Section 2. Koyeba – to know

Section 2. Koyeba – to know

As with just about any other language, Lingala uses a regular system of conjugations and constructions that begin to become pretty routine once you get used to them.

As you saw in the first section, every Lingala verb begins with ‘ko-‘ and almost every one ends in ‘–a’.

To review, here are the 10 verbs that you’ve already been introduced to:

kozala – (koh-ZAH-lah) – to be

kozala na – (koh-ZAH-lah nah) – to have

kolinga – (koh-LING-gah) – to want, to like

kosala – (koh-SAH-lah) – to work, to make

kosomba – (koh-SOM-bah) – to buy

kokanisa – (koh-kan-NEE-sah) – to think, to hope

koloba – (koh-LOH-bah) – to speak

koyeba – (koh-YEH-bah) – to know

kokoka – (koh-KOH-kah) – to be able to

kosengela – (koh-sen-GEH-lah) – to have to

We’ll take each one in turn and look at how it’s conjugated in the four basic tenses – present, past, future and imperative.

First a quick overview of how each of these tenses are generated.

2.1 The basic tenses – present, past, future and imperative

2.1.1 The present tense

To conjugate Lingala verbs in the present tense (I am, you are, he/she is, etc.), first drop the ‘ko-’ at the front of the infinitive form.

For kozala (to be), this leaves ‘-zala’.

Next, drop the ‘-a’ at the end.

With kozala, now without the ‘ko-’ or ‘-a’, this leaves ‘-zal-‘

Now add the appropriate pronoun – na-, o-, a-, to-, bo-, ba-, e- – for what you are trying to say. And then add an ‘i’ at the end.

na+zal +i – nazali – (nah-ZAH-lee) – I am
o+zal +i – ozali – (oh-ZAH-lee) – you are
a+zal+i – azali – (ah-ZAH-lee) – he/she is
to+zal+i – tozali – (toh-ZAH-lee) – we are
bo+zal+i – bozali – (boh-ZAH-lee) – you are (plural)
ba+zal+i – bazali – (bah-ZAH-lee) – they are
e+zal+i – ezali – (eh-ZAH-lee) – it is

2.1.2 The past tense

As with all the other tense formations, the past tense is formed with a combination of the subject pronoun, the root stem and a consistent ending that signals that it’s a past tense form.

To create the past tense of kozala, first drop the ‘ko-’ from the infinitive form and replace it with the appropriate subject pronoun – again, na-, o-, a-, to-, bo-, ba-, e- – and then add ‘-ki’ to the end of the infinitive root.

na+zala+ki – nazalaki – (nah-ZAH-lah-kee) – I was
o+zala+ki – ozalaki – (oh-ZAH-lah-kee) – you were
a+zala+ki – azalaki – (ah-ZAH-lah-kee) – he/she was
to+zala+ki – tozalaki – (toh-ZAH-lah-kee) – we were
bo+zala+ki – bozalaki – (boh-ZAH-lah-kee) – you were (plural)
ba+zala+ki – bazalaki – (bah-ZAH-lah-kee) – they were
e+zala+ki – ezalaki – (eh-ZAH-lah-kee) – it was

Somewhat confusingly, Lingala uses the same word for yesterday and tomorrow – lobi (LOH-bee) – so it is important to listen for (or look for, if you’re reading) the distinctive ‘ki’ sound at the end of every past tense verb form.

2.1.3 The future tense

Conjugating verbs in the future tense in Lingala is easy, provided you remember your pronouns and your verb infinitives.

It still involves a combination of the subject pronoun and the infinitive of the verb, but there is no letter dropping. The infinitive root stays intact and the appropriate subject pronoun is simply placed at the front.
So for kozala, this becomes:

na+kozala – nakozala – (nah-koh-ZAH-lah) – I will be
o+kozala – okazala – (oh-koh-ZAH-lah) – you will be
a+kozala – akozala – (ah-koh-ZAH-lah) – he/she will be
to+kozala – tokozala – (toh-koh-ZAH-lah) – we will be
bo+kozala – bokozala – (boh-koh-ZAH-lah) – you will be (plural)
ba+kozala – bakozala – (boh-koh-ZAH-lah) – they will be
e+kozala – ekozala – (eh-koh-ZAH-lah) – it will be

As with the distinctive ‘ki’ sound at the end of every past tense verb form, you’ll soon be able to recognise the subject pronoun and ‘ko’ at the beginning and the much different ‘ah’ sound at the end of the verb to help make sense of the lobi yesterday-tomorrow conundrum.

2.1.4 The imperative tense

Probably the easiest of all the Lingala verb conjugations is the imperative, or command form, although the construction of the positive and negative versions differ slightly.

To create the positive imperative form of any verb, simply drop the ‘ko-’ at the beginning. That’s it.

So koloba (to speak) is ko-lobaloba! (LOH-bah) – speak! – as in the title of this book. And the imperative form of koyeba (to know) is ko-yeba – yeba! (YEH-bah) – know!

The negative form of the imperative tense is slightly different, however. And, if it’s possible, it’s even easier to construct. The negative form simply uses the entire infinitive followed by te.

So ‘Don’t speak!’ is koloba + te – koloba te!

And ‘Don’t know!’ is koyeba te – koyeba te!

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Repeat after me

Some Kinois have a habit of repeating things that are said to them to the person that’s just said it. This happens with everyone and isn’t restricted to strangers or foreigners. It’s actually a nice gesture that shows the person has been listening to you, but it can be confusing when you first start speaking Lingala.

Since the subject pronouns change between what you’ve just said and what the person is repeating, what they say back to you will change, as well.

For example, if you say, ‘Nalingi ndunda’ – ‘I like vegetables’ – when it’s repeated back to you, you’ll hear, ‘Olingi ndunda’ – ‘You like vegetables’ – which is, of course, perfectly correct.

But for beginners, it’s easy to think that you’ve made a mistake and that the person is gently correcting you. With practice and a bit of confidence you’ll soon be able to tell the difference.

If the person has heard you correctly and you want to confirm that, you say ‘Ya solo’ (yah SOH-loh), which means ‘That’s correct.’

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2.2 Conjugating the first 10 verbs

So, using these four conjugation approaches, the corresponding forms for each of the first 10 verbs are:

1. kozala – (koh-ZAH-lah) – to be

Present tense:

na+zal +i – nazali – (nah-ZAH-lee) – I am
o+zal +i – ozali – (oh-ZAH-lee) – you are
a+zal+i – azali – (ah-ZAH-lee) – he/she is
to+zal+i – tozali – (toh-ZAH-lee) – we are
bo+zal+i – bozali – (boh-ZAH-lee) – you are (plural)
ba+zal+i – bazali – (bah-ZAH-lee) – they are
e+zal+i – ezali – (eh-ZAH-lee) – it is

Past tense:

na+zala+ki – nazalaki – (nah-ZAH-lah-kee) – I was
o+zala+ki – ozalaki – (oh-ZAH-lah-kee) – you were
a+zala+ki – azalaki – (ah-ZAH-lah-kee) – he/she was
to+zala+ki – tozalaki – (toh-ZAH-lah-kee) – we were
bo+zala+ki – bozalaki – (boh-ZAH-lah-kee) – you were (plural)
ba+zala+ki – bazalaki – (bah-ZAH-lah-kee) – they were
e+zala+ki – ezalaki – (eh-ZAH-lah-kee) – it was

Future tense:

na+kozala – nakozala – (nah-koh-ZAH-lah) – I will be
o+kozala – okazala – (oh-koh-ZAH-lah) – you will be
a+kozala – akozala – (ah-koh-ZAH-lah) – he/she will be
to+kozala – tokozala – (toh-koh-ZAH-lah) – we will be
bo+kozala – bokozala – (boh-koh-ZAH-lah) – you will be (plural)
ba+kozala – bakozala – (bah-koh-ZAH-lah) – they will be
e+kozala – ekozala – (eh-koh-ZAH-lah) – it will be

Imperative tense:

ko-zala – zala! – (ZAH-lah) – be!

2. kozala na – (koh-ZAH-lah nah) – to have

Present tense:

na+zal+i na – nazali na – (nah-ZAH-lee nah) – I have
o+zal+i na – ozali na – (oh-ZAH-lee na)h – you have
a+zal+i na – azali na – (ah-ZAH-lee nah) – he/she has
to+zal+i na – tozali na – (toh-ZAH-lee nah) – we have
bo+zal+i na – bozali na – (boh-ZAH-lee nah) – you have (plural)
ba+ zal+i na – bazali na – (bah-ZAH-lee nah) – they have
e+zal+i na – ezali na – (eh-ZAH-lee nah) – it has

Past tense:

na+zala+ki na – nazalaki na – (nah-ZAH-lah-kee nah) – I had
o+zala+ki na – ozalaki na – (oh-ZAH-lah-kee nah) – you had
a+zala+ki na – azalaki na – (ah-ZAH-lah-kee nah) – he/she had
to+zala+ki na – tozalaki na – (toh-ZAH-lah-kee nah) – we had
bo+zala+ki na – bozalaki na – (boh-ZAH-lah-kee nah) – you had (plural)
ba+zala+ki na – bazalaki na – (bah-ZAH-lah-kee nah) – they had
e+zala+ki na – ezalaki na – (eh-ZAH-lah-kee nah) – it had

Future tense:

na+kozala na – nakozala na – (nah-koh-ZAH-lah nah) – I will have
o+kozala na – okazala na – (oh-koh-ZAH-lah nah) – you will have
a+kozala na – akozala na – (ah-koh-ZAH-lah nah) – he/she will have
to+kozala na – tokozala na – (toh-koh-ZAH-lah nah) – we will have
bo+kozala na – bokozala na – (boh-koh-ZAH-lah nah) – you will have (plural)
ba+kozala na – bakozala na – (bah-koh-ZAH-lah nah) – they will have
e+kozala na – ekozala na – (eh-koh-ZAH-lah nah) – it will be

Imperative tense:

ko-zala na – zala na! – (ZAH-lah nah) – have!

3. kolinga – (koh-LING-ah) – to want, to like

Present tense:

na+ling+i – nalingi – (nah-LING-ee) – I want or I like
o+ling+i – olingi – (oh-LING-ee) – you want or you like
a+ling+i – alingi – (ah-LING-ee) – he/she wants or he/she likes
to+ling+i – tolingi – (toh-LING-ee) – we want or we like
bo+ling+i – bolingi – (boh-LING-ee) – you want or you like (plural)
ba+ling+i – balingi – (bah-LING-ee) – they want or they like
e+ling+i – elingi – (eh-LING-ee) – it wants or it likes

Past tense:

na+linga+ki – nalingaki – (nah-LIN-gah-kee) – I wanted or I liked
o+linga+ki – olingaki – (oh-LIN-gah-kee) – you wanted or you liked
a+linga+ki – alingaki – (ah-LIN-gah-kee) – he/she wanted or he/she liked
to+linga+ki – tolingaki – (toh-LIN-gah-kee) – we wanted or we liked
bo+linga+ki – bolingaki – (boh-LIN-gah-kee) – you wanted or you liked (plural)
ba+linga+ki – balingaki – (bah-LIN-gah-kee) – they wanted or they liked
e+linga+ki – elingaki – (eh-LIN-gah-kee) – it wanted or it liked

Future tense:

na+kolinga – nakolinga – (nah-koh-LING-ah) – I will want or I will like
o+kolinga – okolinga – (oh-koh-LING-ah) – you will want or you will like
a+kolinga – akolinga – (ah-koh-LING-ah) – he/she will want or he/she will like
to+kolinga – tokolinga – (toh-koh-LING-ah) – we will want or we will like
bo+kolinga – bokolinga – (boh-koh-LING-ah) – you will want or you will like (plural)
ba+kolinga – bakolinga – (bah-koh-LING-ah) – they will want or they will like
e+kolinga – ekolinga – (eh-koh-LING-ah) – it will like

Imperative tense:

ko-linga – linga! – (LING-ah) – like!

4. kosala – (koh-SAH-lah) – to work, to make

Present tense:

na+sal+i – nasali – (nah-SAL-ee) – I work or I make
o+sal+i – osali – (oh-SAL-ee) – you work or you make
a+sal+i – asali – (ah-SAL-ee) – he/she works or he/she makes
to+sal+i – tosali – (toh-SAL-ee) – we work or we make
bo+sal+i – bosali – (boh-SAL-ee) – you work or you make (plural)
ba+sal+i – basali – (bah-SAL-ee) – they work or they make
e+sal+i – esali – (eh-SAL-ee) – it works or it makes

Past tense:

na+sala+ki – nasalaki – (nah-SAL-ah-kee) – I worked or I made
o+sala+ki – osalaki – (oh-SAL-ah-kee) – you worked or you made
a+sala+ki – asalaki – (ah-SAL-ah-kee) – he/she worked or he/she made
to+sala+ki – tosalaki – (toh-SAL-ah-kee) – we worked or we made
bo+sala+ki – bosalaki – (boh-SAL-ah-kee) – you worked or you made (plural)
ba+sala+ki – basalaki – (bah-SAL-ah-kee) – they worked or they made
e+sala+ki – esakaki – (eh-SAL-ah-kee) – it worked or it made

Future tense:

na+kosala – nakosala – (nah-koh-SAL-ah) – I will work or I will make
o+kosala – okosala – (oh-koh-SAL-ah) – you will work or you will make
a+kosala – akosala – (ah-koh-SAL-ah) – he/she will work or he/she will make
to+kosala – tokosala – (toh-koh-SAL-ah) – we will work or we will make
bo+kosala – bokosala – (boh-koh-SAL-ah) – you will work or you will make (plural)
ba+kosala – bakosala – (bah-koh-SAL-ah) – they will work or they will make
e+kosala – ekosala – (eh-koh-SAL-ah) – it will work or it will make

Imperative tense:

ko-sala – sala! – (SAL-ah) – work!, make!

5. kosomba – (koh-SOM-bah) – to buy

Present tense:

na+somb+i – nasombi – (nah-SOM-bee) – I buy
o+somb+i – osombi – (oh-SOM-bee) – you buy
a+somb+i – asombi– (ah-SOM-bee) – he/she buys
to+somb+i – tosombi – (toh-SOM-bee) – we buy
bo+somb+i – bosombi – (boh-SOM-bee) – you buy (plural)
ba+somb+i – basombi – (bah-SOM-bee) – they buy
e+somb+i – esombi – (eh-SOM-bee) – it buys

Past tense:

na+somba+ki – nasombaki – (nah-SOM-bah-kee) – I bought
o+somba+ki – osombaki – (oh-SOM-bah-kee) – you bought
a+somba+ki – asombaki – (ah-SOM-bah-kee) – he/she bought
to+somba+ki – tosombaki – (toh-SOM-bah-kee) – we bought
bo+somba+ki – bosombaki – (boh-SOM-bah-kee) – you bought (plural)
ba+somba+ki – basombaki – (bah-SOM-bah-kee) – they bought
e+somba+ki – esombaki – (eh-SOM-bah-kee) – it bought

Future tense:

na+kosomba – nakosomba –(nah-koh-SOM-bah) – I will buy
o+kosomba – okosomba – (oh-koh-SOM-bah) – you will buy
a+kosomba – akosomba – (ah-koh-SOM-bah) – he/she will buy
to+kosomba – tokosomba – (toh-koh-SOM-bah) – we will buy
bo+kosomba – bokosomba – (boh-koh-SOM-bah) – you will buy (plural)
ba+kosomba – bokosomba – (bah-koh-SOM-bah) – they will buy
e+kosomba – ekosomba – (eh-koh-SOM-bah) – it will buy

Imperative tense:

ko-somba – somba! – (SOM-bah) – buy!

6. kokanisa – (koh-kan-NEE-sah) – to think, to hope

Present tense:

na+kanis+i – nakanisi – (nah-KAN-ee-see) – I think or I hope
o+kanis+i – okanisi – (oh-KAN-ee-see) – you think or you hope
a+kanis+i – akanisi – (ah-KAN-ee-see) – he/she thinks or he/she hopes
to+kanis+i – tokanisi – (toh-KAN-ee-see) – we think or we hope
bo+kanis+i – bokanisi – (boh-KAN-ee-see) – you think or you hope (plural)
ba+kanis+i – bakanisi – (bah-KAN-ee-see) – they think or they hope
e+kanis+i – ekanisi – (eh-KAN-ee-see) – it thinks or it hopes

Past tense:

na+kanisa+ki – nakanisaki – (nah-KAN-ee-sah-kee) – I thought or I hoped
o+kanisa+ki – okanisaki – (oh-KAN-ee-sah-kee) – you thought or you hoped
a+kanisa+ki – akanisaki – (ah-KAN-ee-sah-kee) – he/she thought or he/she hoped
to+kanisa+ki – tokanisaki – (toh-KAN-ee-sah-kee) – we thought or we hoped
bo+kanisa+ki – bokanisaki – (boh-KAN-ee-sah-kee) – you thought or you hoped (plural)
ba+kanisa+ki – bakanisaki – (bah-KAN-ee-sah-kee) – they thought or they hoped
e+kanisa+ki – ekanisaki – (eh-KAN-ee-sah-kee) – it thought or it hoped

Future tense:

na+kokanisa – nakokanisa – (nah-koh-KAN-ee-sah) – I will think or I will hope
o+kokanisa – okokanisa – (oh-koh-KAN-ee-sah) – you will think or you will hope
a+kokanisa – akokanisa – (ah-koh-KAN-ee-sah) – he/she will think or he/she will hope
to+kokanisa – tokokanisa – (toh-koh-KAN-ee-sah) – we will think or we will hope
bo+kokanisa – bokokanisa – (boh-koh-KAN-ee-sah) – you will think or you will hope (plural)
ba+kokanisa – bakokanisa – (bah-koh-KAN-ee-sah) – they will think or they hope
e+kokanisa – ekokanisa – (eh-koh-KAN-ee-sah) – it will think or it will hope

Imperative tense:

ko-kanisa – kanisa! – (KAN-ee-sah) – think!, hope!

7. koloba – (koh-LOH-bah) – to speak

Present tense:

na+lob+i – nalobi – (nah-LOH-bee) – I speak
o+lob+i – olobi – (oh-LOH-bee) – you speak
a+lob+i – alobi – (ah-LOH-bee) – he/she speaks
to+lob+i – tolobi – (toh-LOH-bee) – we speak
bo+lob+i – bolobi – (boh-LOH-bee) – you speak (plural)
ba+lob+i – balobi – (bah-LOH-bee) – they speak
e+lob+i – elobi – (eh-LOH-bee) – it speaks

Past tense:

na+loba+ki – nalobaki – (nah-LOH-bah-kee) – I spoke
o+loba+ki – olobaki – (oh-LOH-bah-kee) – you spoke
a+loba+ki – alobaki – (ah-LOH-bah-kee) – he/she spoke
to+loba+ki – tolobaki – (toh-LOH-bah-kee) – we spoke
bo+loba+ki – bolobaki – (boh-LOH-bah-kee) – you spoke (plural)
ba+loba+ki – balobaki – (bah-LOH-bah-kee) – they spoke
e+loba+ki – elobaki – (eh-LOH-bah-kee) – it spoke

Future tense:

na+kosamba – nakoloba –(nah-koh-LOH-bah) – I will speak
o+kosamba – okoloba – (oh-koh-LOH-bah) – you will speak
a+kosamba – akoloba – (ah-koh-LOH-bah) – he/she will speak
to+kosamba – tokoloba – (toh-koh-LOH-bah) – we will speak
bo+kosamba – bokoloba – (boh-koh-LOH-bah) – you will speak (plural)
ba+kosamba – bakoloba – (bah-koh-LOH-bah) – they will speak
e+kosamba – ekoloba – (eh-koh-LOH-bah) – it will speak

Imperative tense:

ko-loba – loba! – (LOH-bah) – speak!

8. koyeba – (koh-YEH-bah) – to know

Present tense:

na+yeb+i – nayebi – (nah-YEH-bee) – I know
o+yeb+i – oyebi – (oh-YEH-bee) – you know
a+yeb+i – ayebi – (ah-YEH-bee) – he/she knows
to+yeb+i – toyebi – (toh-YEH-bee) – we know
bo+yeb+i – boyebi – (boh-YEH-bee) – you know (plural)
ba+yeb+i – bayebi – (bah-YEH-bee) – they know
e+yeb+i – eyebi – (eh-YEH-bee) – it knows

Past tense:

na+yeba+ki – nayebaki – (nah-YEH-bah-kee) – I knew
o+yeba+ki – oyebaki – (oh-YEH-bah-kee) – you knew
a+yeba+ki – ayebaki – (ah-YEH-bah-kee) – he/she knew
to+yeba+ki – toyebaki – (toh-YEH-bah-kee) – we knew
bo+yeba+ki – boyebaki – (boh-YEH-bah-kee) – you knew (plural)
ba+yeba+ki – bayebaki – (bah-YEH-bah-kee) – they knew
e+yeba+ki – eyabaki – (eh-YEH-bah-kee) – it knew

Future tense:

na+koyeba – nakoyeba –(nah-koh-YEH-bah) – I will know
o+koyeba – okoyeba – (oh-koh-YEH-bah) – you will know
a+koyeba – akoyeba – (ah-koh-YEH-bah) – he/she will know
to+koyeba – tokoyeba – (toh-koh-YEH-bah) – we will know
bo+koyeba – bokoyeba – (boh-koh-YEH-bah) – you will know (plural)
ba+koyeba – bakoyeba – (bah-koh-YEH-bah) – they will know
e+koyeba – ekoyeba – (eh-koh-YEH-bah) – it will know

Imperative tense:

ko-yeba – yeba! – (YEH-bah) – know!

9. kokoka – (kok-KOH-kah) – to be able to

Present tense:

na+kok+i – nakoki – (nah-KOK-kee) – I am able to
o+kok+i – okoki – (oh-KOH-kee) – you are able to
a+kok+i – akoki – (ah-KOK-kee) – he/she is able to
to+kok+i – tokoki – (toh-KOH-kee) – we are able to
bo+kok+i – bokoki – (boh-KOH-kee) – you are able to (plural)
ba+kok+i – bakoki – (bah-KOH-kee) – they are able to
e+kok+i – ekoki – (eh-KOH-kee) – it is able to

Past tense:

na+koka+ki – nakokaki – (nah-koh-KAH-kee) – I was able to
o+koka+ki – okokaki – (oh-koh-KAH-kee) – you were able to
a+koka+ki – akokaki – (ah-koh-KAH-kee) – he/she was able to
to+koka+ki – tokokaki – (toh-koh-KAH-kee) – we were able to
bo+koka+ki – bokokaki – (boh-koh-KAH-kee) – you were able to (plural)
ba+koka+ki – bakokaki – (bah-koh-KAH-kee) – they were able to
e+koka+ki – ekokaki – (eh-koh-KAH-kee) – it was able to

Future tense:

na+kokoka – nakokoka –(nah-KOH-kah) – I will be able to
o+kokoka – okokoka – (oh-KOH-kah) – you will be able to
a+kokoka – akokoka – (ah-KOH-kah) – he/she will be able to
to+kokoka – tokokoka – (toh-KOH-kah) – we will be able to
bo+kokoka – bokokoka – (boh-KOH-kah) – you will be able to (plural)
ba+kokoka – bakokoka – (bah-KOH-kah) – they will be able to
e+kokoka – ekokoka – (eh-KOH-kah) – it will be able to

Imperative tense:

ko-koka – koka! – (KOH-kah) – be able to!

10. kosengela – (koh-sen-GEH-lah) – to have to

Present tense:

na+sengel+i – nasengeli – (nah-SEN-geh-lee) – I have to
o+sengel+i – osengeli – (oh-SEN-geh-lee) – you have to
a+sengel+i – asengeli – (ah-SEN-geh-lee) – he/she has to
to+sengel+i – tosengeli – (toh-SEN-geh-lee) – we have to
bo+sengel+i – bosengeli – (boh-SEN-geh-lee) – you have to (plural)
ba+sengel+i – basengeli – (bah-SEN-geh-lee) – they have to
e+sengel+i – esengeli – (eh-SEN-geh-lee) – it has to

Past tense:

na+sengela+ki – nasengelaki – (nah-SEN-geh-lah-kee) – I had to
o+sengela+ki – osengelaki – (oh-SEN-geh-lah-kee) – you had to
a+sengela+ki – asengelaki – (ah-SEN-geh-lah-kee) – he/she had to
to+sengela+ki – tosengelaki – (toh-SEN-geh-lah-kee) – we had to
bo+sengela+ki – bosengelaki – (boh-SEN-geh-lah-kee) – you had to (plural)
ba+sengela+ki – basengelaki – (bah-SEN-geh-lah-kee) – they had to
e+sengela+ki – esengelaki – (eh-SEN-geh-lah-kee) – it had to

Future tense:

na+kosengela – nakosengela – (nah-koh-SEN-geh-lah) – I will have to
o+kosengela – okosengela – (oh-koh-SEN-geh-lah) – you will have to
a+kosengela – akosengela – (ah-koh-SEN-geh-lah) – he/she will have to
to+kosengela – tokosengela – (toh-koh-SEN-geh-lah) – we will have to
bo+kosengela – bokosengela – (boh-koh-SEN-geh-lah) – you will have to (plural)
ba+kosengela – bakosengela – (bah-koh-SEN-geh-lah) – they will have to
e+kosengela – ekosengela – (eh-koh-SEN-geh-lah) – it will have to

Imperative tense:

ko-sengela – sengela! – (SEN-geh-lah) – have to!

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Contractions

As with most languages, Lingala speakers often use contractions. The most common verbs for these verbal shortcuts are kozala and kozala na.

People often shorten kozala by dropping the ‘-la’ at the end. So you’ll hear naza instead of nazali, oza instead of ozali, aza instead of azali and so on. The same holds for the kozala part of kozala na, although the na remains. So you’re likely to hear naza na or oza na or aza na, etc.

I started using the contraction forms of kozala and kozala na soon after I started to learn Lingala but came to regret it and it took me a while to break what became a bad slang habit. I would suggest sticking with the correct forms when you’re learning and then using contractions later on.

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2.3 Creating simple sentences

2.3.1 Simple sentences in the affirmative

By now you should be starting to see and feel a rhythm to basic conjugation patterns. As you continue to practice, and to add more verbs and vocabulary as we’ll do later in this section, you’ll become increasingly comfortable with creating the simple sentences necessary to start speaking Lingala in more and more situations.

Using the verb structures of the 10 starter verbs outlined above, we’ll now combine them with the 10 starter words from the first section.

Again, by way of review, here are the 10 starter verbs:

kozala – to be
kozala na – to have
kolinga – to want, to like
kosala – to work, to make
kosomba – to buy
kokanisa – to think, to hope
koloba – to speak
koyeba – to know
kokoka – to be able to
kosengela – to have to

And here are the 10 starter words:

mwasi – wife/woman
mobali – husband/man
ndeko – brother/sister
ndako – house
mosala – work
mbuma – fruit
ndunda – vegetables
mayi – water
malamu – good
mabe – bad

And, because you’ll need to use the subject and personal pronouns and prepositions to tie everything together, here they are again:

The subject pronouns:

na – I
o – you
a – he/she
to – we
bo – you (plural)
ba – they
e – it

The personal pronouns:

ngai – me, mine
yo – you, yours
ye – him/her, his/hers
biso – we, ours
bino – you, yours (plural)
bango – them, their

And the prepositions:

na – and, on, in, of
ya – of

And, finally, the helper words:

boye – (BOY-eh) – so, thus
ebele – (eh-BEL-eh) – many, a lot
eh – (eh) – yes
kasi – (KAH-see) – but
moke – (moh-KAY) – few, little
pe – (peh) – and
po na nini – (poh nah NEE-nee) – why
soki – (SOH-kee) – if
tango mosusu – (TANG-goh moh-SOO-soo) – maybe
te – (teh) – no
to – (toh) – or
po – (poh) – because

Let’s start putting things together.

To say ‘I speak Lingala’, you’ll need ‘I speak’ from the correctly conjugated form of the verb koloba – which is nalobi. And, of course, the word ‘Lingala’. In this case, the sentence structure is very straightforward and the same as the English construction:

Nalobi Lingala. – I speak Lingala.

To say ‘I spoke Lingala’, simply change the present form of koloba for the past tense:

Nalobaki Lingala. – I spoke Lingala.

To say ‘I will speak Lingala,’ switch from the past to the future tense:

Nakoloba Lingala. – I will speak Lingala.

And, for the imperative:

Loba Lingala! – Speak Lingala!

Let’s try another. To say ‘I buy vegetables’, you’ll need ‘I buy’ from the conjugated form of the verb kosomba, in this case nasombi. And the word for vegetables, which is ndunda. Again, the sentence structure is very straightforward and the same as the English construction:

Nasombi ndunda. – I buy vegetables.

To say, ‘I bought vegetables’, you simply change the present for the past tense of kosomba:

Nasombaki ndunda. – I bought vegetables.

And similarly, to say that you are going to buy vegetables, switch the past for the future tense:

Nakosomba ndunda. – I will buy vegetables.

If you want to be really pushy about, you can use the imperative to demand that someone buy vegetables:

Somba ndunda! – Buy vegetables!

Now let’s try one that’s a bit more complex.

To say ‘My work is good’, you’ll need ngai – ‘my’, mosala – ‘work’, and the correct form of ‘kozala’ – ‘to be’ – which in this case is ezali since the sentence is referring to an ‘it’, which will need to use the ‘e-’ subject pronoun. You’ll also need a preposition to link it all together. In this case, the ever- popular ‘na’. Together this creates:

Mosala na ngai ezali malamu. – My work is good.

As you can see in this example, the sentence construction in Lingala is slightly different than it would be in English. The structure is somewhat inverted; it literally reads ‘Work of mine is good’. However, this is a typical Lingala sentence, and with a bit of practice and patience, you’ll quickly get used to it.

Following on from this example, if you wanted to say ‘Your work is good’, simply change the ‘ngai’ for ‘yo’, the personal pronoun for ‘you’ or ‘yours’:

Mosala na yo ezali malamu. – Your work is good.

Similarly, if you wanted to say ‘Her work is good,’ again change the personal pronoun, this time from ‘yo’ to ‘ye’, for ‘her’.

Mosala na ye ezali malamu. – Her work is good.

Now that you have the pattern, here are a few more examples to help illustrate how it all works:

Nazali na mwasi. – I have a wife.
Osombaki ndunda mabe. – You bought bad vegetables.
Tolingi mbuma. – We like fruit.
Akosala na ndako na biso. – He is going to work at our house.
Balobi Lingala malamu. – They speak Lingala well.
Ozali malamu. – You are good.

2.3.2 Simple sentences in the negative

No one likes to be negative, but it happens. And in Lingala, it couldn’t be much easier. As you already know from the helper word list, that brief bit at the very beginning and the imperative conjugation examples, the Lingala word for ‘no’ or ‘not’ is ‘te’.

To say something isn’t happening, simply add ‘te’ after the verb. The same will apply to longer sentences, which will come later.

Here are the first person singular forms of each of the 10 starter verbs, first with in the affirmative, and then in the negative.

nazali – I am
nazali te – I am not

nazali na… – I have…
nazali na… te – I do not have…

nalingi – I want or I like
nalingi te – I do not want or I do not like

nasali – I work or I make
nasali te – I do not work or I do not make

nasombi – I buy
nasombi te – I do not buy

nakanisi – I think or I hope
nakanisi te – I do not think or I do not hope

nalobi – I speak
nalobi te – I do not speak

nayebi – I know
nayebi te – I do not know

nakoki – I am able to
nakoki te – I am not able to

nasengeli – I have to
nasengeli te – I do not have to

As you can see, in each of these very short, two-word examples, te comes at the end of the sentence.

But the same holds true for longer and more complex sentences: again, te almost always comes at the end of whatever you’re trying to say.

Using the examples from above, for koloba, it will be:

Nalobi Lingala. – I speak Lingala.
Nalobi Lingala te. – I do not speak Lingala.

Nalobaki Lingala. – I spoke Lingala.
Nalobaki Lingala te. – I did not speak Lingala.

Nakoloba Lingala. – I will speak Lingala.
Nakoloba Lingala te. – I will not speak Lingala.

Loba Lingala! – Speak Lingala!
Koloba Lingala te! – Do not speak Lingala! (Remember that for the negative imperative, the infinitive is used.)

Nasombi ndunda. – I buy vegetables.
Nasombi ndunda te. – I do not buy vegetables.

Nasombaki ndunda. – I bought vegetables.
Nasombaki ndunda te. – I did not buy vegetables.

Nakosomba ndunda. – I will buy vegetables.
Naksomba ndunda te. – I will not buy vegetables.

And again, the infinitive is used for the negative imperative:

Somba ndunda! – Buy vegetables!
Kosomba ndunda te! – Do not buy vegetables!

Mosala na ngai ezali malamu. – My work is good.
Mosala na ngai ezali malamu te. – My work is not good.

Mosala na yo ezali malamu. – Your work is good.
Mosala na yo ezali malamu te. – Your work is not good.

Mosala na ye ezali malamu. – Her work is good.
Mosala na ye ezali malamu te. – Her work is not good.

And for some of the additional examples:

Nazali na mwasi. – I have a wife.
Nazali na mwasi te. – I do not have a wife.

Osombaki ndunda mabe. – You bought bad vegetables.
Osombaki ndunda mabe te. – You did not buy bad vegetables.

Tolingi mbuma. – We like fruit.
Tolingi mbuma te. – We do not like fruit.

Akosala na ndako na biso. – He is going to work at our house.
Akosala na ndako na biso te. – He is not going to work at our house.

Balobi Lingala malamu. – They speak Lingala well.
Balobi Lingala malamu te. – They do not speak Lingala well.

Ozali malamu. – You are good.
Ozali malamu te. – You are not good.

Now let’s add a few of the helper words and make some longer sentences using the words and verbs from the first section.

Remember, pe means ‘and’, kasi means ‘but’, soki means ‘if’, tango mosusu means ‘maybe’, and ebele means ‘many’ or ‘a lot’. And just to note, the ‘ba’ in the third example is a prefix indicating the plural form of ‘Anglais’. This is a common construction used to indicate various groups, including nationalities. For example, more than one Congolese would be ‘ba Congolese’.

Nazali na mwasi pe alingi mbuma. – I have a wife and she likes fruit.
Tozali ba Anglais, kasi tolobi Lingala, pe. – We are English, but we speak Lingala, too.
Soki ayebi yo, alingi yo. – If she knows you, she likes you.
Nakosomba mbuma na yo tango mosusu. – Maybe I will buy your fruit.
Bazali na ndunda ebele. – They have a lot of vegetables.

And here are a few examples using the negative construction. Remember that po means ‘because’, to means ‘or ’and boye means ‘so’ or ‘thus’, or in this case ‘then’.

Balobi Lingala te po bayebi te. – They cannot speak Lingala because they do not know.
Bazali na mayi ebele te. – They do not have a lot of water.
Nasali te kasi osali. – I do not work but you work.
Olingi mbuma to ndunda te. – You do not like fruit or vegetables.
Soki alobi te, boye ayebi te. – If he does not speak, then she does not know.

2.3.3 Using infinitive verb forms

It’s also possible to construct sentences in Lingala using the infinitive form of any verb. As with most other languages, the infinitive form brings along its natural ‘to’ structure, as in ‘to be’, ‘to have’, ‘to like’, ‘to work’ and so on.

So the English, ‘It is necessary to work’, translates into essentially an identical construction in Lingala – ‘Esengeli kosala’esengeli (it is necessary) and kosala (to work). And ‘She is able to speak’ translates to ‘Akoki koloba’akoki (she is able to) and koloba (to speak).

With the small caveat that a few of these construction patterns will change slightly if you become more advanced and decide to start using the subjective tense later on, you’ll generally be fine starting to put together combinations of conjugated and infinitive forms of verbs. And you’ll be able to say quite a few things, hopefully without too much trouble.

Nasengeli kosala. – I have to work.
Olingi koloba malamu. – You want to speak well.
Ndeko na nagi alingi koyeba. – My brother wants to know.
Bayebi kosomba. – They know to buy.
Tolingi kosomba ndunda. – We want to buy vegetables.

2.4 More verbs and words

By now you should be starting to feel fairly comfortable with some of the basics. Let’s expand your repertoire by adding some components to your Lingala toolkit.

2.4.1 10 more verbs

You’ll likely find yourself using each of these next 10 verbs on a regular basis.

koyoka – (koh-YOH-kah) – to hear
komona – (koh-MOH-nah) – to see
kolamba – (koh-LAM-bah) – to cook
komela – (koh-MEL-ah) – to drink, to smoke or to swallow
kosepela – (koh-SEH-pel-ah) – to be happy or to be content
kozua – (koh-ZOO-ah) – to take (an object, such as a pencil, book or car)
kopesa – (koh-PEH-sah) – to give (an object, such as a pencil, book or car)
kokeba – (koh-KEH-bah) – to pay attention
kobanga – (koh-BAN-gah) – to be afraid
kozela – (koh-ZEL-ah) – to wait

All of these verbs are regular and so are conjugated in exactly the same way as the first 10 verbs that you’ve learned. Accordingly, I’ve only included the first-person singular form – ‘na-‘ – for each of the four basic tenses – present, past, future and imperative – to show how each is constructed. For the remaining forms of each verb tense, substitute the appropriate subject pronoun – na-, o-, a-, to-, bo-, ba-, e- – to generate the meaning you want.

11. koyoka – (koh-YOH-kah) – to hear

nayoki – I hear
nayokaki – I heard
nakoyoka – I will hear
yoka! – hear!

12. komona – (koh-MOH-nah) – to see

namoni – I see
namonaki – I saw
nakomona – I will see
mona! – see!

13. kolamba – (koh-LAM-bah) – to cook

nalambi – I cook
nalambaki – I cooked
nakolamba – I will cook
lamba! – cook!

14. komela – (koh-MEL-ah) – to drink, to smoke or to swallow

nameli – I eat or I drink or I smoke
namelaki – I ate or I drank or I smoked
nakomela – I will eat or I will drink or I will smoke
mela! – drink! or eat! or smoke!

15. kosepela – (koh-SEH-pel-ah) – to be happy or to be content

nasepeli – I am happy or I am content
nasepelaki – I was happy or I was content
nakosepela – I will be happy or I will be content
sepela! – be happy! or be content!

16. kozua – (koh-ZOO-ah) – to take (an object, such as a pencil or a book or a car)

nazui – I take (an object)
nazuaki – I took (an object)
nakozua – I will take (an object)
zua! – take! (an object)

17. kopesa – (koh-PEH-sah) – to give (an object, such as a pencil or a book or a car)

napesi – I give (an object)
napesaki – I gave (an object)
nakopesa – I will give (an object)
pesa! – give! (an object)

18. kokeba – (koh-KEH-bah) – to pay attention

nakebi – I pay attention
nakebaki – I paid attention
nakokeba – I will pay attention
keba! – attention!

19. kobanga – (koh-BAN-gah) – to be afraid

nabangi – I am afraid
nabangaki – I was afraid
nakobanga – I will be afraid
banga! – be afraid!

20. kozela – (koh-ZEL-ah) – to wait

nazeli – I wait
nazelaki – I waited
nakozela – I will wait
zela! – wait!

You can find a full list of Lingala verbs and their English counterparts in section 6.

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Plural forms

Unlike English, where the plural form of most words is indicated with a final ‘s’, the plural form in Lingala most commonly involves a change at the beginning of the word. For the most part, there are four main prefixes that denote more than one of something – ma-, mi-, ba- and bi-.

And for the most part, which prefix is used depends on the first two letters of the singular form of the word. So, for words beginning with ‘mo-’ like motukah (car), the plural form usually starts with ‘mi-’, or in this case, mitukah (cars). Similarly, for words beginning with a double consonant, like ndeke (bird), the plural form almost always begins with ‘ba-’, in this case bandeke (birds).

Although the system doesn’t apply for absolutely every singular to plural conversion, a rule of thumb for the majority of the common word groups is that for words beginning with:

li-, the plural form usually begins with ma- or mi-
mo-, the plural form usually begins with mi- or ba-
ma-, the plural form usually begins with ba-
mu-, the plural form usually begins with mi-
ni-, the plural form usually begins with ba-
e-, the plural form usually begins with bi-
double consonants – nd-, ng-, mw-, etc. – the plural form usually begins with ba-

2.2.2 And some more words

Now that you’ve expanded your verb base, you can also start building up your vocabulary. Here are 50 more words that you’ll likely encounter or want to learn:

awa – (AH-wah) – here
bitabe – (bee-TAH-beh) – banana
bolingo – (boh-LING-oh) – love
ekoya – (eh-KOY-ah) – next, in front of
eleki – (eh-LEH-kee) – past, behind
fololo – (foh-LOH-loh) – flower
fungola – (fun-GOH-lah) – key
ke – (kay) – that
kimia – (KIM-yah) – peace, peaceful
kisi – (KEE-see) – medicine
kiti – (KEE-tee) – chair
kitoko – (kee-TOH-koh) – beautiful, pretty, nice
kuna – (KOO-nah) – there
likambo – (lee-KAM-boh) – problem, dispute
likamwisi – (lee-KAM-wee-see) – wonderful, miraculous
lipa – (LEE-pah) – bread
loso – (LOH-soh) – rice
makasi – (mah-KAH-see) – strong
malembe – (mah-LEM-beh) – slow, slowly
malili – (mah-LEE-lee) – cold, fresh, cool
masanga – (mah-SAN-gah) – alcoholic drink
masanga ya sukali – (mah-SAN-gah yah soo-KAH-lee) – non-alcoholic drink
mawa – (MAH-wah) – sad
mbala – (m-BAH-lah) – potato
mbango – (m-BANG-oh) – quick, fast
mbisi – (m-BEE-see) – fish
mbongo – (m-BONG-oh) – money
mbula – (m-BOO-lah) – rain
mesa – (MEH-sah) – table
mingi – (MING-gee) – very
moi – (MOY-eh) – sun
moke – (moh-KEH) – small, little, a bit, few
mokolo – (moh-KOH-loh) – day
molunge – (moh-LUN-geh) – hot
monganga – (mon-GAHN-gah) – doctor
moninga – (mon-NING-gah) – friend
motuka – (moh-TOO-kah) – car
mposa – (m-POH-sah) – thirst
mutuya – (moo-TOO-yah) – important, expensive, number
ndeke – (n-DEK-eh) – bird
nionso – (nee-ON-soh) – each, every
nyama – (nee-YAH-mah) – meat
nzala – (n-ZAH-lah) – hunger
nzete – (n-ZET-eh) – tree
oyo – (OI-yoh) – this, these
pasi – (PAS-ee) – difficult
pete – (PEH-teh) – easy
sik’oyo – (SEEK-oi-yoh) – now
soso – (SO-so) – chicken
wapi – (wah-PEE) – where

You can find a full list of Lingala vocabulary words and their English counterparts in section 7.

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It’s a miracle!

One of my favourite Lingala words is likamwisi (lee-KAM-wee-see) meaning ‘wonderful’ or ‘miraculous’. It’s suitable for so many Kinshasa occasions, like when the power or water or satellite television finally comes back on, or that document eventually downloads, or it turns out the market vendor actually does have change for that $10 bill. Ezali likamwisi!

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2.3 Irregular verbs – kokende, koya and kolia

Many of you will have no doubt noted the use of the very handy weasel word – ‘almost’ – that’s been employed when highlighting how just about every Lingala verb is reassuringly regular. And probably an equal number of you will know that weasel words like this will sooner or later lead to some important exception somewhere down the line.

And so now we come to that place, and the first irregular verb that you will need to know. And that verb is kokende (to go). Learn it and learn to love it. You’ll use it often.

kokende – to go

To conjugate kokende, it all seems to start off easily enough. For the present tense, drop the ‘ko-’ at the beginning as usual. But in this case, you’ll also need to drop a few more letters – the ‘nde’ – at the end. This will leave just – ‘-ke’. Not much, I know.

Use the appropriate subject pronoun – na-, o-, a-, to-, bo-, ba-, e- – at the beginning as usual.

And then add the final ‘-i’.

So for the present tense, this becomes:

na+ke+i – nakei – (nah-KAY-ee) – I go
o+ke+i – okei – (oh-KAY-ee) – you go
a+ke+i – akei – (ak-KAY-ee) – he/she goes
to+ke+i – tokei – (toh-KAY-ee) – we go
bo+ke+i – bokei – boh-KAY-ee) – you go (plural)
ba+ke+i – bakei – (bah-KAY-ee) – they go
e+ke+i – ekei – (eh-KAY-ee) – it goes

Right, so here’s where it gets a bit tricky. For the remaining three basic tenses, things generally revert back to the same pattern as the regular verbs.

For the past tense, first drop the ‘ko-’, leaving ‘-kende’. Since there isn’t a final ‘-a’ to drop, keep the root as it is and then add ‘-ki’ as normal.

na+kende+ki – nakendeki – (nah-KEN-deh-kee) – I went
o+kende+ki – okendeki – (oh-KEN-deh-kee) – you went
a+kende+ki – akendeki – (ah-KEN-deh-kee) – he/she went
to+kende+ki – tokendeki – (toh-KEN-deh-kee) – we went
bo+kende+ki – bokendeki – (boh-KEN-deh-kee) – you went (plural)
ba+kende+ki – bakendeki – (bah-KEN-deh-kee) – they went
e+kende+ki – ekendeki – (eh-KEN-deh-kee) – it went

The future tense form goes back the system for regular verbs, with the subject pronoun added to the infinitive:

na+kokende – nakokende – (nah-koh-KEN-deh) – I will go
o+kokende – okokende – (oh-koh-KEN-deh) – you will go
a+kokende – akokende – (ah-koh-KEN-deh) – he/she will go
to+kokende – tokokende – (toh-koh-KEN-deh) – we will go
bo+kokende – bokokende – (boh-koh-KEN-deh) – you will go (plural)
ba+kokende – bakokende – (bah-koh-KEN-deh) – they will go
e+kokende – ekokende – (eh-koh-KEN-deh) – it will go

And the imperative also follows the regular verb format. Simply drop the ‘ko-’ at the beginning: ko-kendekende! (KEN-deh) – go!

koya – to come

And, just like London buses, when one irregular verb arrives, so do several more. Only in this case, you’ll need them all. And they’ll be more reliable. And it won’t involve a jobsworth driver who doesn’t care that you didn’t have time to buy a ticket or that you really can’t move any further down the bus.

Anyway, the next irregular verb you’ll need to know is koya (to come). This is where it gets really minimalist.

For the present tense form of koya, drop the ‘ko-’ at the beginning as normal. And then drop the ‘-a’ at the end. This leaves just ‘-y-‘, which isn’t much. Now add the appropriate subject pronoun – na-, o-, a-, etc. – at the beginning as usual. And then, and here’s the tricky part for koya, you add an ‘-e’ at the end. Crazy, I know.

na+y+e – naye – (nah-YEH-ee) – I come
o+y+e – oye – (oh-YEH-ee) – you come
a+y+e – aye – (ah-YEH-ee) – he/she comes
to+y+e – toye – (toh-YEH-ee) – we come
bo+y+e – boye – (boh-YEH-ee) – you come (plural)
ba+y+e – baye – (bah-YEH-ee) – they come
e+y+e – eye – (eh-YEH-ee) – it comes

Fortunately, the conjugations for the past and future tenses revert back to the regular verb system.

For the past tense, follow the regular approach, dropping the ‘ko-‘ as usual, leaving a root of ‘-ya’. Now add the appropriate subject pronoun and ‘-ki’ at the end.

na+ya+ki – nayaki – (nah-YAH-kee) – I came
o+ya+ki – oyaki – (oh-YAH-kee) – you came
a+ya+ki – ayaki – (ah-YAH-kee) – he/she came
to+ya+ki – toyaki – (toh-YAH-kee) – we came
bo+ya-ki – boyaki – (boh-YAH-kee) – you came (plural)
ba+ya+ki – bayaki – (bah-YAH-kee) – they came
e+ya+ki – eyaki – (eh-YAH-kee) – it came

For the future, simply add the appropriate subject pronoun to the infinitive.

na+koya – nakoya – I will come
o+koya – okoya – you will come
a+koya – akoya – he/she will come
to+koya – tokoya – we will come
bo+koya – bokoya – you will come (plural)
ba+koya – bakoya – they will come
e+koya – ekoya – it will come

But koya refuses to come quietly, and it’s the only verb I’ve come across in which the imperative doesn’t follow the usual model.

Unlike every other verb, koya receives an ending – ‘-ka’ – that sets it apart. No one has really ever been able to explain it to me, but I suspect it’s to avoid having ya, the imperative, getting mixed up with ya, the conjunction.

So, the imperative form of koya is ko-ya+ka – yaka! (YAH-kah) – come!

kolia – to eat

Finally, the third irregular verb that you’ll need to know is kolia (to eat). And again, the biggest part of irregular bit occurs in the ending of the present tense.

To conjugate present tense form of kolia, drop the ‘ko-’ at the beginning as usual. Next drop the ‘-ia’ at the end. This leaves a solitary ‘-l’. Now add the appropriate subject pronoun and then – wait for it – add an ‘-ei’ at the end. More craziness, I know.

So the present tense form of kolia becomes:

na+l+ei – nalei – (nah-LEH-ee) – I eat
o+l+ei – olei – (oh-LEH-ee) – you eat
a+l+ei – alei – (ah-LEH-ee) – he/she eats
to+l+ei – tolei – (toh-LEH-ee) – we eat
bo+l+ei – bolei – (boh-LEH-ee) – you eat (plural)
ba+l+ei – balei – (bah-LEH-ee) – they eat
e+l+ei – elei – (eh-LEH-ee) – it eats

That’s the worst of it. All three of the other basic tense forms of kolia mercifully revert back to the regular verb system.

For the past tense, drop the ‘ko-’, leaving ‘-lia’ and then add ‘-ki’ at the end.

na+lia+ki – naliaki – (nah-lee-AH-kee) – I ate
o+lia+ki – oliaki – (oh-lee-AH-kee) – you ate
a+lia+ki – aliaki – (ah-lee-AH-kee) – he/she ate
to+lia+ki – toliaki – (to-lee-AH-kee) – we ate
bo+lia+ki – boliaki – (boh-lee-AH-kee) – you ate (plural)
ba+lia+ki – baliaki – (bah-lee-AH-kee) – they ate
e+lia+ki – eliaki – (eh-lee-AH-kee) – it ate

For the future, add the appropriate subject pronoun to the infinitive.

na+kolia – nakolia – (nah-koh-LEE-ah) – I will eat
o+kolia – okolia – (oh-koh-LEE-ah) – you will eat
a+kolia – akolia – (ah-koh-LEE-ah) – he/she will eat
to+kolia – tokolia – (toh-koh-LEE-ah) – we will eat
bo+kolia – bokolia – (boh-koh-LEE-ah) – you will eat (plural)
ba+kolia – bakolia – (bah-koh-LEE-ah) – they will eat
e+kolia – ekolia – (eh-koh-LEE-ah) – it will eat

And for the imperative, simply drop the ‘ko-’ as usual – ko-lia – lia! (LEE-ah) – eat!

2 Responses to Section 2. Koyeba – to know

  1. LE PROFESSEUR says:

    TRES BIEN

  2. Aine Sam says:

    Merci,’aime le lingala si je suis Ougandais nalingaka Lingala

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