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Verbs[edit | edit source]

All Kinyarwanda verb infinitives begin with 'gu-' or 'ku-' (morphed into 'gw-' or 'kw-' before vowels). To conjugate, the infinitive prefix is removed and a prefix agreeing with the subject takes its place. Then a tense infix can be inserted.

Noun Prefix | Subject Prefix

Sing./Pl. | Sing./Pl.

u-mu-/a-ba- | a-/ba-

u-mu-/i-mi- | u-/i-

i-(ri)-/a-ma- | ri-/a-

i-ki- (i-gi-)/i-bi- | ki- (morphs to cy- before vowels)/bi-

i-n-/i-n- | i-/zi-

u-ru-/i-bi- | ru-/bi-

a-ka-/u-tu- | ka-/tu-

u-bu-/u-bu- | bu-/bu-

u-ku-/a-ma- | ku-/a-

a-ha-/a-ha- | ha-/ha-

The prefixes for pronouns are as follows.

I = n-

you (sing.) = mu-

he = y-/a-

she = y-/a-

we = tu-

you (pl.) = u-

they (human) = ba-

Tense markers include the following.

-Ø- | Present

-ra- (morphs to -da- when preceded by 'n' | Present Progressive - to be doing

-za- | Future - will do

-racya- | to still be doing

The past tense can be formed by using the present and present progressive infixes and modifying the apect marker suffix.