you in order 
to carry out your directions.* So he ate him. And the 
story ends here. 

6. Ganda* 
The Story of Ndyakuhi and Ndalakuhi 

Awo^ o-lwa-tuka' omu-saja 

Well then, which arrived (there was a) man 

eri-nya-lye* Ndya-kubit' ne-ba-ta* 

name his Ndya-kubi, and they made 

omu-kago ni Ndalakubi. Awo Ndalakubi 

blood-brotherhood with Ndalakubi. So Ndalakubi 

n-a-gamba Ndyakubi* nti,^ ' 0-ja-nga '^ 

and he said (to) Ndyakubi, saying, * Come ' 

n-0-n-daba ' f awo Ndyakubi n-a-genda 

and me see * ; so Ndyakubi and he went 

n-a-tuka ewa° Ndalakubi. Ndalakubi 

and he arrived at (the house of) Ndalakubi. Ndalakubi 

n-a-gamba mu-kazi-we,^° nti, 'Genda 

and he said (to) wife his, saying, * Go (that) 

o-fumbire^^ omu-genyi emere.'^^ Awo omu-kazi 

you may cook for guest plantains.* So wife 

• From Engtro za Bagmda, p. 38. A slightly different version 
is given in Manutl dc lau^ui Luganda^ p. 237. 


n-agenda a-fumba^^ emere n-e-gya^' 

and she went she cooked plantains and they were done 

n-a-gi-reta/^ omugenyi n-a-lya 

and she them brought (to) guest and he ate 

na-ta-kuta.^^ Nagamba Ndalakubi 

and he was not satisfied. And he said (to) Ndalakubi 

nti, ' Muna-nge^^ sikuse.'^^ Ndalakubi 

saying, * Friend my I am not satisfied.' Ndalakubi 

nagamba omukazi nti 'Gen^a ofombe 

and he said (lo) wife saying * Go that you may cook 

emere, omugenyi ta-kuse, ofumbe 

plantains, guest is qot satisfied, (see) that you cook 

nyingi.' Awo omukazi nagenda afumba 

man 31.' So wife and she went she cooks 

emi-wumbo^^ gy-emere e-tano, na-gyo*' 

bundles of plantains five, and those 

n-a-gi-reta Ndyakubi, n-a lya 

and she brought them (to) Ndyakubi, and he ate 

n-a-gi-mala-wo,^^ era'^ natakuta. 

and when he had finished them still he was not satisfied. 
Nagamba Ndalakubi, nti, 'Munange, 

And he spoke (to) Ndalakubi, saying, * My friend, 

sikuse.' Ndalakubi nagamba 

I am not satisfied.* Ndalakubi and he spoke (to) 

omukazi nti, * Genda ewa munange 

wife saying, * Go to (the house of) my friend 

gundi,^® o-n-sabire-yo** emere, nze" 

so and so, that you may beg for me there plantains, I 

e mpwede-ko.^^ Omukazi nagenda asaba 

they are finished for me. Wif^ and she went she begs 

emere, nagireta, nafumba 

plantains, and she brought them and she cooked 

emiwumbo kikumi,^^ nagireta ; Ndyakubi 

bundles 1 00, and she brought them ; Ndyakubi 

APPENDIX 1. 297 

nalya emere nagimalawo 

and he ate plantains and when he had finished them 

natakuta. Nagamba, ^ Ndalakubi 

he was not satisfied. And he spoke, Ndalakubi 

nti, 'Munange, sikuse/ Ndalakubi 

saying, * My friend, I am not satisfied." Ndalakubi 

^n-a-damu,^ nti 'Emere empwedeko.' 

and he answered, saying 'Plantains are finished for me.' 

Ndyakubi nagamba nti, 'Kale^ 

Ndyakubi ind he spoke saying, * All right, 

ka-n-gende enjala, munywanyi'^ wdo^e, 

let me go (with) hunger, dearest friend my, 

n-fire ku kubo^^ ,^ enjala.' 

that I may die on road (with) hunger.' 

Na-dayo ewu-we. Na 

And he returned there to his (own house.) And 

Ndalakubi ya-laba*" a-genze,^ naye nagenda 

Ndalakubi he saw he has gone, he too and he went 

oku mu-kyalira, « natuka ewa 

to visit him, and he arrived at (the house of) 

Ndyakubi. Ndyakubi nagamba omukazi 

Ndyakubi. Ndyakubi and he spoke (to) wife 

nti, ' Genda ofumbe emere 

saying, * Go that you may cook plantains 

y-omugenyi.' Omukazi nagenda 

of guest.' Wife and she went 

nagifumba, negya 

and she cooked them, and they were done, 

nagireta; Ndalakubi n-a-lya-ko*^' 

and she brought them ; Ndalakubi and he ate of them 

katono. Awo obude^ te-bwa-lwa 

a little. So time of day it did not delay 

ne bu-ziba. Ndalakuki nagamba 

and it is stopped up. Ndalakubi and he spoke 

298 APPENDIX 1. 

Ndyakubi nti, ^ 'Nasulawa?'" 

(to Ndyakubi saying, * I shall pass the night where ? * 

Ndyakubi nagamba nti, ' Na-ku-segulira^^ 

Ndyakubi and he spoke saying, * I will remove for you 

ku-kitanda^ kwange kw-o-no-sula.' 

from bedstead my where you will pass the night/ 

Ndalakubi nagamba nti, ' Si-gya-wo/^^ 

Ndalakubi and he spoke saying, * I do not get-in there.* 

Ndyakubi nawangulawo empagi, 

Ndyakubi and he pulled out there a post, 

Ndalakubi nagenda yebaka/^ Nendyakubi 

Ndalakubi and he went he slept. Ndyakubi too 

neyebaka. Yali yebase, Ndalakubi 

and he slept. He was he is asleep, Ndalakubi 

na-mu ita, nti, 'Munange, 

and he called him, saying, * My friend, 

we-n-suze^^ si-gya-wo ebi-gere, 

where I have put up I do not get in (as to) my feet, 

bi ri, bweru.' Ndyakubi nagamba 

they are outside.* Ndyakubi and he spoke (to) 

mukaziwe nti, 'Genda ewa gundi, 

his wife saying, * Go to (the house of) so and so, 

a-m-pole^^ emuli.'^^ Omukazi nagenda 

that he may lend me reeds.* Wife and she went 

na-zi-reta. Ndyakubi na-kokera'^ 

and she brought them. Ndyakubi and he pushed out 

enyumba ekiro ekyo. Ndalakubi nagenda 

house night that. Ndalakubi and he went 

yebaka, bwe-yebaka^^ ebi-gere bya-gukira 

he sleeps, when he slept feet they projected 

bveru. Naita Ndyakubi nti, 

outside. And he called Ndyakubi saying, 

'Munange, bwe-wa-ja ewange wa-lya 

* My friend, when you came to my (house) you ate 

API>ENDIX 1. 299 

emere nyingi, laba nze kakano, ebigere biri, 

plantains many, see me now, feet are 

bweru, ebi-solo bi-ja ku-n-dya bigere.' 

outside, animals they are going to eat me the feet.* 

Ndyakubi njekgamba nti, 'Si-ri-ko^ 

Ndyakubi and he said saying, * 1 have not 

we-na-gya * muli zimpwedeko, 

where I shall takeout reeds they are finished for me, 

nemiti si-ri-na.' Ndalakubi nagamba 

and poles I have not.' Ndalakubi and he spoke 

nti, 'Bwe-wa-ja ewange ba-ka-fambira 

saying * When you came to my (house) they cooked for you 

emere nyingi, nolya nogana 

plantains many, and you ate and you refused 

okukuta emere, ne-zi-gwa-ko 

to be satisfied (with) plantains, and they were finished 

n-0-ng'amba nti, 'Munywanyi wange, 

and you spoke to me saying, * Dearest friend my, 

kang'ende enjala' nange kale! leka 

let me go (with) hunger * and I — well ! let (be) — . 

ebisolo bindire^^ ebweru, munywanyi 

animals they may eat me outside, dearest friend 

wange/ Ndyakubi nagamba nti, 

my.* Ndyakubi and he spoke saying, 

'Hunange, wefunye,^ leka kulanama,^ 

* My friend, draw up (your legs), cease to stretch out, 

nange bwe-na-ja-nga'^ ewuwo na-lya-nga-ko 

and I whenever I come to your (house) I will eat 

katono, m-onerede.*'^ Ndalakubi nagamba 

a little I have repented.* Ndalakubi and he spoke 
nti, ' To-kola-nga''^ bwotyo, nze 

saying, * Never do like that, I 

bwe-na-kw-etondera'^ nti, " Emere 

when I admitted to you saying, Plantains 



empwedeko/' wa-yomba 

are finished for me," you quarrelled . 

nange no"^ leka nefunye, 

and I — just let me draw up (my legs), 

bvojanga ewange, 

whenever you come to my (house) 

0-gi-pya-nga bulungi/ "^ 

you shall eat them decently.* 


a quarrelling, 


and you 




^ ^te'o is here a mere connective, equivalent to * and so,' or 
the like. It seems to be a distinct word from the locative 

* Tlie subject of olwatuka is olu-naku ii * day ' understood : 
(on) the day which arrived ' being equivalent to * once upon 
a time.' 

^ -lye^ possessive 5 : in Ganda the possessives of the 2nd 
and 3rd persons singular are usually suffixed to the noun. 

* Ndyakubi means * I eat badly,' (the / of lyM> becoming d 
after n) and Ndalakubi (from lala) ' I sleep badly.* Lala does 
not seem to be used in this sense now, having been replaced 
by ebaka, 

^ This is the 'narrative tense' (Pilkington, p. 18) of the 
verb '/a, which properly means * kill,' but is used idiomatically. 
Okn'ta omukago appears to be the technical term for * making 
blood- brotherhood.' See Roscoe, The Baganda, p. 19. The 
3rd person plural is here (as often) used impersonally, like 
the French on, 

^ nti seems to be the only trace left in Luganda of the 
verb ti ' say,' unless the adverb otyo is connected with it, as 
suggested in EUments of Luganda Grammar^ p. 206. 

7 Tlie Imperative with -nga suffixed is called in Elements 
(p. 68) the ' Far Future Imperative,' but it is doubtful wh'ether 
it can be restricted to distant time. With a Negative 
Imperative, -nga has the force of ' never.' 

® 2ud person singular, narrative tense of luba * see,' for 
na-u-n-laba, Na-\-ii contracts into //o, and / becomes d after 
-W-, which is the object-pronoun of the hrst person. 


^ Ewa is the locative particle, corresponding to pa and kwa 
in other Bantu languages and equivalent to the French chez. 
Kwa does not seem to be thus used in Ganda, though we do 
find it as the possessive particle of the rsth class : oku/a kwa 
kabakaMhe death of the king.' Ewa is a double locative: 
wa=pa, while « is a separate prefix meaning * at * or * to * (see 
Elements^ p. 97) and possibly connected with the Zulu 
locative prefix {antCf p. 83). It is often found with suffixed 
possessive — ewa-ngc, twu-wOj etc. 

^° -we suffixed possessive, 3rd person. Gamba is the vero 
found in Swahili as amba (generally used in the applied form* 
ambia ' say to,' * tell'). From it we get eki-gambo 7 * word,' cf. 
Yao magambo 6 ' discussion.' 

" 2nd person singular subjunctive of the applied form of 
fumba * cook.' Contrary to what we find in Zulu, Swahili, 
Nyanja, etc., it is accented fujubire. This diff*erence in 
accentuation and an apparent preference for short vowels 
make the sound of spoken Ganda very puzzling to one 
accustomed, e.g, to Swahili or Nyanja. 

" etnere^ 9, properly • steamed and mashed plantains,* but 
used for *food' in general, this being the staple dish of the 
Baganda. (See Roscoe, pp. 435-6). 

" 3rd person singular, present tense (used for past). 

" gyci * be cooked,' * be done,' etc ; Nyanja psya (pya), 
Herero pya^ etc., originally, had the sense of * burn,' like the 
Zulu tsha. It must be distinguished from two other verbs 
both of which occur further on in this e'xtract : gya * take out * 
and gya * get into ' (a space). 

15 reta=Zu]n (and other languages) Uta, Herero eta^ etc. 
(r and / are to a certain extent interchangeable in Ganda, 
the former being heard before a, and w, and the latter before 
c and i). -gi- is the object-pronoun of cl., g the subject-pronoun 
being e- or y-. It is very rare to find, except in Class i, the 
object-pronoun differing from the subject ; its position seems 
to have preserved the initial consonant, which has been worn 
away at the beginning of a word. 

^^ The k in kuia ' be satisfied ' is the * exploded ' or * long ' 
consonant (see Elements , pp. 14, 15) indicated in C.M.S. 
books by a prefixed apostrophe (*kuta)f and in those of the 
French Fathers by doubling the consonant {natakkuta) : the 
former method seems preferable. The sound is really a 
combination of a consonant with the glottal stop, which is 
very common in Hamitic languages (eg, Galla). These 
* exploded ' consonants are not marked in the text from which 
our extract is taken and it has not been thought necessary 


to distinguish them here. Nataktita is negative narrative 

" mnna means * one of* and is therefore never used without 
a possessive pronoun or a noun following : niuna-ft * one of 
us,' muna-Budu * a man of Budu.' Properly it should not be 
used with a singular pronoun, but it has acquired the sense of 

* friend,* * companion,* etc. 

*<♦ si ktise, Negative Perfect of kuta, 2nd person tu-kuse, 3rd 
ta-kuse, ta is the negative particle corresponding with the 

Swahili ha, 

*^ omU'Wumbo 3 (from wumba * wrap up for cooking in a 
leaf ') is a bundle of plantains, which are always prepared in 
this way. In the Manuel de Langiie Litganda, it is translated 

* marmites^* but this is evidently a mistake — gyemerc for gya 
emere— note gya 4, agreeing with emiwrnnbo. 

^ {^)-^y<^i demonstrative, agreeing with emi-wumbo : the -gi- 
in the next word has the same agreement, and is consequently 
4 not 9. 

'^ Narrative tense, followed by the locative relative -wo 
(here=* when,* like -po in Swahili). mala * finish,' with iti 
derived forms malira^ maliza^ is found in Swahili (though here 
almost ousted by isha), Nyanja, Yao, etc. 

^ era seems to be used eiiher as an adverb or as a conjunc- 
tion. It may also mean • and,' * besides.* 

^ gundiy used like goa in Polcomo and fnlani (Arabic) in 
Swahili, to designate some one whom one cannot or will not 

" 2nd person singular subjunctive of sabira^ applied form 
of saba *ask ' : — o- (before a vowel w-) subject-pronoun, 2nd 
person singular; -«-, object-pronoun, ist person singular ; yo- 
locative suffix, equivalent to * in that place ' (Elements, p. 70) : 
the whole word meaning ' where you may request food for 

'^ nze, separable pronoun, ist person singular — here used 
for emphasis=* as for me.* 

"^^ Perfect (wede) of gwa * come to an end,' agreeing with 
emere 9 and followed by the locative pronoun -ko. The -mp- 
represent5i».the object-pronoun of the first person, this being 
the loiui assumed by n before w. The construction suggests 
a common Irish idiom, ^.^., * He's lost it on me * (Jane 
Barlow, Irish Idylls,) 

27 Note the difference between ekumi and kikumi, Lukumi 
is 1,000 and kakumi 10,000, 


^ da * return ' seems in damn * answer' to be compounded 
with mu in a way not quite easy to explain, but probably 
growing out of the usage by which va-mu {e,g,) means * get out 
from inside.' (Elements y p. 71). 

^ ^a/^, interjection of * exhortation,' here equivalent to 'Oh! 
very well 1 ' or the like, kang'tttde subjunctive, preceded by 
kuy which is generally added to the ist person singular and 
plural {Eltments, p. 69). Note ng'tnde, not ng^nde — n and g 
combining into ng\ 

^ munywanyi a term of endearment, sometimes equivalent 
to * light of my eyes,' ' darling,' etc. 

•* (e) kubo 5 is * a path trodden down,' possibly connected 
with kuba * beat.' 

•* ya-laba^ 3rd person singular (note the difference in the 
pronoun) of the * Far Past ' Tense (Elements^ p. 37). 

^ -genxfj perfect of ginda. 

^ This it the * Partitive ' use of -ko (like French en) — see^ 

Elements^ p. 70. 

^ obude 14, constantly used in indications of time. Obud4 
buziba is, literally * the time of day becomes stopped * (as a 
bottle with a cork : the Manuel de Langue Luganda renders, 
* le moment se bouche ' U-bwa-lwa), Negative [Far Past, agreeing 
with obude. The wliole phrase means ' it was not long before 
it got dark.' 

^ wa, adverb, indicative of ' place generally,* used interro- 
gatively for * where ? ' (Elements, pp. 46, 51). It is the 
locative pronoun pa, a primitive p becoming w in Ganda. 

^7 Segulira should properly be the applied form of a 
reversive verb derived from sega, which, however, does not 
occur in the vocabu]:iries in any meaning that would be 
appropriate. Seguka, intr. is * move one's position.* Na-ku- 
segulira here means, not ' I will make room for you ' on my 
bed, but * I will give up my bed to you.' 

"8 Ku-kitanda 17, treated as one word and therefore followed 
by the possessive kwange, Kwonosula^kuo-no-sula : and. pers. 
sing, of the Near Future, preceded by ^M=on (which). Note 
the distinction between sula ' pass the night ' and ebaka, used 
of actual sleep. 

- "• This is gya * get into a space ' — see Note 14 above. 

*^ ebaka, properly a reflexive verb, e being the reflexive 
pronoun (Zuli zi, Swahili ji, Nyamwezi », etc.). But many 
such verbs have acquired distinct meanings of their own. 
(Elements, p. 117.) As it begins with a vowel, the Past is 
y -ebaka, ior ya-ebaka. 


*^ suze, perfect of sula ; we- adverb corresponding to the 
ocative wa i6 {Elepttents^ p. 96), as in wano we-n-tambula^ 
here where I walk.' 

** For a-n-woU^ from wola ' lend.* The nasal n preserves 
the p sound elsewhere lost in Ganda and is itself modified by 
the influence of the p into w. 

*^ emuli 10 plural of olu-muli 11. Reeds are used in 
thatching a house, the thatch reaching down to the ground. 

** Ndyakubi, having previously pulled out one of the 
supports in order to give his friend more room, now makes 
an extension to the thatch with the borrowed reeds. Huts 
being round, the foot of the bedstead (placed so that, in 
a square room it would be parallel with the wall), would 
necessarily come in contact with the thatch. 

^^ hwc^ relative =* when ' agrees with obude 14 understood. 

*° na understood after W, as often in the negative. Gya 
* take out,' as from a store. 

*7 For bi'ii-lirej applied form of lya, 

^^ efuiiya, reflexive of fitnya * clench ' (the fist), *foId' etc. — 
used here of drawing up the knees. \Vefunye=0'efunye, 2nd 
person singular of the Subjunctive. 

*^ lanama, by its form and sense is evidently a stative, but 
no verb lana appears to be in use. 

*o The ^n^x-nga may denote either present, past or future 
action, so long as it is repeated or habitual. {Elements^ P«9i') 
Here it is equivalent to * whenever I come.' ^ 

^^ For n-honercde, perfect of bonera, * repent ' ; b, after changing 
n to w, disappears. 

^^ Negative Imperative : -nga suffixed to this mood implies 
a general prohibition (Elements^ p. 35) ; -otyo is an adverb 
meaning ' just so ' and bw (tf)V how,' depends on some implied 
14th class noun meaning * state ' etc. (Elements^ pp. 94-106.) 

^^ etonda ' confess a fault and be sorry for it ' (Blackledge) ; 
etond-era ' confess to (any one) ' here used of the regretful 
admission that his provisions are exhausted. 

*^^ That is ' merely quarrel,' * do nothing but quarrel *; — ^for 
this peculiar use of the 14th prefix, see Elements, p. 107. 

^^ no is an ' intensive interjection '; leka, * let, '* allow,' often 
used before the subjunctive^ like our * let ' though its primary 
meaning seems to be ' leave' ('let, alone.') Some languages 
have it with the meaning * stop ' (intr.) 

^ Abstract noun, (from -lungi ' good ') used as an adverb 
(Pilkington, p. 69.) 


Connected Translation 

Oace upon a time there was a man whose name was 
Ndyakubi, and he made brotherhood with Ndalakubi. 
And Ndalakubi said to him, * Come and see me (some 
day.)' So Ndyakubi went, and arrived at Ndalakubi's 
house, and the latter said to his wife, * Go and cook 
food for the guest.' So the wife went and cooked food, 
and, when it was done, she brought it, and the guest 
ate, but he was not satisfied, and he said to Ndalakubi, 

* My friend, I have not had enough.' Ndalakubi said 
to his wife * Go (again) and cook a great deal of food, 
for our guest is still hungry.' She went and cooked 
five bundles of food and brought them also to Ndyakubi, 
and he ate it, and when he had finished he still 
had not had enough and said to Ndalakubi, * My 
friend, I am not satisfied.' Ndalakubi said to his wife, 

* Go to my friend so and so and ask him for some 
plaintains, for mine are all finished.* The wife went 
and asked for plantains and brought them and cooked 
a hundred bundles. Ndyakubi ate the food and when 
he had finished it, he was still unsatisfied and said 
. . . [as before.] Ndalakubi answered, * I have 
no food left,' so * Ndyakubi said, * Never mind, I 
will go away hungry, my dear friend, and die by the 
roadside (if I must).' So he returned home. Ndalakubi 
saw that he had gone, and (some tirrfe afterwards), he, 
too went to pay a visit to him, and when he arrived at 
Ndyakubi's house, the latter said to his wife * Go and 
cook food for the guest.' His wife went and cooked it 
and brought it when it was done, and Ndalakubi ate a 
little of it. Soon after this it grew dark. Ndalakubi 
said to Ndyakubi, * Where am I to sleep ? ' Ndyakubi 
answered, * I will give you my bedstead so that 
you can sleep.* Ndalakubi said * There will not 
be room for me,' so Ndyakubi pulled out one of the 
posts of the house, and Ndalakubi went and lay down to 
^leep. Ndyakubi also slept. When he was asleep, 



Ndalakubi called him and said, * My friend, in the place 

you have given me to sleep in, there is no room for my 

feet, they are outside.* Ndyakubi said to his wife, * Go 

to so and so and borrow some reeds,* and the woman went 

and brought them, and Ndyakubi made an extension to 

the house that night. Ndalakubi went and slept, but 

when he was asleep (he thrust) his feet (through the 

thatch and awoke and found that they) were projecting 

outside. So he called out to Ndyakubi, * My friend, 

when you came to my house you ate large quantities of 

plantains — now, see how my feet are outside, and the 

wild animals will come and eat them.* Ndyakubi said, 

* There is no place where I can get any more reeds 

they are all done and I have no poles.* Ndalakubi 

said, * When you came to my house, they cooked for 

you an enormous amount of food, and you ate, and yet 

you kept on saying you had not had enough, and when 

the food was all finished, you said to me, * My beloved 

friend ! let me go away hungry ! ** — and so I say, 

** Never mind, dearest friend — let the wild beasts eat me 

outside your house ! ** * So Ndyakubi said, * Oh ! my 

friend, just draw up your legs and don*t stretch them 

out ; and I, too, next time I come to your house, I will 

only eat a little ; I am truly sorry for my behaviour.' 

Ndalakubi answered, * Never act again as you did when 

I told you, very much to my regret, that there was no 

more food in the house, and you did nothing but quarrel 

with me. Well, let me just draw up my knees (till the 

morning), and when you come to my house again, 

remember to eat like a decent human being.* 

A free version of this lale is to be found in Roscoe, 
The Baganda, p. 482. The point of it lies in the 
mutual obligations of blood-brothers, on which Ndyakubi 
presumes beyond all permission. 


This Bibliography makes no attempt at completeness, 
beings intended merely as a guide to the books available 
for the study of the more important Bantu Languages. 
Continental works not easily accessible have only, as a 
rule, been indicated where no English ones appeared' to 

Languages marked '" are those into which the whole 
Bible has been translated ; those marked t possess 
complete versions of the New Testament. These 
versions are of unequal linguistic value, but as a 
rule are welcome aids to the student. (Most of them, 
though not ail, are published by the British and 
Foreign Bible Society.) Many others, besides those 
marked, have translations of separate parts of the 
Scriptures, and school reading -books, etc.^ which will 
often be found useful. 

Books marked * are to be found in the library of the 
African Society (open to members) at 64, Victoria 
Street, S.W. 

1. General 

*Anthropos. Revue Internationale d'Ethnologie et de 
Linguistique, Salzburg (Zaunrith). 
From 1906 onwards. Separate ♦^items under Congo 
(Kiyombe, Kanyoka), Fang, Fipa. 

W. H.J. Bleek. Comparative Grammar of the South 
African Languages. Part L (Phonology), 1862* 


Part II. The Concord. Section I. The Noun. 
1869. (No more published.) London (Triibner 
and Co.) 

C. G. Biittner. Zeitschrift fiir Afrikanische Spracben. 

Berlin (A. Ascher and Co.), 1887-90. 

Contains many valuable contributions, some of which 

are entered as separate items in the Bibliography. The 

periodical was discontinued on Dr. Buttner*s death in 


*R. N. Cust. A Sketch of the Modern Languages of 
Africa, 2 vols. London (Triibner and Co.), 1883. 

Journal of the African Society. (Quarterly.) London 
(Macmillan and Co.) From 1902 onwards. Contains 
some valuable linguistic articles. 

J. T. Last. Polyglotta Africana Orientalis. London 
(S.P.C.K.), 1885. 
Contains vocabularies of over fifty East African 
Languages (including a few non-Bantu). They are not 
very full, but form useful starting points for languages 
not already studied. 

'''C. Meinhof. Die modeme Sprachforschung in Africa. 
1910, Berlin : Berlin Evangelical Missionary Society 
(Georgenkirchstrasse) . 

* An Introduction to the Study of 

African Languages. (Translated by A. Werner.) 
London and Toronto (Dent), 1915. 
Being the English edition of the preceding. 

* Grundriss einer Lautlehre der Bantu- 

sprachen (Second edition). Berlin (Dietrich 
Reimer) (Ernst Vohsen), 1910. 

^^ Grundziige -^iner vergleichenden 

Grammatik der Bantusprachen. Same publisher. 
Berlin, 1906. 

Das Dahlsche Gesetz. Zeitschrift der 

deutschen morgenldndischcn Gesellschaft Bd, 
LVIL, p. 302. 


An exposition of the important law of Dissimilation 
referred to on p. 229. 

C. Meinhof. Linguistische Studien in Ostafrika. 
Berlin, 1904-8. Mitteilungen des Sem. fur orient. 
Sprachen. Bd. VII-XI. 

Phonetic Studies of Swahili, Shambala, Nyamwazi, 
Sukuma, Digo, * Nika,* Pokomo, Bondei, Zigula, Mbugu, 
Dzalaino, Makua, Yao. 

* Mitteilungen des Seminars fiir orientalische Sprachen 
an der koniglichen Friedrich-Wilhelms-Universitat 
zu Berlin, etc. Berlin (W. Spemann, afterwards 
G. Reimer), 1898, etc. 

These * Transactions' appear annually in three sections, 
of which the third is devoted to Africa, under the title 
of Afnkantsche Studien. Some of the more important 
items are entered separately, under the several languages. 
Referred to as Mitt. B. Sem. Or. The series of hand- 
books {Lehrbiicher des Seminars fiir orientalische 
Sprachen) issued by the same institution contains a 
number of valuable works, entered under tlje separate 

Another series of which several volumes will be found 
entered under various langi;ages is the Archiv fiir das 
Studium deutscher Kolonialsprachen (same publisher), 

'^'B. Struck. Collections towards a BiWiographiy of the 
Bantu Languages of British E. Africa. Journal of 
the African Society, London, 1907. 

J. Torrend, S. J. A Comparative Grammar of the 
South African Bantu Languages, comprising those 
of Zanzibar, Mozambique, the ^Zambezi, etc., etc. 
London (Kegan Paul, Trench," Triibner and Co., 
Ltd.), 1891. 

*Zeitschrift fiir afrikanische und oceanische Sprachen. 

Berlin (Dietrich Reimer), 1895-1903. 

Edited by A. Seidel; 5 vols, square royal 8vo., appeared 

between January, 1895 and January, 1900. Publication 

was then suspended, but resumed (in a smaller /orma^) in 

310 APPENDIX 11. 

1902, and ceased with the first issue for 1903. Some 
important contributions are entered under special 
languages, «.g., Sumbwa, Tabwa. 4 vols, in African 
Society's Library. 

Zeitschrift fiir Kolonialsprachen. (Quarterly.) Berlin 
(D. Reimer) and Hamburg (Boysen). From 1910 

II. Special Languages 

Aduma (Duma). Spoken along the Ogowe River in 
the northern part of French Congo. 


R. P. Dahin. Vocabulaire Adouma-Fran9ais. Part I., 
French- Aduma, pp. 72. Part II., Aduma-French, 
pp. >2. Kempten (Bavaria), (Jos. Kosel), 1895. 

Angola. See Mbundu. 

Bangala. See under Congo Languages. 

Bangi. See under Congo Languages. 

*Bemha, Between the Lualaba and Lake Nyasa. 

*W. G. Robertson. An Introductory Handbook to the 
Language of the Bemba People. London (L.M.S.), 

* Father SchoefFer. Grammar as spoken in North-east 
Rhodesia. Edited by J. H. West Sheane. Arranged 
with Preface by (the late) A. C. Madan. Oxford 
(Clarendon Press), 1907. 

Benga, (Corisco Bay, West Africa.) 

*J. L. Mackey. Grammar of the Benga Bantu 
Language, revised by R. H. Nassau. New York 
(American Tract Society), 1892. 
The original edition of Mackey's Grammar was 

published at New York (Mission House, 23, Centre 

Street), in 1855. 


C. Meinhof. Das Zeitwort in der Benga-Sprache. 
Berlin, 1890. Zeitschrift fiir Afr. Sprachen, Vol. 
III., pp. 265-284. Benga und Duala, ib. 11., pp. 


Bondei, Spoken inland from Tanga in East Africa. 

G. Dale. Bondei Exercises. Holy Cross, Magila, 1892. 

*H. W. Woodward. Collections for a Handbook of 
the Bondei Language. London (S.P.C.K.), 1882. 

Stories in the Bondei Language 

with some Enigmas and Proverbs. Written by 
Native Students and edited by the Rev. H. W. 
Woodward. (S.P.C.K.) 

Bube, (Fernando Po.) 


John Clarke. Introduction to the Fernandian Tongue. 
Berwick-on-Tweed (Daniel Cameron), 1848. 

R. P. Joaquin Juanola. Primer Paso a la Lengua 
Bub6, pp. 190. This seems to be the most 
complete grammar hitherto published. Madrid 
(A. Perez Dubrull). 

*Sir H. H. Johnston. George Grenfell and the Congo, 
Vol. 11., Appendix 1., p. 882. London (Hutchin- 
son and Co.), 1908. 
This work contains specimen vocabularies of a great 
many other West African Languages, and a discussion 
of the various Bantu migrations. The greatest amount 
of space is devoted to a comparison of numerals. 

Bunda. See Mbundu. 

Chaga. (£aga, Dsagga, Djaga, etc.) The Wachaga 

live on Kilimanjaro. 
*J. Raum. Versuch einer Grammatik der Dschagga- 

Sprache (Moschi-Dialekt). Archiv. fiir d. Stud. 

deutscher Kolonialsprachen, Vol. XI. Berlin 

(Georg Reimer), 1909. 

H. A. Fokken. Das Kisiha. Mitteil. des Sem. fur 
orient. Sprachen. Jahrg. Vlll., Abt. 3. Berlin, 
pp. 44-93, 1905. 
Siha is a dialect of Chaga. 


Chasu (also called Pare). 

*E. Kotz. Grammatik des Chasu in Deutsch, Ostafrika* 
Berlin (G. Reimer), 1909. Archiv fiir das Studium 
deutscher Kolonialsprachen, Vol. X. 
Spoken in the mountains south of Kilimanjaro. 

Chinamwanga. See Namwanga. 

Chinyanja, See Nyanja. 

Chiswiua and Chizwina, See Karanga. 

^Chwana (Sechwana, Secwana). 

It is practically identical with Sutu (Sotho, Sesuto), 
and works relating to both are entered under this 

James Archbell. A Grammar of the Bechuana 
Language. Graham's Town (Meurant and 
Godlonton), 1837. 

J. Brown. L.M.S. Secwana Dictionary. Frome 
(Butler and Tanner), 1895. 

E. Casalis. Etudes sur la Langue Sechuana. Paris 
(Imprimerie Royale), 1841. 
This is really Sutu. The book is interesting as being 
one of the earliest on the subject, and the Introduction 
gives a valuable account of the establishment of the 
French Mission in Basutoland and its relations with 

*W. Crisp. Notes towards a Secwana Grammar, 1900, 
reprinted 1905. (S.P.C.K.) 
A useful book, though not very well arranged. The 
dialect is that of the Barolong. 

K. Endemann. Versuch einer Grammatik des Sotho. 
Berlin (Wilhelm Hertz), 1876. • 

* Worterbuch der Sotho-Sprache, Vol. 

VII. of Abhandlungen des Hamburgischen Koloni- 
alinstituts. Hamburg (L. Friedrichsen and Co.), 
These are really Chwana rather than Sutu, which is 

noticed as a dialect under the name of * Siid-Sotho.* 


£. Jacottet. Practical Method to learn Sesuto. Morija 
(Sesuto Book Depot), 1906. 

Elementary Sketch of Sesuto 

Grammar, 1893. Published with Mabille's 
Vocabulary, which see. 

E. Jacottet. Treasury of Basuto Lore, Vol. I. (Sesuto 

Book Depot), Morija, Basutoland, 1908. London 
(Kegan Paul). 

A valuable collection of Native Tales. Subsequent 
volumes were intended to contain historical traditions, 
songs, accounts of customs, etc.,^ but no more have yet 
been issued^ 

D. Jones and S. T. Plaatje*' Sechuana fleadcr. 
University of London Press (H odder and 
Stoughton), 1916. 

F. H. Kruger. Steps to Learn the Sesuto Language 

(Fourth edition). Morija (Sesuto Book Depot), 

A. Mabille. Sesuto- English and English-Sesuto 
Vocabulary. (Preceded by Jacottet's Grammar ^ 
which see.) (P. E. Mission Press), Morija, 1893. 

A. Mabille and H. Dieterlen. Sesuto- English Dictionary. 
Revised and considerably enlarged. (Sesuto Book 
Depot), Morija. 

*S. T. Plaatje. Sechuana Proverbs with Literal 
Translation. London (Kegtn Paul), 1916. 

Puisano ea se-Sotho le se-£nglish. Phrase-Book. 
Sesuto- English. Morija (Sesuto Book Depot), 1908. 

A. J. Wookey, L.M.S. Secwana Grammar, with 
Exercises. Frome (Butler and Tanner), 1905. 

Congo (languages of). The languages included under 
this heading are : 

\Bangiy ^[Bobangi, Kibangi, Kiyanzi). On both 
banks of the Congo, from the confluence of the 
S^nkuru to that of the Lulongo. 

314 APPENDIX 11. • 

Kanyoka^ between Lulua and Upper Sankuru. 

Kele^ below Stanley Falls/ 

"^KongOf (Congo, Fiote.) 

^LolOf (Mongo, Lunkundu) — on the Equator, 

within the great northern bend of the Congo. 

Lulua, on one of the Kasai tributaries. 

Ngala, (Bangala, Lingala). Middle Congo, 
between the "confluences of the Mubangi and 
the Mongala. 

Ng^ombe, west of the Ba-ngala. 

Poto, at and near Bopoto (Upoto), at the top of 
the Congo bend. 

SokOf near the mouth of the Aruhwimi. 

Teke, north of Stanley Pool (also called Ifumu). 

Yombe, (Kiombe) in the Mayombe country, North 

of the Lower Congo, and inland from the Ba- 


An excellent bibliography of all publications dealing 

with the Congo languages up to 1906 (the work of 

Professor Starr), was issued by the University of 

Chicago' in 1908. 

J. Barfield. Concords of the Congo Language, as 
spoken at Palaballa. (East London Mission 
Institute), Harley House, Bow, 1884. 

W. Holman Bentley. Dictionary and Grammar of the 
Kongo Language. • London (Triibner and Co.), 

Appendix to the Dictionary, etc. 

(Same publishers), 1895. v. 

De Boeck. Grammaire et Vocabulaire du Lingala ou 
Langue du Haut Congo, 1904. 

^ Not to be confused with Di-kele, the language of a different 
tribe of Ba-kele, living near the Gabun estuary. 

' Department of Anthropology, Bulletin V. 

APPENDIX n. 315 

Fra Giacinto Brusciotto di Vetralla. Regulae quaedam 
pro difficillimi CongeDsium idiomatis faciliori captu 
ad grammaticae nor mam redactae. Romae, 1659. 

* Brusciotto di Vetralla. Grammar of the Congo 
Language, as spoken 200 years ago, translated from 
the Latin, and edited, with a preface, by H. 
G rattan Guinness. London (Hodder and 
Stoughton), 1882. 

*R. P. J. Calioch. Vocabulaire Francais-Ifumu 
(Bat6k6), precede d*el6ments de Grammaire, 1911. 

R. P. Cambier. Essai sur la langue Congolaise* 
Brussels (Imprimerie Polleunis and Ceuterick)» 
1891 (Boko dialect of Ngala). 

*H. Craven and J. Barfield. English-Congo and Congo- 
English Dictionary. London (Harley House)» 
Bow, 1883. 

A. Courboin. ^ * Bangala,' Langue Commerciale du Haut- 
Congo, Elements, Manuel de Conversation, Lexique. 
Paris (A. Challand), 1908. 


R. P. A. Declercq de la Congregation du C% I. de Marie, 
Missionnaire au Congo beige. E16ments de la 
langue Kanioka (Kanyoka.) Vanves prfes. Paris 
(Imprimerie Francisc^me Missionnaire), 1900. 

Vocabulaire Fran9ais - Kanioka. 

(Same publishers), 1901. 

Vocabulaire" Kanioka - Fran9ais, 

(Same publishers), 1901. 

Grammaire du Kiyombe. Anthropot^ 

Vol. II., pp. 449-466, 761-794. 1907. 

R. P. A. Declercq. Grammaire de la Langue des Bena 
Lulua. Brussels (Polleunis and Ceuterick), 1897. 

L6gendes des Bena Kanioka (Text, 

with interlined French translation). Anthropof, 
Vol. IV., pp. 71-86, 449-456, 1909. 

*L. M. Hailes. Kilolo- English Vocabulary. (East 


London Institute for Home and Foreign Missions), 
Harley House, Bow, 1891., 

H. H. Johnston. The River Congo. (Sampson Low), 
1884, Second ed., 1895. 
Contains vocabularies of Kongo, Teke, Buma and 
Bangi (Yanzi). 

J. and F. T. McKittrick. Guide to the Lunkundu 
Language. (A dialect of Lolo.) (East London 
Institute for Home and Foreign Missions), 1897. 

*A. T. Ruskin. Proverbs and Similes of the Bamongo 
(Mongo is a dialect of Lolo.) (East London 
Institute for Home and Foreign Missions), 1897. 

^ Outlines of the Grammar of the 

Lomongo Language. 

A. Sims. Vocabulary English- Kibangi (Bangi). 
London (East London Institute) : Boston (American 
Baptist Mission Union), 1886. 

A. Sims. Vocabulary English- Kiteke and Kiteke- 
English (Teke), 1«86. 

*W. H. Stapleton. Comparative Handbook of Congo 
Languages, being a Comparative Grammar of the 
eight principal languages, with appendices on six 
other Dialects (Baptist Mission Press), Yakusu, 
Stanley Falls, 1903. 
The eight languages included in this book are : Kongo, 

Bangi, Lolo, Ngala, Poto, Ng'ombe, Soko, Kele. 

The six noticed in the Appendix are: Teke, Sakani 

(a dialect of Lolo), Lomongo (Mongo, also a dialect of 

Lolo), Boko (a dialect of Ngala), Lulua, and Mpombo, 

which is not Bantu. 

*W. H. Stapleton. Suggestions for a Graifimar of 
Bangala (the Lingua Franca of the Upper Congo), 
with 2,000 words and many useful phrases. Yakusu 
(Baptist Missionary Society), 1903. 

R. P. Ussel. Petite Grammaire de la Langue Fiote, 
Dialecte du Loango, pp. 85. Loango (Mission 

Press), 1888. 


(This is spoken by the Ba-vili, whose countr^ is 
somewhat to the north of the Congo estuary. The 
author is a missionary of the Congregation du St. Esprit.) 

R. P. Alexandre Visseq. Dictionnaire Fiot (French- 
Kongo), 1889. 

Dictionnaire Fiot (dialecte Sorongo), 


Dictionnaire Fiot (dialecte du Kakongo), 


Grammaire (Sorongo dialect spoken at 

St. Antonio). Paris (Mission of the Congregation 
of the Holy Ghost), 30 Rue Lhomond, 1889. 

J. Whitehead. Grammar and Dictionary of the Bobangi 
Language. London (Kegan Paul, Trench, Trubner 
and Co.), 1899. 

Th. Christaller. Handbuch der Duala-Sprache. 
Grammar and exercises ; story with^literal interlined 
translation ; dialogues ; vocabulary. Basle, ^892. 

C. Meinhof. Die Sprache der Duala in Kamerun, "Viol, 
III. of Deutsche Kolonialsprachen, 1912. 

W. Lederbogen. Duala-Marchen. Mitt. B. Sem.Or. IV, 
y, VI, Abt. 3, 1901-3. 

A large collection of . tales, with German translation 
in parallel columns. 

A. Saker. Grammatical Elements of the Dualla 
Language, with vocabulary. Cameroons (Mission 
Press), 1853. 

A. Seidel. Leitfaden zur Erlernung der Dualla-Sprache 
(with readings and vocabulary). Berlin (Carl 
Heymann), 1892. 

Die Duala-Sprache in Kamerun. System- 

atisches Worterverzeichnis und Einfiihrung in die 
Grammatik. Julius Groos' Verlag. Heidelberg, 
Paris, London, Rome, Petersburg, 1904, 


Duma. See Aduma. 

Dzalamo (Zaramo, Zalamo). East Coast, South of 

A. Worms. Grundzuge der Grammatik des Ki-Zaramo 
in Deutsch-Ost-Afrika. Zeitschr. fiir afr. u. 
ocean. Sprachen III, p. 289, 1897. 

C. Meinhof. Linguistische Studien in Ostafrika, No. 
XII., Mitt. B. Sem. Or. X., Abt. 3, pp. 90-110, 1907. 

Ediya, see Bube. 

Fan (Fang, Fanwe, Pahouin, Pamwe, etc.). West 
Equatorial Africa, North of the Ogowe. 

*"Rev. H. M. Adams. Fanwe Primer and Vocabulary. 
Compiled by the Rev. R. H. Nassau, M.D., 
Gaboon and Corisco Mission [from the MSS. of 
the Rev. H. M. Adams.] New York (printed by 
E. G. Jenkins), 1881. 

V. Largeau. Encyclopedie Pahouine, 1901. 

Includes Grammar and French- Fan Dictionary, 
containing many valuable anthropological notes and 
also texts with translation. 

R. P. L. Lejeune. Dictionnaire fran9ais-fang. Paris 
(Favre and Teillard), 1892. With a Grammatical 

*A. Osorio Zabala. Vocabulary of the Fan Language 
(Fan-Spanish.) London (S.P.C.K.), 1887. 
A number of stories, with French translation were 
published by P. Trilles in Anthropos. Vol. IV., pp. 
945-971, Vol. v., pp. 163-180. 

Fernandian {See Bube). 

Fiote (Kongo. See under Congo). 

Fipa (East side of S. part of L. Tanganyika). 

B. Struck. Die Fipa-Sprache (Deutsch-Ostafrika). 
Anthropos, Vol. VI., 1911, pp. 951-993. Gram- 
matical Sketch. 

"^^ Vocabulary of the Fipa Language. Journal 

of the African Society, October, 1908 (Vol. VIII.). 


*Ganda (Lugarida). 

*G. R. Blackledge. Luganda- English and English- 
Luganda Vocabulary (S.P.C.K.), 1904. 

*H. Wrig^ht Duta. Engero za Baganda (Proverbs in 
the Luganda Language.) (S.P.C.K.), 1902. 

* Elements of Luganda Grammar (Exercises and 
Vocabulary.) By a Missionary of the Church 
Missionary Society in Uganda. (S.P.C.K.), 1902. 

*C. W. Hattersley and H. W. Duta (eds.). Luganda 
Phrases and Idioms. (S.P.C.K.), 1904. 

*Sir H. H. Johnston. The Uganda Protectorate, 2 vols. 
London (Hutchinson), 1904. 
Vol. IL contains vocabularies of a number of languages 
besides Ganda. 

Apolo Kagwa. Engero zabaGanda (Folk-stories). 
Mengo (C.M.S. Press), 1901. 

*Ekitabo kyo Bakabaka beBuganda (Book of the 
Kings of Uganda). London (Headley Brothers), 
printed, n.d. [1900 ?] 

*G. L. Pilkington. Handbook of Luganda. London 
(S.P.C.K.), 1892 (last edition, 1911). 

White Fathers. Manuel de Langue Luganda, par L.L. 
et C. D. des P^res Blancs (Grammar and Tales). 
Einsiedeln, Switzerland (Benziger and Co.), 1894. 


W. E. Taylor. Grammar of the Giryama Lang^uage 
(out of print). 

Giryama Vocabulary and Collections 

(Grammatical notes, and two tales, with translation). 
London (S.P.C.K.), 1891. 

Gisu (Masaba). Spoken on and near Mount Elgon. 

*Rev. J. B. Purvis. A Manual of Lumasaba Grammar 
(S.P.C.K.), 1897. 

\Gogo, Ugogo (the country of the Wagogo) is about 
half-way between Zanzibar and Tabora and is 
traversed by the Dar-e3-Salaam railway. 


G. J. Clark (C.M.S.) Vocabulary of the Chigogo 
Language. London (Gilbert and Rivington), 1877, 
pp. 58. 

Zimbazi ze Zifumbo, Nhandaguzi ne Zisimo ze Cigogo 

(Gogo Reading Book — Native Proverbs, Riddles 

and Fables). London (S.P.C.K.), 190L 

Collected and written out by Andereya and Nhonya. 

C.M.S. native teachers at Mpwapwa. Preface in 

English, signed J. E. B [everley] . 

Gwamha, A dialect of Thonga, spoken in N. E. 

P. Berthoud. Grammatical Note on the Gwamha 
Language [1885] . Journal of the Royal Asiatic 
Society, Vol. XVI., Part L 

P. Berthoud. Le9ons de Si-Gwamba. (Imp. J. 
Chappins), Lausanne. 46 pp., lithographed, 1883. 

Hehe. About 300 miles north of Lake Nyasa and to 
the south of the Gogo country. 

C. Velten. Die Sprache der Wahehe. Mitt. B. Sem. 
Or. Vol. II. Vol. III. contains a Hehe-German 
and German- Hehe Vocabulary, by P. Cassian 
Spiss, O.S.B. 


P. Brincker. Worterbuch und kurzgefasste Grammatik 

der Otji-Herero Sprache. Leipzig (T. O. Weigel), 


The Appendix contains some tales, with literal' and 

free translation into German. Some additional tales, 

collected by Biittner, are published in Ztschr. fur afr. 


P. H. Brincker. Deutscher Wortfiihrer fiir die Bantu- 
Dialekte, Otji-Herero, Oshindonga, und Oshi- 
Kuanjama in S. W. Afrika. Elberfeld (R. L. 
Friderichs & Co.), 1897. 
A very full German- Herero, etc., dictionary, in fouT 



C. Hugo Hahn. Grundzuge einer Grammatik des 
Herero, pp. X+^97. Berlin (W. Hertz) ; London 
(Williams and Norgate), 1857. 

F. W. Kolbe (L.M.S.) English- Herero Dictionary, 

with an Introduction to the Study of Herero and 
Bantu in general. Cape Town (Juta), pp. LV. + 
569, 1883. 

*C. Meinhof. Die Sprache der Herero in Deutsch 
Siidwest-Afrika (Deutsche Kolonialsprachen, Bd. 
I.). Berlin (Dietrich Reimer), 1909. 

*A. Seidel. Praktische Grammatik der Haupt-sprachen 
Deutsch Siidwestafrikas (Nama, Otji- Herero, 
Oshindonga), Vienna, Leipzig (Hartleben), 1892. 

G. Viehe. Grammatik des Otjiherero (with Vocabulary). 

Vol. XVI. of Lehrbiicher des Seminars fiir 

orientalische Sprachen. 

Stuttgart, Berlin (W. Spemann), 1897. 

Ifumu (Teke). See under Congo. 
\Ila (Seshukulumbwe). 

*E. W. Smith. Handbook of the Ila Language. 
Oxford (University Press), 1907. 

Isuhu, Bimbia Peninsula, Cameroons, north of the 

C. Meinhof. Das Verbum in der Isubu-Sprache. 
Zeitschrift fiir Afr. Sprachen. Vol. III., pp. 206- 
234, Berlin, 1889-90. 

Joseph Merrick. A Dictionary of the Isubu Tongue. 
(No publisher's name given in the British Museum 
copy), 1854. Part I. Isubu- English, only completed 
as far as I. 

A Grammar of the Isubu Tongue. Unfinished. 

This is out of print and no doubt rare. The British 
Museum copy (Press mark 12907 bb. 22) is bound up 
in a volume of * Philological Tracts.' 
Kafir. See Xosa. 


322 APPENDIX n. 

Kaguru (Kimegi). One of the dialects of Usagara, 
lying east of Ugogo. 

J. T. Last. Grammar of the Kaguru Language. 
London (S.P.C.K.), 1886. 

Kamba, Spoken in Ukambani, E. Africa — the district 
in which Nairobi is situated. 

E. Brutzer. Handbuch der Kamba-Sprache. Berlin, 
1906. Mitt. B. Abt. Sem. Or. IX., 3, pp. 1-100. 

*H. Hinde. Vocabularies of the Kamba and Kikuyu 
Languages. (Cambridge University Press), 1904. 

*J. T. Last. Grammar of the Kamba Language, pp. 
40. London (S.P.C.K.), 1885. 

*A. D. Shaw. Vocabulary of Four East African 
Languages. See under Swahili, 

C. G. Biittner, Deutsch-Kikamba Worterbuch.Ztschr. 
f. afr. Spr. Vol. I., pp. 81-123, 1888. 

Kami, Spoken in the Ukami country, of which 
Mrogoro, on the Dar-es-Salaam railway, is the 

A. Seidel, in Ztschr-fiir afr. u. oc. Spr. IL, 1, p. 20. 
(Grammatical sketch and short vocabulary). 

C. Velten. Die Sprache der Wakami 1n Deutsch- 
Ostafrika. Mitt. B. Sem. Or. III., Abt. 3,pp. 1-56, 
1899. Grammatical Sketch and Vocabulary, 
A few words and phrases are to be found in Last's 
Polyglotta Africana Orient alts, pp. 69-72. 

Kanyoka. See under * Congo.* 

i KarangaiChmOfChisw'ma., Chizwina, Mashona, Shuna). 

E. Biebler (S.J.) English-Chiswina Dictionary, with 
Outline Grammar. Roermond (j. J. Romer and 
Sons), 1906. 

Four Methods of Teaching English 

to the Maswina. Roermond (same publishers), 1906. 

Testamente. (Bible Stories). Roermond 

(same publishers), 1906. 


Rev. H. Buck. A Dictionary with Notes on the 
Grammar of the Mashona Language, commonly 
called Chiswina (Compiled at St. Augustine's 
Mission, Penhalonga.) (S.P.C.K.), 1911. 

W. A. Elliott. Dictionary of the Tebele and Shuna 
Languages, 1897. 
The second edition of this book (1911) which omits 
the * Shuna * edition is entered under * Zulu.* 

Louw, Mrs. C. S. A Manual of the Chikaranga 
Language (Grammar, Exercises, Useful Phrases 
and Vocabulary), p. 397. Bulawayo (Philpot & 
Collins), 1915. 

Rev. A. M. Hartmann (S. J.). Outline of a Grammar of 
the Mashona Language. Cape Town, 1893. 

Kels, (Lokele). See under * Congo.' 

Kele (Dikele). Spoken near the Gabun Estuary, 

Missionaries of the A. B.C. P.M. A Grammar of the 
Ba-kele Language. New York, 1854. 


*A. R. Barlow. Tentative Studies in Kikuyu Grammar 
and Idiom. Edinburgh (Blackwood), 1914. 

Rev. Father A. Hemery. English-Kikuyu Handbook. 
Zanzibar-Nairobi (Roman Catholic Mission), 1903. 

*A. W. McGregor (C.M.S.) English-Kikuyu Vocabulary. 
(S.P.C.K.), 1904. 

— ■ — A Grammar of the Kikuyu Language. London 
(Clay and Sons, printed), 1905. 

H. Hinde. Vocabulary {See Kamba), 

King a, 

*R. Wolff. Grammatik der Kinga-Sprache (Deutsch- 
Ostafrika, Nyassagebiet), nebst Tex ten u. Worter- 
verzeichniss. Berlin, 1905. Archiv fiir das 
Studium deutscher Kolonialsprachen, Vol. 3. 

Kintassa, Se^ Nyanja. 

Kiyanzi (=Bangi, Kibangi). See under * Congo.* 


Konde. North end of Lake Nyasa. 

C. Schumann. Grundriss einer Grammatik der 
Kondesprache. Berlin, 1899. 

Kongo {Sec under * Congo.*) 

Kwanyatna. Spoken by a branch of the people called 
Ovambo, in S. W. Africa. 

P. H. Brincker. Lehrbuch des Oshikuanjama in 
Verbindung mit Oshindonga. (Stuttgart) Berlin, 

Deutscher Wortfiihrer fur 


Otji-herero, Oshj-ndonga, u. Oshi-kuanjama. {See 
also under Herero.) 

*H. Tonjes. Lehrbuch der Ovambo- Sprache Osikuan- 
jama. Lehrb. d. Sem. f. or. Spr., Vol. 24. 

* Worterbuch der Ovambo- Sprache. lb., 

Vol. 25. Berlin (G. Reimer), 1910. 

Lala-Lamba, Spoken to the south of Lake Bangweolo. 

*A. C. Madan. Lala-Lamba Handbook. Oxford 
(Clarendon Press), 1908. 

* Lala-Lamba-Wisa-English, and 

English-Lala-Lamba-Wisa Dictionary. Oxford 
(Clarendon Press), 1913. 

*Lenge, Also called Chopi and Tswa. Spoken in 
Portuguese S. E. Africa, between Inhambane and 
the Limpopo. 

*Bp. Smyth and J. Matthews. A Vocabulary with a 
short Granymar of Xilenge. London (S.P.C.K.), 
1902, 1912. 

Lenje, North-Western Rhodesia ; allied to Ila, 
which adjoins it on the west, and Tonga, spoken to 
the north. 

*A. C. Madan. Lenje Handbook. (Oxford University 

Press), 1908. 

Lolo, See under * Congo.* 

Lomongo (Mongoi=Lolo. See under 'Congo.' 



W. M. Morrison. Grammar of the Buluba-Lulua 

Language, and Dictionary. Privately printed, 1907. 

* The Buluba and the Lulua people . . . together 
occupy a large area . . . extending, roughly 
speaking, from the junction of the Lulua and Kasai 
rivers in a general south-easterly direction into 
Garenganze, where the language is called Ciluba' 
[Chiluba — elsewhere Bu-luba] . (Preface). 

P. A. Declercq. Grammaire de la Langue Luba, with 
Vocabulary, pp. 504. Louvain (Istas), 1903. 

Grammaire pratique de la Langue 

Luba. Brussels (Polleunis and Ceuterick), 1911. 

Lulua, See under * Congo.* ^ 

Lunda, An important language spoken on the water- 
shed between the Congo and Zambesi, near the 
sources of the Kasai, and to the south of the Luba 

H. A. Dias de Carvalho. Methodo Pratico parafallar a 
lingua de Lunda. Lisbon (ImprensaNacional), 1890. 

Luyi (Rotse). Spoken by the people of Barotseland 
(Lewanika's country on the tipper Zambezi.) 

E. Jacottet. Etudes sur les langues du Haut-Zamb^ze. 
r® Partie. Grammaire Soubiya et Louyi, 1896. 
3^°® Partie. Textes Louyi, Contes, L6gendes. 
Superstitions et Vocabulaires. Paris (Ernest 
Leroux), 1901. 

Machame, A dialect of Chaga spoken by about 16,000 
people Hving on the western side of Kilimanjaro. 

* Julius Augustiny. Kurzer Abriss des Madschame- 
dialekts. Berlin, 1914. Archiv. fiir d. Stud, 
deutscher Kolonialsprachen. Vol. 16. 

Makonde. Spoken in the country north of the Rovuma. 
(E. Africa), about as far as Lindi. 

E. Steere. Collections for a Handbook of the Makonde 
Language. (U.M.C.A.), Zanzibar, 1876. 


Makua. In Mozambique 

*Chauncy Maples.' Collections for a Handbook of the 
Makua Language. London (S.P.C.K.), 1879. 
Archdeacon Woodward is preparing a new and 
revised edition of this little work. 

D. J. Rankin. Arabian Tales, translated from Swahili 
to Makua. (Tugulu dialect), London, 1887. 

Mang'anja. See Nyanja. 

Masaba. See Gisu. 


B. Krumm. Grundriss einer Grammatik des Kimatumbi, 
1912. Mitt. B. Sem. Or. XV., Abt. 3, pp. 1-63. 
Spoken by the inhabitants of the Matumbi hills, inland 
from Kilwa. Vocabulary, ib. XVI. Abt. 3, pp. 1-57. 

Mbundu (Bunda, Kimbundu, U^ibundu, Angola.) 
Spoken in Portuguese W. Africa, south of the Congo. 

B. M. de Cannecattim. Diccionario da Lingua Bunda 
ou Angolense. Lisbon (impressSo Regia.), 1804. 
Three parallel columns : Portuguese, Latin, Mbundu. 

Collec^ao de Observa9oes grammaticaes 

sobre a Lingua Bunda ou Angolense, 1805. 
Appended to this is a brief Dictionary in four columns. 
Portuguese, Latin, Mbundu, Kongo. Second 
edition, 1859. 

*H. Chatelain. Kimbundu Grammar (Grammatica 
elementar do Kimbundu ou lengua de Angola.) 
(Port, and English), Geneva, 1889. 

Gfundziige der Kimbundu-Sprache, 1890. 

Published in Ztschr,fur afr, Sprachen^ avowedly as an 


abstract of the precedmg, though the author says he 
has introduced some new points. 

* Folk-tales of Angola. Boston, New 

York, 1894. 
Published by the American Folk-Lore Society. 
Mbundu text, with English translation on opposite page. 


W. H. Sanders, W. E. Fay and others. Vocabulary 

of the Umbundu Language, comprising, Umbundu- 

English and English-Umbundu. Boston (Beacon 

Press), A.B.C.F.M., 1885. 

Contains 3,000 words of the dialect spoken inland in 


W. M. Stover. Observations upon the Grammatical 
Structure and use of the Umbundu. Boston, 1885. 

Mongo ( = Lolo). See under * Congo.' 

Mpongwe, See Pongwe. 

Namwanga, Spoken by the Winamwanga, N. W. of 
Lake Nyasa. 

E. H. Dewar. Chinamwahga Stories (with English 
translation.) (Livingstonia Mission Press), 1900. 

\N donga. The language of one of the tribes known 
collectively as Ovambo, in the northern part of 
. * Damaraland.* 

*P. H. Brincker. Lehrbuch des Oshikuanjama in 
Verbindung mit Oshindonga. Lehrbiicher des 
Seminars fiir orient. Sprachen, Vol. VI IL Berlin^ 
1891. See also Kwanyama. 

P. H. Brincker. Deutscher Wortfiihrer fiir die Bantu- 
dialekte . . . Oshindonga, etc. See under 
Herero and Kwanyama. 

*A. Seidel. Grammatik des Oshindonga, etc. Also 
entered under Herero, 

Ngombe, See under * Congo.* 

Nika (more correctly Nyika). 

There is no language properly called by this name, 
which is applied to the Rabai, Giryama, Duruma, Digo 
and five smaller tribes. 

*J. L. Krapf and J. Rebmann. A Nika-English 
Dictionary. Edited by T. H. Sparshott. London, 
The words in this book are chiefly Rabai. 


A. D. Shaw. See Vocabulary of four E. African 
Languages v. Swahili. 

\Nyamwe%i. Spoken over a large area to the south of 
Lake Victoria. Sukuma and Sumbwa are dialects 
of it. 

*E. Steere. Collections for a Handbook of the 
Nyamwezi Language. London (S.P.C.K.), n,d. 

R. Stem. Eine Kinyamwesi Grammatik, Berlin, 1906. 
Mitt. B. Sem. Or. IX. 3, pp. 129-258. 

*C. Velten. Grammatik des Kinyamiiesi (with 
Vocabulary). Gottingen. (Vandenhoeck and 
Ruprecht), 1901.* 

*Nyanja (Chinyanja, Mang'anja, Nyasa, Chinyasa). 

Is also virtually identical with Sena, and very 
similar to Nyungwe (Tete). 

*Rev. H. C. R. Barnes. Nyanja-English Vocabulary. 
London (S.P.C.K.), 1902. 
This is an enlaiged edition of Miss Woodward's 
Vocabulary of 1892, 1895, q.v. 

V. J. Courtois, S.J. Elements de Grammaire Tetense 
(Lingua Chi-Nyungue). Coimbra (University 
Press), 1900. 

G. Henry. A Grammar of Chinyanja. Aberdeen, 
(G. and W. Frasej:), 1891. Second edition, 1904. 

A. Hetherwick. A Practical Manual of the Nyanja 
Language. London (S.P.C.K.), second edition, 1912. 

R. Laws. English-Nyania Dictionary. Edinburgh 
(James Thin), 1894. 

*R. S. Rattray. Some Folklore, Stories and Songs, 
with . English translation and notes. London 
(S.P.C.K.), 1907. 

*J. Rebmann. Dictionary of the Kiniassa Language. 

Edited by L. Krapf. St. Chrischona, near Basle, 


(Ki-nya$a=Chi-nyanja. The Anyanja are called 

Anyasa by the Yaos and Swahili, Rebmann obtained 

his materials from released slaves in East Africa.) 


*Rev. D. C. Scott. Cyclopaedic Dictionary of the 
Mang'ktija Language. Edinburgh (Foreign 
Missions of Church of Scotland), 1892. 

*M. E. Woodv/ard. English-Chinyanjaand Chinyanja- 
English Vocabulary, 1892, reprinted 1895 
Another edition, revised and enlarged by the Rev, 

H. Barnes, appeared in 1913. 

* Exercise-book (S.P.C.K.), 1898, 1909. 

Nyika. See Nika. 

*Nyoro (Uganda Protectorate). 

*H. E. Maddox. Elementary Lunyoro Grammar, with 
Lunyoro- English Vocabulary. London (S.P.C.K.), 

Nyufigwe (Tete), Spoken in the country about Teteon 
the Zambezi. Very similar to, if not identical 
with Nyanja. 

V. J. Courtois. Diccionario Cafre-Tetense-Portuguez, 


Diccionario Portuguez-Cafre-Tetense, 


Elementes de Grammatica, 1909. 

A. V. d. Mohl, S. J. Grammatik der Bantusprache von 
Tete. Mitt. B. Sem. Or. VIL Abt. 3, pp. 32-85, 
1904. Vol. VIII. 3 (1905), contains a collection of 
tales with German translation. 

Pahouin, See Fan. 

Pogoro. Spoken in E. Africa, somewhat east of the 
north end of Lake Nyasa, and north of the Rovuma. 

*J. Hcndle (O.S.B.). Die Sprache der Wapogoro. 
Berlin (G. Reimer), 1907. Archiv fiir deutsche 
Kolonialsprachen, Vol. VI. 

^Pokomo, Tana River, British East Africa. 

*C. Meinhof. Linguistische Studien in Ostafrika. No. 
VII. Mitt. B. Sem. Or. Jahrg. XIV., Abt. 3. 
Berlin, 1911. 


Pokomo-Grammatik mit Uebungsstiicken. (The work 
of one or more of the Neukirchen missionaries, but 
no author's name appears.) Neukirchen, Missions- 
buchhandlung (Stursberg und Cie), 1908. 

*F. Wiirtz. Worterbuch des Ki-tikuu und des Kipo- 
komo. PubHshed in Zeitschrift fiir afrikanische 
und oceanische Sprachen, Vol. I., p. 193. 
This is a German-Tikuu and Pokomo Dictionary. 

(Tikuu is a Swahili dialect. See under Swahili). 

Grammatik des Pokomo, ib. Vol. II., pp. 

62, 168. 
Vol. 1. of the same periodical contains some Pokomo 
songs, and Vol. II. some traditions (all with German 

Some grammatical notes (1889), and a Pokomo- 
German vocabulary had previously been published by 
F. Wiirtz in Biittner's Zeitschrift fiir Afrikanische 

Pongwe (Mpongvve). Spoken in the country adjoining 
the Gabun estuary, French Congo. 

J. R. Wilson (a late Missionary). Heads of the Mpongwe 
Grammar, containing most of the principles needed 
by a learner. New York (Mission House, 23, 
Centre Street), 1879. 

R. P. Le Berre. Grammaire de la Langue Pongouee. 
Paris (Maisonneuve et Cie), 1873. 

Missionaires de la Congregation de Saint Esprit. 
Dictionnaire Fran9ais-Pongu6, 1877-81. Diction- 
naire Pongue-Fran9ais, 1881. Paris (Maisonneuve 

et Cie). 

Missionaries of the A.B.C.F.M. Gaboon Mission. A 
Grammar of the Mpongwe Language, with 
Vocabularies. New York (Snowden and Prall), 


Poto, See under * Congo.* 

\Ronga (Shironga). A branch of the Thonga language, 
spoken in the neighbourhood of Delagoa Bay. 


H. A. Junod. Grammaire (with Ronga-French-English- 
Portuguese Vocabulary and Dialogues). Lausanne 
(Bridel), 1896. 

Nouveaux Contes Ronga. Neuchatel 

Imprimerie (Paul Attinger), 1898. See also Thonga. 

Rotse, See Luyi. 

Ruanda, N. end of L. Tanganyika. 

*P. Eugene Hurel. Manuel de Langue Kinyaruanda. 
Mitt. B. Sem. Or. XIV., Abt. 3, pp. 1-159, 1911. 

Rundi, Between Tanganyika and Lake Kivu, on the 
north. Very similar to Ruanda. 

R. P. J. M. van der Burgt, des P^res Blancs. Diction- 
naire Frian9ais-Kirundi. Bois le Due, 1900-1903. 

* Elements d'une Grammaire Kirundi. 

Mitt. B. Sem. Or. V., Abt. 3. 

R. P. F. Menard, des P^res Blancs. Dictionnaire 
Fran9ais- Kirundi et Kirundi-Fran9ais. Paris 
(Guilmoto), 1909. 

Grammaire Kirundi. Same publisher, 


Sena (Lower Zambezi, virtually identical with Nyanja). 

*W. G. Anderson. Introductory Grammar of the Sena 
Language (S.P.C.K.), 1897. 

J. Torrend, S.J. Grammatica do Chisena. Grammar 
of the Language of the Lower Zambezi. Chipanga, 
Zambezia. (Mission Press), 1900. 
In parallel columns, Portuguese and English. 

Senga (Middle Zambezi). 

*A. C. Madan. Senga Handbook. Oxford (Clarendon 
Press), 1905. 

\Shamhala, Usambara, East Africa, inland from Tanga. 

P. E. Horner. Kleiner Leitfdden zur Erlernung des 
Kischambala. Mariannhill (Natal), 1900. 

*K. Roehl. Versuch einer systematischen Grammatik 
der Schambaiasprache. Hamburg, 1911. 


Frau Rosier and F. Gleiss. Schambala-Grammatik 
und Worterbuch. Berlin, 1912. Vol. XIII. of 
Archiv fur das Studium deutscher Kolonialsprachen. 

E. Steere. Collecttons for Handbook of the Shambala 
Language, 1867. Revised by Archdeacon 
Woodward. (U.M.C.A.) Msalabani, 1905. 

Shangaan, See Thonga. 

Shiifia, See Mashona. 

Siha (Kisiha). See Chaga. 

Soko. See. under " Congo." 

Suhiya (Upper Zambezi). 

E. Jacottet. Grammaires Soubiya et Loujii, 1896. 

Textes Soubiya, 1899. See also Luyi. 

Stiktima, (On the south-eastern side of the Victoria 
Nyanza. A dialect of Nyamwezi.) 

*Capt. Herrmann. Kissukuma, die Sprache der 
Wassukuma. Mitt. B. Sem. Or. I., Abt. 3, pp. 146- 
1 98, 1898. Gram. Sketch, with Vocabulary and Texts. 

A. Seidel. Das Kisukuma. Grammatische Skizze 
(with Vocabulary), 1894. 

Sumbwa, Spoken in a district of the N.W. part of 
Unyamwezi, between Usukuma and Uha, south 
of Lake Victoria, but separated from it by Uzinja. 

*A. Capus (of the White Fathers). Grammaire de 
Shisumbwa (Ztschr. fiir afr. u. oc. Spr. Vol., IV., 
pp. 1-123), 1898. 
The preceding volume of the same periodical contains 

(pp. 358-381) ten stories and some songs and proverbs, 

with literal French translation. 

Dictionnaire Shi sumbwa- Fran9ais, pp. 147. 

Saint-Cloud (Impr. Belin Fr^res), 1901. 


H. W. M. Beech. Studies in Ki-Swahili London 
(Kegan Paul, Trench, Triibner & Co.), 1918. 


E. Brutel. Vocabulaire Fran9ais-Kiswahili et Kiswahili- 
Fran9ais, 2 ed. Brussels, 1913. 

Mrs. F. Burt. Grammar and Vocabulary (Mombasa 
dialect). (S.P.C.K.), 1910. 

C. G. Biittner. Worterbuch der Suaheli-Sprache. 
2 pts. Stuttgart (Berlin), 1890. 

Suaheli-Schriftstucke in arabisther 

Schrift. Vol. X. of Lehrbiicher des Seminars fiir 
orientalische Sprachen. (W. Spemann), Stuttgart 
and Berlin, 1892. 

Anthologie aus der Suaheli-Litteratur. 

(E. Felber), Berlin, 1894. Texts (prose and poetry) 
with translation into German. 

Hahari za Waktlindu Pt. I., n,d. Pt. II. 1904. 
Pt. III., 1907. (U.M.C.A.), Msalabani. Traditions 
of the Washambala written in Swahili by Abdallah 
bin Hemed bin Ali Liajjem. 

R. P. A. Hemery de la Congregation du St. Esprit 
et du Saint- Coeur de Marie. Vocabulaire Fran9ais- 
Swahili-Teita. Zanzibar (Mission Catholique). 
Paris (30 Rue Lhomond), 1901. 

W. K [isbey] . Notes and Corrections of Swahili. I.-IV. 
Zanzibar (U.M.C.A.), 1898-1899. 

Kiharaka. Zanzibar. (Univ. Mission Press), 1896. 
Stories written or dictated by natives. 

J. L. Krapf. Outlines of the Elements of the Kisuaheli 
Language, with special reference to the Kinika 
Dialect. Tubingen (Friedr. Fues), 1850. 

A Dictionary of the Suahili Language, 

with Introduction, containing an outline of a Suahili 
Grammar. London (Trubner & Co.), 1882. 

*A. C. Madan. English-Swahili Dictionary. Oxford 
(University Press), 1894. Second edition, 1902. 

Swahili -English Dictionary. Oxford 

(University Press), 1903. 



*A. C. Madan. Swahili Grammar. Oxford (University 
Press), 1905. 

C. Meinhof. Die Sprache der Suaheli. Berlin (Dietrich 
Reimer (Ernst Vohsen)), 1910. Deutsche Kolonial- 
sprachen Bd. 2. 

W. Planert. Die syntaktischen Verhaltnisse des Suaheli. 
Berlin (W. Siisserott), 1907. 

Ch. Sacleux. Dictionnaire Fran^ais-Swahili. Zanzibar 
(Mission des P. P. du St. Esprit.) Paris (30 Rue 
Lhomond), 1891. 

Grammaire des Dialectes Swahilis. Paris 

(Procure des Pferes du S. Esprit), 1909. 

This book obtained the Prix Volney from the Institut 
de France. 

'''A. Downes Shaw. Pocket Vocabulary of Four E. 
African Languages. (Ki-Swahili, Ki-Nyika, Ki- 
Taita and Ki-Kamba; with vocabulary of Kibwyo 
dialect). London (S.P.C.K.), [1885]. 

*E. Steere. A Handbook of the Swahili Language, as 
spoken at Zanzibar. London (S.P.C.K.) First 
edition, 1871 ; second edition, 1875 ; third edition 
revised and enlarged by A. C. Madan, 1884 ; fourth 
edition, 1913. 

Swahili Exercises. (S.P.C.K.), 1894- 


Swahili Tales, 1889. Reprinted, 1906 and 

1917. (S.P.C.K.), London. 

Practical Guide to Use of the Arabic 

Alphabet in writing Swahili, 1892. (Out of print.) 

Capt. C. H. Stigand. Grammar of Dialects in the 
Kiswahili Language (with Introduction by the Rev. 
W. E. Taylor). Cambridge (University Press), 

W. E. Taylor. Groundwork of the Swahili Language 
Tabulated. London (S.P.C.K.), 1898. 


W. E. Taylor. African Aphorisms, or Saws from 
Swahililand. London (S.P.C.K.), 1891. 
Swahili Proverbs, translated and annotated. Some 
Rabai and Giryama proverbs are appended. 

C. Velten. Suaheli-Worterbuch (Part I. Swahili- 
Oferman). Berlin. Published by the Author, 1910. 

Praktische Grammatik der Suaheli- 

Sprache. Berlin (W. Baensch), 1905. 

Praktische Anleitung zur Erlernung der 

Schrift der Suaheli. Gottingen (Vandenhoeck und 
Ruprecht), 190M910. 

A useful guide to the reading and writing of Swahili 
in the Arabic character. 

Safari za Wasuaheli, Gottingen, 1901. 

Narratives of journeys into the Interior (and in two 

cases to Europe), written or dictated by natives. 

* Desturi za Wasuaheli. Gottingen, 1903. 

A very full account of native customs, written by 
natives, in Swahili. 

Marchen und Erzahlungen. Stuttgart 

(Spemann), Berlin, 1898. Vol. 18 of Lehrb. d. 
Sem. fiir orient. Sprachen. 

Prosa und Poesie der Suaheli. Berlin 

(Published by the Author), 1907. 

Contains tales, proverbs, dialogues, poems {mashairi) 
and popular songs. 

Tahwa, Spoken in the Marungu country, between 
Tanganyika and the Lualaba. 

*G. De Beerst. Essai de Grammaire Tabwa. Berlin, 
1896. Published in Ztschr. f. afr. u.oc. Spr. Vol. 
II., Nos. 3 and 4. 

Taita (less correctly, Teita). Spoken in the Taita Hills, 
120 miles N.W. of Mombasa. 

*J. A. Wray. Elementary Introduction to the Taiia 
Language. London (S.P.C.K.), 1894. 
A Taita Vocabulary is included in A. D. Shaw, Pocket 


Vocabulary. See under Swahili. Also in Hcmery, 
Voc. Fran9ais-Swahili-Teita. See under Swahili. 

Tehele, See under Zulu. 

Teke, See under Congo. 

*Thoftga, Spoken over a large area between St. ♦Lucia 
Bay and the Sabi River and including among its 
branches Ronga, Hlanganu, Gwamba (now isolated 
in the Transvaal), Johga, etc. Not to be confused 
with Tonga, q.v. 

*C. W. Chatclain and H. A. Junod. Pocket Dictionary 

Thonga-(Shangaan) -English and English-Thonga. 

Preceded by an Elementary Grammar. Lausanne 

(Georges Bidel et Cie), 1904. 

Shangaan (properly Hlanganu) is the name by which 

the Delagoa Bay natives in general are known at the 

Johannesburg mines. This book, while not * limiting 

itself to any particular dialect * of the Thonga language, 

applies more especially to that spoken in the Spelonkcn 

and Leydsdorp district of E. Transvaal. 

Tonga (Zambezi). The Tonga (Gitonga) of Inhambane, 
identical with Lenge (q.v.) or Chopi, is distinct 
from this. So is the Tonga found on the W. side 
of L. Nyasa. 

J. R. Fell (of the Baila-Batonga Mission). A Tonga 
Grammar. London (S.P.C.K.), 1918; 

A. W. Griffin. Chi tonga Vocabulary of the , Zambezi 
Valley. Oxford (University Press). 
This Tonga language has been very fully studied by 
Father Torrend, who gives some annotated texts in the 
Appendix of his Comparative Grammar. The people 
are also called (by the Bechwana) Batoka. 

Tugulu, See Makua. 

Tumbuka, Spoken W. of Lake Nyasa. 

W. A. Elmslift. Notes on the Tumbuka Language. 
Aberdeen (G. and W. Fraser), * Belmont ' Works, 



W. A. Elmslie. Table of Concords and Paradigms 
of Verb. Aberdeen (Eraser), * Belmont * Works, 

Venda. Spoken in N. Transvaal, within the bend oj. 
. the Limpopo. Sometimes spelt Wenda ; the people 
are variously called Vavenda, Bavenda, Wawenda, 

C. Meinhof . Das Tsi venda. Leipzig, 1901. Reprinted 
from Z.D.M.G. 

Th. and P. Schwellnus. Die Verba des Tsivenda. Mitt. 
B. Sem. Or. VII. Abt. 3, pp. 12-31. Berlin, 1904. 

Vili. Spoken on the Luango (Loango) coast, north of 
the Congo. See also " Congo.** 

P. C. Marichelle. Dictionnaire Vili-Fran9ais, 1902. 

Methode Pratique pour I'Etude du 

Dialecte Vili, 1907. 

Xilenge (Shilenge, or Chopi). See Lenge. 

"^Xosa (* Kafir *). Spoken in the eastern part of the 
Cape Province, and closely allied to (though not 
quite identical with) Zulu. 

W. Appleyard. The Kafir Language, comprising a 
Sketch of its History . . . Remarks upon its 
Natute and a Grammar, pp. 390. King William's 
Town, London. (J. Mason), 1850. (Printed for 
the Wesleyan Missionary Society.) 

J. Aylifif. A Vocabulary of the Kafir Language. 
London (Wesleyan Mission House), 1846. 

W. B. Boyce. A Grammar of the Kaffir Language. 
London (Wesleyan Missionary Society and J. 
Mason). First edition, 1834; second edition 
(augmented and improved), 1844 ; third edition, 
(augmented and improved with Exercises), 1863. 
The Exercises were added to the third edition by 
W. J. Davis. 

C. J. Crawshaw. A first Kafir Course, pp. 133. 
Lovedale, Cape Town (Juta). Third edition, 1897 ; 



fourth edition, 1901 ; fifth edition, 1903. Grammar, 
Exercises and Vocabularies. (These are appended 
to each exercise, but can be easily consulted by 
means of an index at the end.) 

Wm. J. Davis. A Dictionary of the Kaffir Language; 
including the Xosa and Zulu Dialects. Part I., 
Kaffir- English. London (Wesleyan Mission House), 


An English and Kaffir Dictionary, 

principally of the Xosa-Kaffir, but including also 
many words of the Zulu- Kaffir Dialect. London 
(Wesleyan Missionary Society), 1877. 

I. Bud-Mbelle, Interpreter to the High Court of 
Griqualand. Kaffir Scholar's Companion. (Love- 
dale Missionary Press), 1903 * 
Contains lists of words, idioms, proverbial expressions, 

and a variety of n^iscellaneous information not always 

easy to find elsewhere. 

A. Kropf. A Kaffir-Enghsh Dictionary', pp. iv., 486. 
(Lovedale Mission Press), 1899. 

J. McLaren. A Concise Kaffir-English Dictionary. 
London (Longmans, Green & Co.), 1915. 

A Grammar of the Kaffir Language. 

London (Longmans, Green & Co.), 1906. 

C. Meinhof. Hottentottische Lautc and Lehnworte im 
Kafir. (Z.D.M.G.), 1905. 
Discusses the question of how far Xosa borrows 
sounds and words from the Hottentot language, and in 
particular, the origin of the clicks. 

W. B. Rubusana. Zenk'inkomo Magwalandini. 

Second edition. Frome and London (Butler and 

Tanner), 1911. 
Traditions and songs of the Xosa, Gcaleka, Tembu 
and other tribes, collected by a native' minister of the 
Congregational Church. 
J. Stewart. Outlines of Xosa Grammar, with practical 

exercises. (Lovedale Mission Press), South Africa, 



J. Stewart. Kaffir Phrase Book and Vocabulary. 
Third edition. (Lovedale Mission Press), 1901. 
The late Dr. Stewart is well-known as the founder 
and first Principal of the Lovedale Institution. 

J. Torrend. Outline of a Xosa Kafir Grammat, with a 
few dialogues and a Kaffir Tale. Grahamstown 
(T. and G. Sheffield), 1887. 

tVao (Chiyao, Kihiau). Spoken in the mountains S. E. 
of Lake N^sa, and in the Shire Highlands. 

*A. Hetherwick. Introductory Handbook and Vocabu- 
lary. (S.P.C.K.) Second edition, 1902. 
Contains both Yao- English and English- Yao 

A. F. Pott, tjber die Kihiausprache. (Z.D.M.G.), 
VI., pp. 331-348. 

*E. Steere. Collections for a Handbook of the Yao 
Language. London, 1871. 

Yaunde (a branch of Fan). 

P. Hermann Nekes. Praktische Grammatik der Jaunde- 
Sprache. Vol. XXVI. of Lehrbucher des Seminars 
fur or. Sprachen. Berlin, 1911. 

Yombe, See under * Congo.* 

ZaramoiZa.], See Dzalamo. 

Zigula. East Africa, near Luvu River, on the mainland 
opposite Zanzibar. 

*W. H. Kisbey. Zigula- English and English-Zigula 
Dictionary. London (S.P.C.K.), 1906. 

* Zigula Exercises. "^ London (S.P.C.K.), 


Rev. W. G. Webster (ed.) Zigula Tales. London 
(S.P.C.K.), 19 12. 
•Twenty-three stories, written down by natives. 

H. W. Woodward. Collections for a Handbook of the 
Zigula Language. (U.M.C.A.), Msalabani, 1902. 


Ziha (Lusiba). Spoken in Kiziba and some other 
districts adjoining Lake Victoria on the S.W. It 
is not very happily named, as the people speaking it 
appear to be called Batundu. It is closely related 
to Nyoro. 

*Capt. Herrmann (formerly of Bukoba). Lusiba, die 
Sprache der Lander Kisiba, Bugabu, etc., 1904. 
Mitt. B. Sem. Or. VIL, Abt. 3, pp. 150-200. 


A. T. Bryant. A Zulu-Engli^ Dictionary, with Notes 
on Pronunciation, a revised Orthography, etc. 
(Mariannhill Mission Press), Pinetown, Natal, 

An important work, somewhat spoilt by its speculative 
etymologies which are not based on any sound principle. 
The introduction, too, though containing a great deal of 
useful information, is of very unequal value, especially 
the historical part, which is not free from parti pris. 

H. Callaway. Nursery Tales, Traditions and Histories 
of the Zulus. (Zulu Text, Translation and Notes). 
Springvale,-Natal. London (Triibner & Co.), 1868. 

Religious System of the Amazulu. (Zulu 

Text, with Translations and Notes*v (Printed, 
Springvale), Natal. London, 1870. 

J. W. Colenso (Bishop of Natal). First Steps in Zulu- 
Kaffir. Pietermaritzburg (Vause & Slatter), fourth 
edition, 1903. 


^ Zulu- English Dictionary, fourth edition. 
Pietermaritzburg (Vause & Slatter), 1905. 

Three Native accounts of a Visit to, 

Umpande, King of the Zulus. With Translation, 
Vocabulary and Notes. Third edition. Pieter- 
maritzburg and Durban (Vause, Slatter & Co.), 


Izindab'ezinhle, etc. New Testament 

(reprinted, 1897 for Miss Colenso), London. (Dent). 


J. W. Colenso. Pilgrim's Progress. Inncwadi ka* 
Bunyane okutiwa Ukuhamba Kwesihambi. Pieter- 
maritzburg and Durban (Vause, Slatter & Co.), 

J. L. Dohne (Missionary to the American Board, C.F.M.). 
A Zulu- Kafir Dictionary. Cape Town, 1857. 

*W. A. Elliott. Notes for a Sindebele Dictionary and 
Grammar, with illustrative sentences. (Sindebele 
Publishing Co.), Bristol, 1911. 
Sindebele (Tebele) is the dialect of Zulu spoken by 

the Matabele in Rhodesia. 

Lewis Grout. The Isizulu ; a grammar of the Zulu 
Language, with historical introduction. Pieter- 
maritzburg, Durban, London (Triibner & Co.), 

James Perrin. English- Zulu Dictionary. Pieter- 
maritzburg (p. Davis & Sons), new edition^ 1901. 

Rey. C. Roberts. The Zulu- Kafir Language simplified 
for Beginners. London (Kegan Paul). Third 
edition, 1909. 

An English-Zulu Dictionary with 

the Principles of Pronunciation and Classification 
fully explained. London (Kegan Paul, Trench, 
Trubner & Co.), 1911. 

A Zulu Manual or Vade Mecum. 

London (Kegan Paul), 1900. 
A companion volume to the two preceding works, 
containing gramrflatical notes and illustrations of special 
idioms, — medical, zoological and botanical vt)cabularies, 

P. A. Stuart. Zulu Grammar, with 400 Useful Phrases, 


.bstract nouns, 62. 
.djective roots, 120. 
.djectives, 118, 122. 

— few rtal in Bantu, iit. 

— concord of, 124, 128. 

— derived from verbs, 


— nouns made to do the 

work of, 119. 

— Nyanja, 125. 

— verbs derived from, 

130. 154- 

— verbs used for, iig. 

— which take shortened 

prefixes, 126. 

— Zulu, 126. 

dverbial demonstratives, 99, 114. 
.d verbs, 184. 

-T- invariable, i86. 

— locative, 185. 
agglutinative languages, 12. 
alliterative concord, 14, 20. 
Lngola and Loango languages, 5. 
.nimals, names of, 47, 58. 
applied verbs, 148. 
.rbousset, 7. 
Lrticle, 49, 72. 
Lssimilation, 226. 

— Incomplete, 227. 

augmentative class, 56, 66-6t. 
Luxiliaries, 174. 

)antu, 9. 

— family, characteristic fea- 

tures of, 14. 

— languages, number of 

known, 2. 

— languages, principal fea- 

tures of, 2. 

— languages, sounds of, 17. 

— name, 3. 

— verb, 143. 
larlow, 229. 
)entley, 116. 

Bleek, 3, 8, 9, 13, 49, 86, 219. 
Boyce's Xosa Grammar, 7. 
Brusoiotto, Giacinto, 6, 13, 31, 32, 
Burton, 31. [35, 72. 

Casalis, 7. 

Causative verbs, 148. 

Cerebral t and d, 222. 

" Chiswina,'* 42. 

Chwana, 4, 16, 47, 48, 52, 95. 

— participle, 118. 

— relative particle, 105. 

— verbal nouns, 208 
Class, augmentative, 56, 68. 

— diminutive, Duala, 62. 

— ^M, 59. 

— meaning attached to each, 

— three, cjpicords of, 50. [43. 
Classes, hints of several other, 68. 
Clicks in Zulu and Xosa, 219. 
Coltnso, Bishop, 170, 192, 202. 
Compound tenses, 173. 
Compounds, Htrero, 213. 

— Ila, 217. 

— Nyanja, 216. 

— Zulu. 

Concord 'of adjectives, 124, 128. 
Concords of Class 3, 50. 
Congo, Kingdom of, 31, 43. 
Conjunctions, ^3. 
Continuative mo^l, 167-S. 
Copula, 49. 

— combined with pertonal 

pronouns, 112. 

— old demonstrative root, 


— sometimes prefixed to 
Cust, 6. [adjectives, 1x4. 

Dahl's Law, 228-9. 

De Gregorio, 8. 

Degrees of Comparison, 131. 

Demonstrative, adverbial, 99. 

— pronouns, 97, 98 




Demonstrative, y«, 48. 
Demonstratives, adverbial, 99, 114. 
Denominative verbs, 21a. 
Dental t and d, 222. 
Derived Forms, r44, 146, 156, 192. 
Diminutive class, Duala, 62. 

— in -anti, 212. 

— in k»-, 60. 

— plural prefix, Nyanja, 
Diminutives, 56. [62. 
Dinuzulu, 19. 

Dissimilation, 226, 228. 
Do Couto, P. Antonio, 6. 
Double Agreement, 97. 
Duala diminutive class, 62. 
— language, 89. 

Ewald, 8. 

False Analogy, 226. 
Fruits, names of, 52. 
Fulfulde language, 44. 
Future Tense, 172. 

Ganda, 16, 25, 26, 66, 68, 295. 

— relative particle, 105. 

— verb ' to be,' 116. 
Gisu, 42, 48, 49, 33, 66. 
Grammatical gender, 10, 11. 
Grimm's Law, 218. 

Hamitic languages, 14. 
Herero, 42, 45, 225, 248. 

— compounds, 213. 

— relative particle, 106. 

— verb ' to be,' tt6. 
Hetherwick, Dr., 187, 202. 
Hottentot language, 9. 
Hottentots, 4, 10. 

Human beings, names denoting, 

Ila, 264, 

— compounds, 217. 
Imperative mood, 159. 
Incomplete assimilation, 227. 
Indicative present tense, 171. 
Infinitive mood, 159. 
Inflected families of language, 10, 
Initial vowel, 48. 

— absent in the voca- 

tive, 49. 

* Inseparable Pronoun,* 88. 
Intensive verbs, 149. 

* Interjectional roots,' 186. 
International Phonetic Associa- 
Intonation, 15, 16. [tion, 18. 
Invariable adverbs, 186. 

— particle, no. 
Irregular verbs, 177. 
Isolating languages, 12. 

Johnston, Sir Harry, 9. 

Jones, D., 19. 
unod, 186, 197. 

•Kafir' (Xosa), 4. 

Ki-class, action of a verb, 55. 

— collective sense, 55. 

— instrumental force, 55. 

— 'likeness, fashion^manner,' 
Kikuyu, 225, 219. [35. 
Kim vita (Mombaia Dialect), 285. 
Kinga, 68. 

Kongo, 34, 42, 81, 89. • 

— relative pronoun, 107. 

— verb 'to be,' 116. 
Krapf, 7, 31. 

Lamu Dialect (Kiamu), 276. 
Laterals, 220. 

Law of Vowel-Harmony, 228. 
Lepsius, 8, 14, 19, 
Levy-Bruhl, 187, 188. 
Lichtenstein, 4, 6, 9. 
Liquids, words denoting, 52. 
Locative adverbs, 185. 

— class, 76-85, 211. 

— prefixes, 66. 
Locatives, in m»-, 51. 

— suffixed, 8a. 
Luganda, see Gandtt. 

Marsden, William, 5. 

' Mashona,' 42. 

Materials, names of, 62. 

Mbundu language, 6. 

Meinhof, 8, 16, 19, 35, 37, 45, 48, 

195. 203. 214. 2*9. 

226, 230. 231. 
Moffat's translation of the Bible 

into Sechwana, 7. 
Monosyllabic verbs, 143, 177. 



Mood, Continuative, 167, 

— Imperative, 159. 

— Infinitive, 159. 

— Negative, 160. 

— Relative, 168. 

— Subjunctive, 160. 
Moods, 156-169. 
Mozambique language, 5. 
Muller, 8. 

Negative mood, 160. 
Neuter-Passive verbs, 147. 
Noel-Armfield, 223. 
Noun agent, 200. 

— indicating result of an 
Nouns, abstract, 62. [action, 205. 

— made to do work of adjec- 

tives, 119. 

— verbal, 200-211. 
Numbers, Ordinal, 140. 
Numerals, 133. 

— distinct words for 

' hundred ' and 
* thousand,* 137, 

- table of, 135, 138. [140. 
Nyanja, 16, 17, 42, 44, 46, 48, 62, 

63i 98, 22J, 272, 

— adjectives, 125, 

— compounds, 216. 

— no true relative 

— verb • to be,' 116. 

Object-Pronoun, 89. 

' Onomatopoetic vocables,' 186. 

Ordinal numbers, 140. 

Pacconio, P. Francisco, 6. 
Particle, invariable, no. 

— relative, loi. 
Participles, 105-6, 118, 169. 
Passive verbs, 147. 

Past tense, 172. 

Perfect in -He 154, 158, 166. 

Perfect tense, 173. 

Phonetics, General, 230. 

Pitch, 16. 

Place, word for 79. 

Pokomo language, 80. 

Possessive, 70-75. 

— particle, 74. 

— pronouns, 74, 92, 93. 

Pott, 8. 

Prefix, eleventh, lu-, 59. « 

— fifteenth, Am-, 65, 

— fifth. It', 51. 

— ninth, in- or «-, 56. 

— ti- in Nyanja, 62. 

— ogu-, 66. 

— sixth, in Gisu, htima-, 53. 

— tenth, 37 

— tu-, attached to thirteenth 

— twelfth, 60. [clats, 61. 
Prefixes, locative, 66, 77. 

— not identical with Pro- 

noun, 86. 
Prepositional verbs, see Applied 
Prepositions, 72, 84, ill. [Verbs, 

— Pronominal forms 

suffixed to, 91. 
Principiation of nouns, 13, 32, 33. 
Pronouns, 86, it2. 

— Demonstrative, 97, 98. 

— Inseparable, 88. 

— Longer forms of, 91 . 

— Object, 89. 

— Possessive, 92, 93. 

— Prepositional form of, 

91. 92, 93- 

— Reflexive, 91. 

— Relative, 99. 

— Separable or Substan- 

tive, 92, 94. 

Robmann, 31. 
Reciprocal verbs, 131. 
Reflexive Pronoun, 89-91. 
Relative construction, Zulu, 119. 

Chwana, 105. 

Ganda, 105. 

Herero, 106. 

Ronga, 106. 

Swahili, loi. 

Zulu, 104. 

— form of Locative Class, 

— mood, 168. [211. 

— particle, 10 1 et seqq. 

— pronoun, 99, 108. 
Repetitive verbs, 153. 
Reversive verbs, 150. 
Rhodesia, Southern, main speech 
Ronga language, 54. [of, 42. 




t > 




Scott, Revs. D. C. and W. A., 
Semi-Bantu, 2. [196, 203. 

Separable, or independent, pro- 
nouns, 92, 94. 
Smith, E. W., 194, 195. 

* Sound-pictures,' 186. 
Stapleton, 186, 189. 
Stative verbs, 152. 
Steere, Bishop, 18. 
Stress (accent), 15. 
Subjunctive mood, 160. 
Substantive pronouns, 94. 
Sudan languages, 11, 14, 75. 
Suffixes, 199, 204. 

Swahili language, 7, 15, 16, 18, 28, 

42, 44, 47. 67, lOI. 
119, 225, 276. 

— verb • to be,' 116. 

Tense, 157. 

— Compound, 173. 

— Future, 172, 173. 

— Indicative Present, 171. 

— Past, 172. 

— Perfect, 173. 
Thonga, 17. 
Torrend, 186. 
Transposition, 226, 330. 
Trees, names of, 51. 
Tribes, names of, 50. 
Tuckey's expedition to the Congo, 


• Uncle Remus,' 10, 47. ^ 

Van der Kemp, Dr., 7. 
Velten, 192. 

Venda language, 17, 54, 68. 
Verb, Bantu, 143. 

— stems beginning with a 

— ti, use of, 176. [vowel, 145. 

— 'to be,' 109, no. 

— ,, Ganda, 116. 

— ,, Herero, 116. 

— ,, Kongo, 116. 

— „ Nyanja, 116. 

— ,, Swahili, 116. 

— 'to have,' 109. 

Verbal nouns, 201, 202, 205, 208. 
Verbs, Adjectives derived from, 120 

— Applied, 148. 

— Auxiliary, 174. 

— Causative, 148. 

— Compounded forms, 155. 

— Denominative, 212. 

— derived forms, 144, 146, 156. 

— derived from adjectives, 130. 

— formed from adjective- 

— Intensive, 149. [stems, 134, 

— Irregular, 177. 

— Monosyllabic, 143, 177. 

— ,, primitive, 179. 

— Neuter-Passive, 147. 

— Passive, -147. 

~ Perfect in -t/^, 154, 158, 166. 

— Reciprocal, 151. 

— Repetitive, 153. 

— Reversive, 150. 

— Stative, 152. 

— used for adjectives, 119. 

— which do not end in a 

* Vocal Images,' 189. 
Vocative, 70. 

* Voices,' 146. 

Von der Gabelentz, 8. 

Westermann, 187, 188. 
•Whistlings,' 54. 
Whitehead, 186, 190. 
Whitney, W. D., 219. 
Woodward, Archdeacon, 81. 

Xosa, clicks in, 219. 

— language, 4, 7, 16. 

Yao, 166, 1^7, 225. 

Zulu, 15, 16, 20, 44-48, 232. 

— adjectives, 126. 

— clicks in, 17, 19, 219. 

— compounds, 216. 

— prepositions, 84. 

— relative construction, 119. 

— ,, particle, 104. 

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