Chichewa

Learn Chichewa Lesson 8: Questions

Lesson 8: Questions

Sentence Order

English makes it clear that you are asking a question by an inverted sentence order and a change of intonation. ‘You are a student.’ becomes Are you a student?’. Chichewa doesn’t usually change the sentence order when changing from a statement to a question. Questions are shown more by intonation (the rise and fall of tones) and ‘question words’ (like what, where, why, etc.).

Kodi

This word basically indicates that the sentence is a question. it is commonly put on the front of a question that doesn’t have another question word (who, what, where) in the sentence. It is also optionally added on questions that do have another question word in them.

VOCABULARY
English Chichewa
you are mu li
around po
I am ndi li
life moyo
it is u li
good bwino
Yes Eee / Inde

CONVERSATION 1

Kodi mulipo?

Are you around?

Eee, ndilipo.

Yes, I’m around.

CONVERSATION 2

Kodi can be at the end of the sentence instead of the beginning.

Moyo uli bwino kodi?

Is life good?

Inde, uli bwino.

Yes, it is good.

Chiyani (What)

‘Chiyani’ means ‘what?’. Make a habit of using it after the verb.

VOCABULARY
English Chichewa
he is a ku
make manga
you did mu na
eat dya
yesterday dzulo
I did Ndi na

CONVERSATION 1

(Kodi) akupanga chiyani?

What is he making?

Akupanga nsima.

He is making nsima.

CONVERSATION 2

(kodi) munadya chiyani dzulo?

What did you eat yesterday?

Ndinadya nsima dzulo.

I ate nsima yesterday.

Ndani (Who)

‘Chiyani’ means ‘who?’. It goes right after verb or comes before the verb.

VOCABULARY
English Chichewa
he / she did a na
come bwera
he / she is a ku
cook phika

CONVERSATION 1

(Kodi) anabwera ndani?

Who came?

Tom, anabwera.

Tom came.

CONVERSATION 2

(Kodi) ndani akuphika?

Who is cooking?

Joyce, akuphika.

Joyce is cooking.

Kuti (Where)

‘Kuti’ means ‘where?’. It usually goes right after verb.

VOCABULARY
English Chichewa
You do mu ma
stay khala
I do Ndi ma
in ku
you are mu ku
go pita
to ku

CONVERSATION 1

(kodi) mumakhala kuti?

Where do you stay?

Ndimakhala ku Lilongwe.

I stay in Lilongwe.

CONVERSATION 2

(Kodi) mukupita kuti?

Where are you going?

Ndikupita ku Blantyre.

I’m going to Blantyre.

Liti (When)

‘Liti’ means ‘when?’.

VOCABULARY
English Chichewa
you will mu dza
come bwera
tomorrow mawa
I will ndi dza
go pita
to ku

CONVERSATION 1

(Kodi) mudzabwera liti?

When will you come?

Ndidza bwera mawa.

I will come tomorrow.

CONVERSATION 2

(Kodi) mudzapita liti ku Mzuzu?

When will you go to Mzuzu?

Ndidzapita ku Mzuzu mawa.

I will go to Mzuzu tomorrow.

Bwanji (How)

‘Bwanji’ basically means ‘how?’. It useually goes right after verb.

VOCABULARY
English Chichewa
you are mu li
good bwino
you’ve mwa
buy gula
phone foni

CONVERSATION 1

Muli bwanji?

How are you?

Ndili bwino.

I’m good.

CONVERSATION 2

(Kodi) mwagula bwanji foni?

How much have you bought the phone?

10,000 kwacha

10,000 Malawi Kwacha.

Chifukwa chiyani (Why)

‘Chifukwa chiyani’ means ‘why?’. It usually comes before the verb.

VOCABULARY
English Chichewa
you are mu ku
cry lira
because chifuka
I’m ndi ku
to be sad khumudwa
not si
play sewera
football mpira
sick dwala

CONVERSATION 1

(Kodi) chifukwa chiyani mukulira?

Why are you crying?

Chifukwa, ndikukhumudwa .

Because, I’m sad.

CONVERSATION 2

(Kodi) chifukwa chiyani simusewera mpira?

Why don’t you play football?

Chifuka, ndikudwala.

Because, I’m sick.

Nthawi yanji (What time)

‘Nthawi yanji’ means ‘what time?’.

VOCABULARY
English Chichewa
you do mu ma
sleep gona
I do ndi ma
ten teni
o’clock koloko

CONVERSATION 1

(Kodi) mumagona nthawi yanji?

Why time do you sleep?

Ndimagona teni koloko.

I sleep ten o’clock.

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