Section 5. Binomials

5. Binomials

It can sometimes be helpful to think of pairs of related words – I call them ‘binomials’ – when trying to master or memorise vocabulary. Here are some to get you going, although you’ll no doubt find many more to add and use as you become more proficient.

5.1 Verb binomials

kobanda – to start
kosila – to finish

kokoma – to arrive
kobima – to leave

kofungola – to open
kokanga – to close

kosiba – to make love
kobunda – to make war

koya – to come
kokende – to go

kolala – to sleep
kolamuka – to wake

kokundola – to remember
kobasana – to forget

kotanga – to read
kokoma – to write

kobotoma – to be born
kokunda – to bury

kopusa – to push
kobenda – to pull

kotambola – to walk
kokima – to run

kolamba – to cook
kolia – to eat

koseka – to laugh
kolela – to cry

kofanda – to live
kokufa – to die

kopesa – to give
kozua – to take

kobakisa – to add
kolongola – to remove

komata – to climb
kokita – to descend

koluka – to search
kokuta – to find

kotelema – to stand
kofanda – to sit

kosepela – to be happy
kosilika – to be angry

kotuna – to ask a question
koyanola – to answer

kotumbula – to joke
koseka moke – to smile

kosokola – to wash
kopangusa – to dry

kosomba – to buy
koteka – to sell

koteya – to preach
komina – to repent

koyemba – to sing
koyoka – to listen

kobala – to marry
kokabwana – to separate

kobeta – to hit
kozoka – to hurt

koyekola – to learn
koyeba – to know

kofinga – to insult
kolimbisa – to forgive

kopasola – to break
kokamba – to repair

kolonga – to win
kopola – to lose

kosala – to work
kosana – to play

kobanda – to start
kosuka – to stop

kotinda – to send
kozua – to receive

kolingisa – to allow
kopesika – to forbid

kobela – to be sick
kobika – to be cured

5.2 Noun and adjective binomials

mbango – fast
malembe – slow

likolo – up
nse – down

nakati – in
libanda – out

molunge – hot
malili – cold

mobali – man
mwasi – woman

pete – easy
pasi – difficult

penza – true
lokuta – false

bopeto – clean
bosoto – dirty

moyi – day
butu – night

mayele – intelligent
zoba – stupid

bitumba – war
kimia – peace

mulayi – tall
mukuse – short

loboko – hand
lokolo – foot

ngomba – mountain
lobwaku – valley

sika – new
kala – old

likambo – question
eyano – answer

moninga – friend
mopaya – stranger

mwinda – light
elili – shadow

ndeke – bird
nzoi – bee

likolo – sky
mabele – earth

niao – cat
mbwa – dog

mwindu – black
pembe – white

esango – happy
mawa – sad

makila – blood
mayi – water

mwana mobali – boy
mwana mwasi – girl

mesa – table
kiti – chair

molakisi – teacher
moyekoli – student

mungwa – salt
pilipili – pepper

ngomba – mountain
lobwaku – valley

moi – sun
sanza – moon

mopepe – wind
mbula – rain

moninga – friend
monguna – enemy

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