Grammar: Present Tense and Imperative

Grammar: Present Tense and Imperative

For the present tense of verbs, the verb stem is used. If the personal pronoun follows the verb (which is the case for the first person inseparable pronoun), an a- or e- prefix is attached to the verb stem in line with the vowel harmony, i.e. an a- prefix for verb stems with an a, ï, ö or ü vowel; an e- prefix for verb stems with an i, e, o or u vowel:

bi live (verb stem) chï carry (something in the hand) (verb stem)
ebi m I live achï m I carry

This prefix falls away with the other pronouns. The second and third person inseparable pronouns harmonise with the verb stems:

i bi you live ï chï you carry
o bi he lives ö chï he carries

Separable pronouns do not require harmonisation:

anyï bi we live anyï chï we carry
unu bi you (pl.) live unu chï you carry
ha bi they live ha chï they carry
mü na gï bi me and you live mü na gï chï me and you carry

Other example:

be (verb stem)
abü m Mike I am Mike
ï bü emeka you are Emeka
ö bü emeka he is Emeka
anyï bü Mike na Emeka we are Mike and Emeka
unu bu Mike na Emeka you are Mike and Emeka
ha bü Mike na Emeka they are Mike and Emeka

The negative present tense is formed by harmonising the verb stem with the harmonising prefix a or e and suffix ghi or ghï in the following manner:

abüghï m Nick I am not Nick
aha m bü Michael; aha m abüghï Nick my name is Michael; my name is not Nick.
anyï chï anü we carry meat
unu akwöghï anyï you do not carry us
ebi m na Achara Layout I live in Achara Layout
ebighi m na GRA I do not live in GRA

The imperative uses the verb stem without any prefix:

nye give
gwa tell

The imperative can be followed by a noun or pronoun:

nye m ego give me money
gwa m tell me
kwuo ya say it
züö akwa buy a cloth
unu zaa ala you (pl.) sweep the floor
ka ha gaa let them leave
ka anyi laa let us go (home)
ka anyi gaa let us leave

The negative imperative is formed with the prefix e- or a- and suffix –ne or –la, both harmonising with the verb stem:

erine do not eat
azala do not sweep
unu azala you do not sweep the floor


Grammar: Numerals

otu 1
abüö 2
atö 3
anö 4
ise 5
isii 6
asaa 7
asatö 8
itolu 9
iri 10
iri na otu 11
iri na atö 13
iri abüö 20
iri abüö na otu 21
iri atö 30
iri atö na otu 31
iri asatö 80
iri itolu 90
narï 100
narï abüö 200
puku 1,000
puku atö na iri abüö na iri 3,210
nde 1,000,000
ijeri 1,000,000,000
ökara half

Only otu and ökara precede the noun; the other numbers follow the noun:

otu ülö one house
ülö ise five houses
otu naira one naira
naira abüö two naira
ökara naira half a naira

Note that the noun does not change if it is in plural.

The ordinal numbers are as follows:

mbü first
nke abüö second
nke atö third
nke anö fourth


ülö mbu the first house
ülö nke abüö the second house
abü m mbu I am first

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