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Lesson 4
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Roko, roko, roko. Ai yonku. -  Context, context, context. And pronouns.

Over the lessons, we gathered the six basic pronouns of Kah bit by bit. The complete set of basic pronouns is:

 wa - I

 li - you (singular)

 yu - he, she

 wanyo - we

 linyo - you (plural)

 yunyo - they


These can be placed directly in front of a verb in order to form a verbal phrase:

wa jo - I know

li jo - you know

yu jo - he knows

wanyo jo - we know

linyo jo - you (plural) know

yunyo jo - they know

wa keju - I want

wa jam - I do

wa weyun - I see

wa tengi - I can

li kiza - you eat

yu nenju - he likes

wanyo de - we come

linyo wera - you sit

yunyo de - they go/come

keju - to want

jam - to do

weyun - to see

tengi - to be able to

kiza - to eat

nenju - to like, love

de - to come

wera - to sit

de - to go


Paragraph 4.1 -  Context

In Kah however, it is customary not to express things that are obvious from the context. In this context this means pronouns are omitted in many utterances. Compare the interpretation of the utterance nen in the following examples:

Fatimeh: -Haya la?

Fatime: -How are you?

Huan: -Nen.

Juan: -I'm fine. 

Fatimeh: -Haya la uba?

Fatime: -How is your father?

Huan: -Nen.

Juan: -He is fine.

Fatimeh: -Haya la vanyo?

Fatime: -How is your family?

Huan: -Nen.

Juan: -They are fine.

Now please note how verbs are rarely accompanied by pronouns in the following conversation:

Huan: -Hea! Fatimeh!

Juan: -Hey! Fatime!

Fatimeh: -Hea, Huan! Haya la?

Fatime: -Hey Juan! How are you? 

Huan: -Shau shai, li mau ha?

Juan: -So-so, and you too?

Fatimeh: -Nen sisi, pai.

Fatime: -I'm just fine, thanks. 

Huan: -Vanyo ha?

Juan: -And you family?

Fatimeh: -Nen. Ai vanyo na li ha?

Fatime: -They're fine. And what about your family? 

Huan: -Nen.

Huan: -They are fine.

Fatimeh: -Ha, weyun uba tatau?

Fatime: -Say, have you seen your father lately?

Huan: -Reshi, reshi. Nen wi.

Huan: -Sure, sure. He is doing very well.

Fatimeh: -Nenju wehim!

Fatime: -Glad to hear that!

Huan: -Jo, wanyo mau.

Huan: -I know, so are we.

Fatimeh: -Soi kamai yu.

Fatime: -Please extend my greetings to him.


hea - hey! hey there!

shau shai - "fine", "so-so" (literally: "like this like that")

mau - also, too

tatau - recently, lately

reshi - sure, of course

wehim - to hear

nenju wehim - glad to hear that (lit: "I like to hear that")

soi - please, "I politely request"

kamai - to greet, extend one's greetings to (through another person)


Paragraph 4.2 -  More pronouns

Ling: -Hea! Mailih!

Ling: -Hey! Meili!

Mailih: -Hea, Ling! Memea zai, haya to?

Meili: -Hey Ling! Dear sister, what happened? 

Ling: -Yayang tom, hamun?

Ling: -Nothing happened, why?

Mailih: -Weyun lilo lo! Boboi!

Meili: -Look at yourself! You're all smudged! 

Ling: -Ai ha?

Ling: -So what?

Mailih: -De lo! Shim lilo!

Meili: -Come here you! Wash yourself! 

Ling: -Lilo de kemun shim wa!

Ling: -You come try to wash me yourself!

Mailih: -Haya lo?

Meili: -Excuse me?

Ling: -Nenju boboi.

Ling: -I like being dirty

Mailih: -Weyun sisi en mama nenju mau!

Meili: -You just see if mom likes it too!

Ling: -Nong lo! Soi nong ka! Shim walo!

Ling: -Oh no! Please don't tell her! I'll wash myself!

Mailih: -Ha ho?

Meili: -Oh really?

Ling: -Yoyong. Mama mwenu vivi en yulo hiza wa eye.

Ling: -Nope. Mom is too slow to catch me herself anyway.


to - to happen, take place

memea - sis, sister (intimate and informal)

zai - dear

yayang - nothing

hamun? - why?

lilo - yourself

boboi - dirty, smudged

ai ha? - so what? (lit: and?)

shim - to wash, clean

kemun - try

haya lo? - excuse me? (lit: what!?)

en - that, if, wether

mama - mom, mommy (intimate and informal)

nong lo - oh no! nooo!

ka - to say, say to, tell

walo - myself

ha ho? - oh really?

ho - real, really

yoyong - not at all, nope, don't think so, none whatsoever

mwenu - slow

vivi - too, too much, too many

yulo - himself, herself

hiza - to catch (after chasing)

eye - anyway, anyhow

The conversation above shows some reflexive pronouns, which are a combination of a basic pronoun and the intensive marker lo. For example, the word for "I" wa is combined with lo to form walo"myself". The complete set of reflexive pronouns and some more Kah pronouns are:

walo - myself

lilo - yourself

yulo - himself, herself

walonyo - ourselves

lilonyo - yourselves

yulonyo - themselves

ya - it

yanyo - they, multiple inanimate objects

yalo - itself

yalonyo - themselves, said of multiple inanimate objects

noyom - each other

In the conversation above, Meili adresses her sister as memea, whereas the word for "sister" seemed to be mea a bit earlier. This is because there is a difference between informal terms as used between family members and the way to refer to these family members to the outside world.

For example, one would always talk about his father as uba when conversing with someone from outside the family, but would speak about him with his family members or adress his father directly as baba. In the same line of thinking spouses refer to one another as vava when conversing with each other, but in conversations with outsiders the words vabu and vawana  for "husband" and "wife" respectively are used:

Reshah: -Hea Anup!

Resha: -Hey Anup!

Anup: -Eo vava?

Anup: -Yes dear?

Reshah: -Nong yonso wai!

Resha: -You didn't flush again!


Resha: -Hea Patak!

Resha: -Hey Patak!

Resha: -Hea Reshah, haya la?

Resha: -Hey Resha, what's up?

Resha: -Weyun vabu ha?

Resha: -Have you seen my husband?


Rober: -Haya la uba?

Robert: -How is your father?

Giyom: -Nen sisi.

Guillaume: -He's just fine.


Rober: -Haya la baba?

Robert: -How's dad?

Mod: -Nen sisi.

Maud: -He's just fine.

The table below shows all words with a formal and informal equivalent:

uma - mother

uba - father

mea - sister

bua - brother

vabu - husband

vawana - wife

ben - child

mama - mommy

baba - daddy

memea - sis

bubua - bro

vava - dear, spouse

vava - dear, spouse

bembe - dear, child

And the following table shows some superformal forms which are used to express official titles:

ba - mister

ma - miss

ba Kan - Mister Khan

ma Simis - Miss Smith

ba Kaitah - Mister Keita

ma Peron - Miss Peron


Make the following exercises:

Translate into Kah:

1.  I see Meili's father.

2.  Nothing happened.

3.  How is your brother lately?

4.  My sister sure knows.

5.  How is the child of the brother of the sister of your father?

6.  I'm fine, thanks.

7.  My mother knows everything.

8.  Please eat!

9.  Please greet him for me.

10.  Mister Kocharian, please tell me how you are?

11.  I want to eat.

12.  I want to go to your family.

13.  My husband does not want to clean himself.

14.  Did you see my brother go?

15.  Did you see it happen?