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Adjectives are words that describe other words, such as nouns. Depending on what you are describing, they may have different beginnings or small joining words before them.

Adjectives with a connector

Most Shiyeyi adjectives are written the same way as Setswana adjectives: with a connecting word after the noun and before the adjective. The connecting word is determined by the noun class. The beginning of the adjective is also determined by the noun class and often (though not always) matches the beginning of the noun. The similarities can be seen here:

Shiyeyi

Shiyeyi Example

Setswana

Setswana Example

-kando

umutu yo mukando, big person

-tona

motho yo motona, big person


aŵatu wa wakando, big people


batho ba batona, big people

-re

rweendo ro rure, long journey

-leele

loeto lo loleele, long journey

-piya

umwaka wo mupiya, new year

-ša

ngwaga o moša, new year

-sipa

ziraro ze zisipa, black clothes

-ntsho

diaparo tse dintsho, black clothes

-ndji

izutu zii zindji, many things

-ntsi

dilo tse dintsi, many things

-mwe

wambiyaa wa awamwe, other friends

-ngwe

ditsala tse dingwe, other friends


Adjectives without a connector

There are Shiyeyi adjectives that are written without a connecting word. In these cases, some part of the adjective is determined by the noun class and often (though not always) matches the beginning of the noun. This is similar to what can happen in Setswana, though not an exact match in all cases. The similarities and differences can be seen here:

Shiyeyi

Shiyeyi Example

Setswana

Setswana Example

koo–o

aŵatu koowo, all people

-otlhe

batho botlhe, all people


ruyimbo kooro, the whole song


pina yotlhe, the whole song

-mwe

wambiyaa awamwe, certain friends

-ngwe

ditsala tse dingwe, certain friends

-ake

ldina ldake, his name

-a gagwe

leina la gagwe, his name

-oo/-aa

munyana yoo, that man

-oo/-aa

monna yoo, that man


wanyana waa, those men


banna bao, those men

-nii

shisuu tjinii, this job/task

-no

tiro eno, this job/task


zisuu zinii, these jobs/tasks


ditiro tseno, these jobs/tasks

-naa

muti wunaa, that tree (far)

-le

setlhare sele, that tree (far)


miti yinaa, those trees (far)


ditlhare tsele, those trees (far)


With the adjectives of relationship, such as -ake, his, it should be noted that these will occasionally attach directly to the end of the noun that they follow. This only happens with mu- words that are talking about people or relatives. For example:

ldina ldanga, my name; --- BUT ---

mukuranga, my elder brother/sister

waanga, my husband

Note that the last example, waanga, is written with two aa together, whereas in the word mukuranga the u that is normally found at the end of the word mukuru, elder brother/sister, has been “swallowed up” by the adding of anga, my. This is because, in slow, careful speech, the two separate a sounds can still clearly be heard in waanga (and other examples). The best way to know whether there will be 1 or 2 a letters written is by listening closely to hear how many a sounds there are when the word is spoken carefully.

Adjective formation examples

Adjectives with a connector

Shiyeyi

Shiyeyi Example

Connector

Shiyeyi Examples

mu-

umutu, person

yo mu-

umutu yo muqa, good person

wa-

aŵatu, people

wa wa-

aŵatu wa waqa, good people

mu-

muzi, village

wo mu-

muzi wo muncene, small village

mi-

mizi, villages

ye mi-

mizi ye mincene, small villages

ldi-

ldina, name

lde ldi-

ldina lde ldipiya, new name

ma-

mana, names

nga ma-

mana nga mapiya, new names

shi-

shilduwa, food

she shi-

shilduwa she shitjhatjha, tasty food

zi-

zilduwa, foods

ze zi-

zilduwa ze zitjhatjha, tasty foods

i(n)-

inywaka, snake

yi in-

inywaka yi insipa, black snake

zi(n)-

zinywaka, snakes

ze zin-

zinywaka ze zinsipa, black snakes

ru-

rupati, rib

ro ru-

rupati ro rure, long rib

zi-

zimpati, ribs

ze zi-

zimpati ze zire, long ribs

wu-

wuyimi, life

wo mu-

wuyimi wo wure, long life

ka-

kati, twig

ka ka-

kati ka kancene, small twig

tu-

tuti, twigs

to tu-

tuti to tuncene, small twigs

Adjectives of relationship

Shiyeyi

-anga

my

-we

your (sg)

-ake

his/her

-etu

our

-enu

your (pl)

-awo

their

mu-

anga

we

ake

etu

enu

awo

wa-

wanga

we

wake

wetu

wenu

wawo

mu-

anga

we

ake

etu

enu

awo

mi-

anga

we

ake

etu

enu

awo

ldi-

ldanga

ldwe

ldake

ldetu

ldenu

ldawo

ma-

anga

ngwe

ake

etu

enu

awo

shi-

shanga

tjwe

shake

shetu

shenu

shawo

zi-

zanga

zwe

zake

zetu

zenu

zawo

i(n)-

anga

aywe

ake

etu

enu

awo

zi(n)-

zanga

zwe

zake

zetu

zenu

zawo

ru-

rwanga

rwe

rwake

rwetu

rwenu

rwawo

zi-

zanga

zwe

zake

zetu

zenu

zawo

wu-

wanga

we

wake

wetu

wenu

wawo

ka-

kanga

kwe

kake

ketu

kenu

kawo

tu-

twanga

twe

twake

twetu

twenu

twawo

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