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  • Chichewa Lesson #3: Gramatical Structure
  • Marissa Saints
  • ChichewaMalawi

Chichewa Lesson #3: Gramatical Structure

Word of the day

Tathakoza = Thank You
literally translates = We are (Ta) grateful (Tahkoza)
Pronounced = ta-t-ha-koh-zaa

Prepositions

ku = I/me
mu = in
pa = on

Personal Pronouns

Ine = I/me
Iwe = you (informal)
Inu = you (formal)
Iye = he/she
Ife = we/us
Iwo = they

Subject Pronouns

ndi = I
mu = you
a = he/she/they
ti = we

Tense Infixes

ku = present
na = past
dza = future
ma = always
a = immediate past

Making Sentences

I want to eat nsima.
Ndikufuna kudya nsima.
I (ndi) want (kufuna - "ku" is present tense) to eat (kudya) nsima (nsima).

Key Expressions & Words

Pephani = sorry

Mwadzuka bwanji? = Good morning, how are you?
literally translates: You (mwa) woke (dzuka) how (bwanji)?

Muli bwanji? = How are you?
literally translates: You (mu) are (li) how (bwanji)?

Ndili bwino = I am fine
Moni = Hello (formal)
Wawa = Hi (informal)
Zikomo = Thank You
Tiwonana mawa = Good bye, see you later/tomorrow

Mwapanga bwanji = How much does this cost?
literally translates: You (mwa) to make (panga) how (bwanji)?

Verbs "To Be" & "To Have"

Present
- li (am)

Past
- nali (was)

Future
- dzakhala (will be)

Example
Ndinali bwino.
I (ndi) was (nali) good/fine (bwino).

Present
- lindi (have)

Past
- nalindi (had)

Future
- dzakhalandi (will have)

Example
Analindi ndalama dzulo.
He (ana) had (lindi) money (ndalama) yesterday (dzulo).

Verbs (Action)

ex- Infinitive form of verbs (with particle "to")
ku + verb
---------
kuvina = to dance
kudya = to eat
kupanga = to make
kuchira = to feel better / to finish
kumwa = to drink
kumva = to feel / to hear
kuwona = to see
kufuna = to want/need
kukonda = to like/love
kuyenda = to travel
kuganiza = to think
kupeza = to find
kuchokera = to come from

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A special thank you to Michael Buckler for this lesson. Buckler is a former Malawi Peace Corps Volunteer and author of the new book, From Microsoft to Malawi

  • Marissa Saints
  • ChichewaMalawi