noun classes

The main characteristic of Changana are the noun classes which are common for all Bantu languages. Although noun classes are not easy to grasp they reveal the beauty and depth of the language like nothing else.

In Changana, each noun (things, animals, abstracts etc.) belongs to a specific group, the noun class. The noun class then affects certain grammar aspects like pronouns, verb conjugation and adjectives. Noun classes are somewhat comparable to gender in languages like French or Spanish, where nouns are either male or female.

The below table shows how an adjective like “ku xonga” (beautiful) works in Changana. Whereas in English the adjective remains unchanged, in Changana it has a different prefix depending on the related person or noun. Think of it like in Spanish where you say “casa bonita” (beautiful house) but “coche bonito” (beautiful car) depending on the gender of the nouns.

English Changana  noun-class
beautifulwomannsatiwaku xongamu-va
beautifulwomenvavasativaku xongamu-va
beautifulrabbitmpfundlawaku xongamu-mi
beautifulrabbitsmimfundlayaku xongamu-mi
beautifullemonbomudzaku xongadzi-ma
beautifullemonsmabomuyaku xongadzi-ma
beautifulquestionxivutisoxaku xongaxi-svi
beautifulquestionssvivutisosvaku xongaxi-svi
beautifulearndleveyaku xongayi-ti
beautifulearstindlevetaku xongayi-ti


Still reading? Glad to see that noun classes haven’t put you off!
Enter level 2 and see below how noun classes affect verb conjugation:

English  Changana   Noun Class
it(the rabbit)goes(wona)(a mpfundla)wafambamu-mi
they(the rabbits)go(yona)(a mimfundla)yafambamu-mi
it(the lemon)goes(drona)(a bomu)dzafambadri-ma
they(the lemons)go(wona)(a mabomu)mafambadri-ma
it(the question)goes(xona)(a xivutiso)xafambaxi-svi
they(the questions)go(svona)(a svivutiso)svafambaxi-svi
it(the ear)goes(yona)(a ndleve)yafambayi-ti
they(the ears)go(tona)(a tindleve)tafambayi-ti

(Note: The verb “to go” doesn’t make sense when used with nouns like question or ear. It is used to show how the grammar works)