Pronominal Prefixes

One of the early challenges in learning Kunwok is the pronominal prefixes. We'll break it down to make it easier to learn.

Pronominal prefixes are a bit like pronouns, such as I, you, she. However, they are attached to verbs. For example:

  • ngare (I go) is made up of nga- (I) and re (go)
  • yire is made up of yi- (you) and re (go)

Can you form expressions with bidbun (climb), mankan (fall), keyo (sleep), bebme (arrive), and nalkbun (cry)? When you're ready, click on "expand" to see the answers.

I climb you climb I fall you fall I sleep you sleep I arrive you arrive I cry you cry
ngabidbun yibidbun ngamankan yimankan ngakeyo yikeyo ngabebme yibebme nganalkbun yinalkbun

NB ngabidbun can mean any of: I climb (present simple), I am climbing (present progressive), I will climb (future simple), I will be climbing (future progressive). Context will usually make it clear which sense is intended.

Two kinds of verbs:
Before getting started, it helps to understand the difference between transitive and intransitive verbs.
Transitive verbs transfer their action from the do-er to something/someone, from the agent to the patient (e.g. find, follow, deceive, look after).
Intransitive verbs lack any object to receive the action (e.g. sleep, run, sit, return).
Sometimes a given verb has a transitive sense and a related intransitive sense (e.g. play, grow, read, win).
Read more about transitive and intransitive verbs.

Pronominal Prefixes with Intransitive Verbs

Pronominal Prefixes with Transitive Verbs