Owa uka peni?

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Chapter 7

Owa uka peni?

Ove: Oshi li ngaipi?
Taxi driver: Oshi li nawa. Ongaipi?
Ove: Onawa.
Taxi driver: Owa hala peni?
Ove: Onda hala popepi nopoosa. Oshi li nawa?
Taxi driver: Eewa. Londa.
Ove: Ingapi, tate?
Taxi driver: Eedola nhano. Tu ye!
Ove: Eewa, tu ye.
(driving, approaching destination)
Ove: Tate, ngolyoka kolulyo komalobota.
Taxi driver: Eewa. .
Ove: Ngolyoka kolumosho kostalata.
(approaching destination)
Ove: Ohandi di mo apa.
Taxi driver: Apa?
Ove: Heeno, tate. .
Taxi driver: Eewa.
Ove: Eewa, ou na oshendja?
Taxi driver: Heeno, tate... Tambula.
Ove: Eewa. Tangi unene, tate.
English Oshikwanyama
Head (somewhere) Uka (uku)
Get in Londa
Get out/off Dja (di) mo
Stop Fikama Here Apa
Here Apa
There Opo / Penya
Near Popepi na
Far Kokule
Turn Ngolyoka
Car Oshihauto/Ohauto/Otuwa
Lift Olefa
Hitchhike Kwata olefa
Bus Ombesa
Combi Okambesa
To the left Kolumosho
To the right Kolulyo
Directions Eembinga
Town Odolopa
Church Ongeleka / Omambo
Police station Opolifi
Post office Opoosa
Office Ombelewa
Petrol station Omahooli / Oseevisa
Stop light Omalobota
Road. Opate
Street Ostalata
Path Ondjila
I need a lift. Onda pumbwa olefa.
Where are you going? Oto i peni?
Do you have change for . . . ? Ou na oshendja y____________
Where is my change? Oshendja yange? ( oi li peni?)
Stop here/ there. Fikama apa/opo.
I am getting out here/ there. Ohandi di mo apa/opo.
Stop for my friends. Fikamena ookaume kange.
I want to go to . . . . I want to go to . . . .

Exercise 1

Construct a dialogue between yourself and a friend who you have not seen in a long while. This occurs at a hitch-point while waiting for a lift. Discuss where you are going, what you will do there, how things are at home, etc.

Grammar Corner: Coming and Going

“To come” and “to go” are expressed with similar verbs:

English Oshikwanyama
Come Uya
Go Ya (I)

For the first person ame, it is written as follows:

Past Present Future
To go Onda ya – I went Ohandi i – I am going Ohandi ka ya – I
To come Onde uya – I came, or I am coming (familiar) Ohandi uya – I am coming Ohandi ke uya – I will come

In all tenses, for “to come”, if the last vowel of the subject concord is an a, it changes to an e. Thus, “He is coming” is said Ote ya and “He is going” is said Ota i. "He will come" is Ote ke uya. The u in uya is often left off, both in speech and in modern writing (Onde ya).

In addition, there are some more going-and-coming verbs:

English Oshikwanyama
Go back Shuna
Come back Aluka
Come from Dja (Di)
Arrive Fika (Fiki)

In English, the word “return” can be used for both “go back” and “come back”, but in Oshikwanyama you must be specific.

Exercise 2

Translate the following statements into Oshikwanyama:

  1. Y’all come back now, y’hear?
  2. I am going back to America after two years. Tip: “After two years”, in this case, translates to konima yeedula mbali.
  3. I am from Angola.
  4. I am going to Zimbabwe.
  5. Where are you coming from?
  6. Go to hell.


~ Mweenda-nakanya iha puka. ~

A traveller with a mouth doesn't get lost.

(Ask directions.)

Grammar Corner: Noun Classes: Subject Concords

At this point, we know the subject concords for people only – that is, only for noun class 1. The other noun classes have corresponding sets of subject concords, but only for the third person of course. In the table below, we organize the subject concords according to the noun prefixes:

Noun prefix Past Subject Concord Present Subject Concord Future Subject Concord
omu- (person) okwa ota ota ka
ova- ova otava / otaa otava ka / otaa ka
omu- (not people) owa otau otau ka
omi- oda otadi otadi ka
e- ola otali otali ka
oma- okwa otaa otaa ka
oshi- osha otashi otashi ka
oi- oya otai otai ka
olu- ola / olya otali / otalu otali ka / otalu ka
oka- oka otaka otaka ka
ou – (plural) ova otava otava ka
ou- (singular) owa otau otau ka
oku- okwa otaku otaku ka
o- (anything else – group 5 singular) oya otai otai ka
ee- (group 5 plural) oda otadi otadi ka

There are also subject concords for stative verbs:

Noun prefix Past Subject Concord Present Subject Concord Future Subject Concord
omu- (person) okwa li e oku ota ka kala e
ova- ova li ve ove otava ka kala ve
omu- (not people) owa li u ou otau ka kala u
omi- oda li di odi otadi ka kala di
e- ola li li oli otali ka kala li
oma- okwa li ku oku otaa ka kala ku
oshi- osha li shi oshi otashi ka kala shi
oi- oya li i oi otai ka kala i
olu- olwa li lu / ola li li olu / oli otalu ka kala lu
oka- oka li ke oke otaka ka kala ke
ou- (plural) ova li ve ove otava ka kala ve
ou- (singular) owa li u ou otau ka kala u
oku- okwa li ku oku otaku ka kala ku
- (anything else -group 5 singular) oya li i oi otai ka kala i
ee- (group 5 plural) oda li di odi otadi ka kala di

We will talk more about these later; for now you can concentrate on the present tense only. Not all of this is used all of the time – you will probably not master the past and future stative subject concords until at least a few months down the line. As we said before, they are only here in hope that they might be useful to you in the future.