In this post, we’re gonna see how to conjugate in Ciluba. I chose here a few common verbs.

être/to be
boire/to drink
manger/to eat
dormir/to sleep
je suis
tu es
il/elle/on est
nous sommes
vous êtes
ils/elles sont
ndi nwà
je bois
udi unwà
tu bois
ùdi unwà
il/elle/on boit
tudi tunwà
nous buvons
nudi nunwà
vous buvez
badi badwà
ils/elles boivent
ndi ndyà
je mange
udi udyà
tu manges
ùdi udyà
il/elle/on mange
tudi tudyà
nous mangeons
nudi nudyà
vous mangez
badi badyà
ils/elles mangent
ndi ndààla
je dors
udi ulààla
tu dors
ùdi ulààla
il/elle/on dort
tudi tulààla
nous dormons
nudi nulààla
vous dormez
badi balààla
ils/elles dorment

I am not gonna show the verb “to have” as it is the same as “to be”. In Ciluba, “to have” is translated as “to be with”, therefore, all you have to do is add the preposition “with”  or “nè” in Ciluba to transform “to be”, kwikala, into “to have”, kwikala ne.

Mema ndi mukaji: I am a woman
Ndi nè mukanda: I have a book
Ndi nè mutu: I have a headache

Power Figure Luba
Power Figure Luba

As a general rule, when you have the infinitive form of a verb, for examples kudyà, kunwà, all you have to do to conjugate it is to drop the infinitive prefix ku- and keep the verb stem -dyà, -nwà, then add the personal pronoun according to want you want to say:

n- => ndi = I (am)
u- => udi = you (are)
u- => ùdi = she/he (is)
tu- => tudi = we (are)
nu- => nudi = you (are)
ba- => badi = they (are)

Of course, it wouldn’t be fun if there wasn’t any exceptions. Kwikala is one (it is a special verb that is also used as auxiliary and its conjugated form is also used as personal pronouns). We’ll check them out as we go. Note that in the dictionaries you will often find the verb stem as the entry. It makes sense, I believe, otherwise there would be thousands of words under “ku-” and nothing in the other sections… 🙂

N.B.: verbs of which stem starts with L transform NL into ND at the first person of singular, to ease pronunciation.

-lààla -> ndi ndààla -> I sleep
-lela -> ndi ndela -> I give birth
-lekela -> ndi ndekela -> I leave

Check out the second part

Post a comment if you have any question…

Part II | Part III

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