African Ecology




IsiXhosa


Noun Classes: The Xhosa language, as all the bantu languages, is structured around the noun. There are 15 noun classes in the bantu languages. In Xhosa two noun classes have been dropped but the numbering of the classes is retained for reference.

Class
Prefix
Description
Example
1
Um
Singular; Personal nouns only
Um + ntu = Umntu = A person; Umhlobo = friend
2
Aba
Plural of Class 1
Aba + ntu = Abantu = People; abahlobo = friends
1a
U
Singular; Personal proper nouns; Kinship terms; Some personal nouns; A few animals; Miscellaneous
U + bhuti = Ubhuti = Brother; UJohn = John; Unomadudwane = scorpion
2a
Oo (prounounced like "awe")
Plural of 1a
Oobhuti = brother and others; OoJohn
3
Um
Singular; Exclusively non-personal; Some anatomical terms; Names of trees, Some nouns derived from verbs; Miscellaneous
Um + vubu = Umvubu = hippo; Umngcunube = willow tree; Umbuzo = a question (from Ukubuza = to ask); umpu = gun
4
Imi
Plural of 3
Imi + vubu = Imivubu = hippos; Imipu = guns
5
I or Ili (for one syllable stems)
Singular; Anatomical terms, especially for paired body parts; Nouns refering to individuals of a particular ethnic group, Miscellaneous personal nouns; Words borrowed from other languages; A few animal names; Miscellaneous
Ili + fu = Ilifu = cloud; Idolo = knee; iNgesi = English person; Igqhira = traditional doctor; Ipolisa = policeman/woman; Isele = frog; Ixesha = time
6
Ama
Plural of 5; Some liquids and abstract nouns take this prefix
Ama + fu = Amafu = clouds; Amanzi = water; Amandla = strenth, power, force
7
Isi
Singular; All languages or ways of doing things in a particular culture; Words from other languages that begin with "s"; Ordinal numbers; Certain personal nouns; Miscellaneous
Isi + Xhosa = IsiXhosa = Xhosa language, culture, and way of doing things; Isikolo = school; Isibini = second; Isidenge = fool; Isifo = disease
8
Izi
Plural of 7
Izi + denge = Izidenge = fools
9
I, In, Im
Singular; Most animal names; Most words from other languages; A few personal nouns; Certain nouns derived from verbs; Miscellaneous
Ingwe = leopard; Iti = tea; Intombi = girl; Inthetho = speech (from Ukuthetha to speak); Indlela = path, road, way
10
Ii, Iin, Izin, Iim
Plural of 9
Iin + tombi = Iintombi = girls; Izingwe = leopards
11
Ulu, U
Singular; Certain nouns derived from verbs; Miscellaneous; *Plural is Class 10
U + sana = Usana = baby; Uthando = love (From ukuthanda to love); Uluthi = stick (Izinthi = sticks)
14
Ubu
Singular without a plural form; Certain abstract nouns; Miscellaneous
Ubu + ntu = Ubuntu = humanity; Ububele = kindness; Ububi = badness; ugliness; Ubuhle = beauty; Ubusi = honey; Ubusuku = night
15
Uku or Ukw
Equivalent to the English infinitive to or gerund -ing
Uku + fa = Ukufa = to die, dying, death; Ukutya = to eat, eating, food; Ukwenza = to do, doing


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