The Mafulu eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 349 pages of information about The Mafulu.

1.  A final o sometimes changes to u if the word following begins with a vowel.

Ex. oko, some, a little, kuk’ oku ind’ uno, give him some tobacco to smoke.

2.  An initial o, on the other hand, sometimes changes to u when the preceding word begins with a.

Ex. ongo, under; na ungo ando, remain at my feet.

3.  The final a of the word na, I, becomes e when it is followed by the verb indi in the imperative.

Ex. ne i, ne inde, give me, but nuga na indi, thou hast given me.


I. Gender.

There is no modification or grammatical difference to mark gender.

Sex is indicated by separate words in the case of human beings:  an(e) man, me(le) boy, ena(ne) brother, amu(le) woman, ame(le) girl, eta(de) sister.

For mammals the words avoge, male, or momobe, female, follow the noun:  ovol’ avoge, boar, ovo’ momobe, sow.

Dr. Strong notes that the sex of birds is sometimes denoted by the adjective ifa(ne), good, i.e., “ornamented,” for the male bird, and ifan’ ul’ amu, the “wife of the ornamented” for the female:  uruv’ ifa, the male hornbill; uruv’ ifan ul’ amu, the female hornbill.

II.  Number.

Only nouns indicating persons have been found with plurals.  These are formed by changing the final e to i. Sometimes the e is changed to a; this may indicate the dual.

Ex. amu(le) woman, plur. amuli and amula; so(le), young man, plur. soli and sola; me(le), child, plur. meli and mela.

Note (1).  The word a(ne) man, has a double plural in two different meanings:  ani, the men; ake(da) the married men.

(2).  The shortened form of the word is often used in the plural.  This naturally is the same as the singular.

III.  Case.

1.  There is no modification of the noun to express case, but the equivalents of cases are shown by suffixes.  The vocative alone often takes a final a as in the interrogative form.

Ex. Tayova, a tsia! Tayo, come here!

The subject, direct object, and indirect object are however easily recognised by their position in the sentence.  The subject comes first, followed by the direct object, then the indirect object if there be one, with the verb at the end.  If there are complements they immediately precede the word which governs them.

Ex. naga kuku nu inde, I tobacco to thee gave; Baiv’ u mega nembe u fod’ al’ ema, Baiva’s child bird his bow-with killed; nuni ake mu letsi gatsi, thou men their village-to will-go.

Project Gutenberg
The Mafulu from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
Follow Us on Facebook