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Chapter 11


House Eumbo
Toilet Okandjuwo
Bedroom Onduda yokunangala
Kitchen (outside) Epata
Kitchen / Food storage area Okombifa
Jersey / Sweater Ombidja
Shower area Okalikoshelo
Sitting room Osheti / Oshinyanga
Hut / Room Onduda
Homestead Eumbo lomiti / loshiwambo
Grain storage Eshisha / Okaanda
Garden Oshikunino
Corral Oshuunda
Gate / Door Oshivelo / Omuvelo
Fence Ekoye / Odalate
Fire Omundilo
River Omulonga
Seasonal (water) pan Oshana
Dirty water Omeva (m)a kaka
Water tap Opomba / Okapomba
Animal Oshinamwenyo
Cow Ongobe
Goat Oshikombo
Chicken Oxuxwa
Donkey Ondoongi
Cat Okambishi
Dog Ombwa
Lizard Ekoko
Snake Eyoka
Spider Eluviluvi
Scorpion Ondje
Millipede Ongongololo
Pig Oshingulu
Duck Ombaka
Horse Onghambe
Bird Okadila
Mouse Omhuku
Ant Ohedi / Onhenda
Fly Odi
Mosquito Omwe
Bat Elimalima
Owl Exuvi
Dove Onguti
Cockroach Epenzi / Ekakalate
Bug Epuka / Okapuka

~ Nekwa litoka oye ngaa nyoko.
~ If your mother is poor, she is still your mother. (You have to accept people as they are.)

English Oshikwanyama
Bed Ombete
Fridge Okiila / Ofilidja
Stove Efiya
Trash Oimbodi
Window Ekende
Table Oshitafula
Chair Oshipundi
Roof Eembuli / Mombada
Candle Okalexita
Paint Opainda
Lock Ekumba
Key Oshipatululo / Oshapi
Break Teka (Teke)
Fix Pangela
Lock / Latch Pata
Open / Unlock Yuulula / Patulula
Close Edila / Pata
Sweep Komba (Kombo)
Look for Konga (Kongo) Konga (Kongo)
Rake Halaka
Hoe / Cultivate Lima (Limi)
Plant Twika (Twike)
Sow Kuna (Kunu)
Plough Pulula
Harvest Teya
Slaughter / Kill Dipaa
Skin Yuva (Yuvu)
Fetch water Teka (Teke)
Collect wood Tyava (Tyave)
Throw away Ekelashi
Meet Shakaneka (Shakaneke) / Mona (Mono)
Visit Talela po (Talele po)
Greet (on behalf of) Kundila po (Kundile po)
Wake up Penduka
Wake someone up Pendula
Where do I put my trash? Openi handi ekelashi oimbodi?
It is broken. Osha teka.
Can I paint my room? Nandi painde onduda yange?
What’s wrong? Oshike sha puka?
Can I help you? Nandi ku kwafe?
Where can I plant a garden? Openi handi dulu okuninga oshikunino?

Exercise 1

Label the drawing on page 65. Try your hand at drawing more common homestead scenes and objects!

Grammar Corner: Subordinate Subject Concords

Consider the English phrase, “People who go to the store”. The important part of the phrase is the noun, “people”. The verb that appears in the phrase is subordinated to the noun by the word “who”. In Oshikwanyama, this subordination is made by using a different subject concord: not Ovanhu otava i kofitola, but Ovanhu tava i kofitola.

For almost all of the subject concords, just drop the initial o and there you are: otashi => tashi, ova => va, etc. So, when you want to describe nouns that do something, or generally want to emphasize the noun and not the action, use the subordinate subject concord.

The only irregular subordinate subject concord is for the third person. For present tense, rather than oku => **ku it is e. For past tense, rather than okwa => **kwa, it is okwa => a

Some examples:

Ondi wete ovamati tava kombo. I see the boys [who are] sweeping.
oMaria a teleka oukuki. It is Maria who cooked the fat cakes.
Olye ta imbi? Who is singing? (It is who that is singing?)

Grammar Corner: In / On / At, Part Two

When mo, po, and ko are used in the subject of a sentence, they have their own subject concords.

Subject Concord
Pronoun of Place Past Active Present Active Future Active Present Stative
po (pu-) opa / opwa otapu / otapa otapu ka / opu / ope
ko (ku-) okwa otaku otaku ka oku
mo (mu-) omwa otamu otamu ka omu

For example:

Omu na ofewa? Is there soap [in] there?
Kape na sha. / Kapu na sha. There is nothing [there].
koAmelika, oku na eembwa? Are there dogs in America?
koAmelika, ohaku liwa eembwa? Are dogs eaten in America?
Omu na ovanhu mongeleka. There are people in the church.
Be careful not to confuse these concords with the subject concords for people.
[Mongulu] omwa kaka. It is dirty [in the room]. (NOT “You all are dirty”)
Mo, po, and ko are also used frequently in fixed expressions:
Johanna omo e li? Is Johanna in there?

You will undoubtedly discover many more as you listen to native speakers. Po is also useful for expressing the ideas of “just” and “about to.” For example, Opo nda lya /Opo nda li means “I just ate”, and Otu li pokumana means “We’re about to finish, yo.”

Grammar Corner: Subjunctive Verbs

Consider the following sentences:

I want you to go to school. Onda hala u ye kofikola.
The teachers want the learners to stand up. Ovalongi ova hala ovanafikola va fikame.
I don’t want her to talk. Inandi hala a popye.

These sentences express desires that something occur. We already know how to express a desire to do something using hala. When the subject of the sentence (I, the teachers, etc.) wants someone else to do something, the second part of the sentence – the part that tells what the subject wants to happen – requires a special subjunctive voice in Oshikwanyama.

To use the subjunctive voice, we use a subjunctive concord and change the final vowel in the verb to an e. Listed below are the subjunctive concords for people:

Person Subjunctive concord
Ame ndi
Ove u
Ye a
Fye tu
Nye mu
Vo va

Thus, the sentence “Do you want me to eat?” is translated as Owa hala ndi lye? “Rebecca wants Johanna to pound mahangu.” is Rebecca okwa hala Johanna a twe omahangu.

For other kinds of nouns, use the object pronoun as the subjunctive concord:

Meme Foibe wants the goats to get out. Meme Foibe okwa hala oikombo i dje ko.

The dress is for oomeme, so we use the possessive prefix to link the two nouns together.

English words like “let” and “should” often indicate a desire that something occur: “Let’s go”, “Should we buy?”, etc. Again, in Oshikwanyama, we use the subjunctive voice. The prefix na- is often added to the concord for emphasis.

Shall I buy for you? Nandi ku landele?
Let’s go! Natu ye!
Should I clean? Nandi wapaleke?

Note: If you are in a group of more than two people, instead of -e, you must end the verb with -eni. “Let’s go!” is then Natu yeni! “Let’s eat!” is Natu lyeni!

~ Ino londa omukwa neenghaku. ~
Don't climb a baobab with shoes.
(Don't enter a difficult situation ill-prepared.)

Quick Tip (for the grammar fiends)

Comparing the list of subjunctive concords with the list of personal subject concords, you may notice a pattern: the present continuous concord is – with some exceptions due to vowel changes and contractions – formed by adding the prefix ota- or oha- to the subjunctive concord. Hence, ame ohandi nu; fye ohatu nu; and so on.

In fact, the subjunctive concords listed above may be considered the true subject concords, while pre- and post-fixes such as ota mark things like verb tense and aspect. The same, of course, is true for all noun classes. This understanding of subject concords can be very useful in discovering Oshikwanyama language patterns. See also the final grammar corner, “Making it Simple”.

Exercise 2

Translate the following sentences into Oshikwanyama. Use correct subjunctive forms.

Example: I want you to buy me a beer ? Onda hala u landele nge obiila.

  1. The principal wants the learners to pass (pita).
  2. He does not want them to fail. (dopa).
  3. Paulus wants Shaalu to fetch water.
  4. Let’s (two people) go to Oshakati!
  5. Let’s (large group) buy some meat!

Grammar Corner: Verb Extensions

As you recall, we form the passive voice by removing the verb’s final vowel and appending -wa. This -wa can be considered a verb “extension” – it extends both the verb and its meaning. There are a number of other extensions that can change the meaning of a verb. Some of them are given in the table below, along with brief explanations and an example. Interested readers should consult A Reference Grammar of Oshikwanyama (Fivaz 2003) for more information.

Extension Meaning English Oshikwanyama
-afana ... each other We saw each Otwa monafana.
-ela ... for / on behalf of I bought some sweets for her. Onde mu landela ouleke.
-ifa to make ... Don’t make me angry. Ino handukifa nge.
li- ... itself / each other Did you wash yourself? Owe likosha?