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Kinyarwanda language

Kinyarwanda language

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Spoken in: Rwanda 
Region: Central Africa
Total speakers: 7 million
Language family: Niger-Congo
      Narrow Bantu
Official status
Official language of: Rwanda
Regulated by: no official regulation
Language codes
ISO 639-1: rw
ISO 639-2: kin
ISO/FDIS 639-3: kin 

Kinyarwanda is the chief spoken language in Rwanda. It is also spoken in the east of DRC and in the south of Uganda (Bufumbira-area). Kinyarwanda is a tonal language of the Bantu language family (Guthrie D61). Kinyarwanda is closely related to Kirundi spoken in the neighboring country, Burundi and to Giha of western Tanzania.

The inhabitants of Rwanda and Burundi belong to three different ethnic groups (Although the validity of the ethnic nature is debatable; see [1]): Hutu, Tutsi, and Twa. The fact that these ethnic groups share the same language is assumed to be the result of the Hutu outnumbering the latter two groups (see Hutu for a more complete historical perspective).


[edit] Pronunciation

a [ɑ]

b [b/β]

c [c]

d [d]

e [e]

f [f]

g [g]

h [h]

i [i]

j [ʤ]

k [k]

l [l]

m [m]

n [n]

o [o]}

p [p] (stands alone only in foreign loanwords)

r [ɾ]

s [s]

t [t]

u [u]

v [v]

w [w]

y [j]

z [z]

sh [ɕ]

nt [nh]

mp [mh]

nk [ŋx]

cy [kj]

jy [gj]

ny [ɲ]

'ki' and 'ke' can be pronounced interchangeably as [ki] and [ke] or [ci] and [ce] according to speaker's preference

An 'a', 'e', or 'i' at the end of a word followed by a word starting with a vowel often follows a pattern of omission (observed in the following excerpt of the Rwandan anthem) in common speech, though the orthography REMAINS THE SAME.

e.g. 'Reka tukurate tukuvuge ibigwi wowe utubumbiye hamwe twese Abanyarwanda uko watubyaye berwa, sugira, singizwa iteka.' would be pronounced as 'reka tukurate tukuvug' ibigwi wow' utubumiye hamwe twes' abanyarwand' uko watubyaye berwa, sugira singizw' iteka.'

[edit] Grammar

[edit] Nouns

Kinyarwanda has a number of different noun classes.





i-ki- (i-gi-)/i-bi-







When preceded by a demonstrative, the vowel prefix is dropped. (e.g. umu --> mu) The u-mu-/a-ba- group is used for words representing humans.

[edit] Verbs

All Kinyarwanda verb infinitives begin with 'gu-' or 'ku-' (morphed into 'gw-' or 'kw-' before vowels). To conjugate, the infinitive prefix is removed and a prefix agreeing with the subject takes its place. Then a tense infix can be inserted.

Noun Prefix | Subject Prefix

Sing./Pl. | Sing./Pl.

u-mu-/a-ba- | a-/ba-

u-mu-/i-mi- | u-/i-

i-(ri)-/a-ma- | ri-/a-

i-ki- (i-gi-)/i-bi- | ki- (morphs to cy- before vowels)/bi-

i-n-/i-n- | i-/zi-

u-ru-/i-bi- | ru-/bi-

a-ka-/u-tu- | ka-/tu-

u-bu-/u-bu- | bu-/bu-

u-ku-/a-ma- | ku-/a-

a-ha-/a-ha- | ha-/ha-

The prefixes for pronouns are as follows.

I = n-

you (sing.) = mu-

he = y-/a-

she = y-/a-

we = tu-

you (pl.) = u-

they (human) = ba-

Tense markers include the following.

-Ø- | Present

-ra- (morphs to -da- when preceded by 'n' | Present Progressive - to be doing

-za- | Future - will do

-racya- | to still be doing

The past tense can be formed by using the present and present progressive infixes and modifying the apect marker suffix.

[edit] Example translations

Yego Yes
Oya No
Ndabizi I know
Simbizi I don't know
Amazi Water
Ndashaka amazi I want water
Urushaka ikawa Do you want coffee?
Bite Byawe? How are you? (Informal)
Witwa nde? What is your name?
Toilete iri hehe? Where's the bathroom?
Nitwa… My name is…
Amahoro Peace
Murakoze Thank you
Amakuru How are you? (formal)
Nimeza (I'm) fine
Igicucu Stupid person
Nkunda abaturage b'u Rwanda I like Rwandan people
Ndi... I am...
Abana Children
Igiparu Good conversation
Inka Cow
Muraho Hello
Murabeho Bye
Ijororyiza Good night
Mwaramutseho Good morning (Did you wake up well?)
Inyenzi Cockroach(es)
Umupanga Machete
Izuba sun
Ingurube Pig
Inzu House
Itsembabwoko Genocide

[edit] References

  • Jouannet, Francis (ed.) (1983). Le Kinyarwanda, langue bantu du Rwanda. Paris: Société d’Études Linguistiques et Anthropologiques de France (SELAF).
  • Kimenyi, Alexandre (1980). A Relational Grammar of Kinyarwanda. University of California Press.
  • Habumuremyi, Emmanuel et al. (2006). IRIZA-STARTER 2006: The 1st Kinyarwanda-English and English-Kinyarwanda Dictionary. Kigali: Rural ICT-Net

[edit] External links


de:Kinyarwanda es:Idioma kinyarwanda eo:Ruanda lingvo fr:Kinyarwanda rw:Kinyarwanda rn:Kinyarwanda pl:Język ruanda-rundi fi:Ruandan kieli

Kinyarwanda language

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