Kirundi basic phrases

Basic vocabulary

  • Oya - no
  • Ego - yes
  • Ingo - come!
  • Cane - much, many, a lot, very (Ndashonje cane - I'm very hungry)
  • Gose (gose cane) - many, much (stronger than cane)
  • Buhorobuhoro/bukebuke - slowly
  • Mpore! - attention!
  • Bangwe! - stop!
  • Kira! - Bless you!
  • Kaze! - welcome! (often used "Karibu!" - swahili expression)
  • Amahera/amafranga - money
  • Sindabizi - I don't know
  • Ndibaza - maybe
  • Neza - good
  • Imodoka - a car

Greetings
  • Bwakeye / Mwaramutse - hello, good morning!
  • Mwiriwe - good afternoon/evening
  • Ijoro ryiza - good night
  • Turabonaye / Nakagaruka - see you later
  • N'agasaga - see you, good bye
  • Urakomeye? - how are you? (reply: ego/ndakomeye = I'm well)
  • Amakuru? - What's news?
  • Amahoro - peace, widely used as greetins (reply: n'amahoro)
  • Genda n'amahoro - go (be) in peace
  • Urugendo gwiza! - Have a good journey!

Expressing gratitude
  • Urakoze - thank you (addressing one person), murakoze (more than 1 person)
  • Urakoze cane - Thank you very much

Other useful expressions
  • canke - or
  • hehe? - where?
  • aha - here (Ni aha - It's here)
  • kuki? - why?
  • kuko - because
  • ninde? - who?
  • ryari? - when?
  • canecane - particularly, especially
  • ejo - tomorrow, yesterday (depends on the context)
  • vuba - soon
  • Amahera angahe? - How much does it cost?
  • Jewe nitwa - my name is
  • Ndashonje - I'm hungry
  • Ndanezerewe - I'm not happy
  • Ndihuta - I'm in hurry
  • Mfise itiro - I'm tired/I want to sleep
  • Ndarushe - I'm tired
  • Ndarwaye - I'm sick/ill
  • Nta mahera nsigaranye - I haven't got any money
  • Ntabara - Help!
  • Ndaje - I'm coming!
  • Ndashaka - I want/I would like
  • Mpa... - give me...
  • Urabesha, arabesha - you lie, he/she lies
  • Ikitabu - a book
  • Ishule - school
  • Isoko - market
  • Itabi - tobacco, cigarettes
  • Ingoma - a drum/a kingdom

Food
  • umukate - bread (Swahili)
  • muceri - rice
  • ibiraya - potatoes
  • amata - milk
  • amavuta - butter, cooking oil
  • inyama - meat
  • inkoko - chicken
  • amagi - eggs (sing. igi)
  • ivyema - peanuts
  • urubu - yoghurt
  • ubuki - honey
  • ifu - flour

Fruits
  • ivyamwa - fruits
  • igisaga - bananas (sweet)
  • inanasi - pineapple
  • umucungwa - orange
  • itunda (pl. amatunda) - "Japanese" fruit (fruit de Japon)
  • ivoka (pl. amavoka) - avocado

Vegetables
  • imboga - vegetables
  • ibitoke - bananas (plantains)
  • ibiharage - beans (sing. igiharage)
  • ishu - cabagge
  • umuhiti - cucumber
  • isarata - salad
  • inyanya/itomati - tomato


Drinks
  • amazi - water
  • inzoga – beer / used also for alcoholic drinks in general
  • ikawa – coffee
  • icayi – tea
  • fanta - all sorts of fizzy drinks (coke, fanta, sprite,..)
  • urwawa – banana wine
  • impeke – sorghum beer (home made)
  • kanyanga/rutuku – prohibited locally brewed spirit (made of manioc)
  • umunanasi/umuraha – pineapple spirit

Dishes, cuttlery
  • ikiyiko - spoon
  • imbugita - knife
  • ifurshet - fork
  • isahan - plate/dish
  • icupa - bottle
  • urupfunguruzo - bottle opener
  • ikirahuri - a glass

Animals
  • inka - cow
  • imfizi - bull
  • ishuri - young bull
  • impene - goat
  • intama - sheep
  • inkoko - hen, chicken
  • ingona - crocodile
  • imvubu - hippo
  • akayabo - cat
  • imbga - dog
  • inkende - monkey
  • isato - python

Persons
  • jewe - me
  • wewe - you
  • twebwe - we
  • izina (pl. amazina) - name
  • umuntu (abantu) - a person
  • umwana (abana) - child
  • umugore (abagore) - woman
  • umugabo (abagabo) - man
  • umuhungu (abahangu) - boy
  • umukobga (abakobga) - girl
  • umuzungu (agazungu) - white man (a European)
  • umuzungukazi - white woman
  • umwirabure - an African (a black person)
  • umwami (bami) - king
  • umugenzi (abagenzi ) - friend
  • umurimyi - a villager/a farmer
  • umutama - old man/wise man
  • umutamakazi - old/wise woman
  • umushingantahe - a notable
  • umwigisha - a teacher
  • umwigishwa - a pupil/a student
  • Imana - the God

Landscape & weather
  • ikiyaga - lake
  • umusozi (pl. imisozi) - mountain, hill
  • urizi (inzuzi) - river
  • ikibuye (ibibuye) - rock
  • ibarabara - path/road
  • izuba - Sun
  • ukwezi - Moon
  • imvura - rain
  • ikivura - storm

Numbers
  • igiharuro - number
  • isinzi - a big number (10 000 etc.)

1 - 10
  • 1 = rimwe kimwe umwe
  • 2 = kabiri - bibiri - babiri
  • 3 = gatatu - bitatu - batatu
  • 4 = kane - bine - bane
  • 5 = gatanu - bitanu - batanu
  • 6 = gatandatu
  • 7 = indwi
  • 8 = umunani
  • 9 = icenda
  • 10 = icumi

11 - 20
  • 11 = cumi nu rimwe
  • 12 = cumi nu kabiri
  • 13 = cumi nu gatatu
  • 14 = cumi nu kane
  • 15 = cumi nu gatanu
  • 16 = cumi nu gatandatu
  • 17 = cumi n'indwi
  • 18 = cumi n'umunani
  • 19 = cumi n'icenda
  • 20 = mirong'ibiri
  • 30 = mirong'itatu
  • 40 = mirong'ine
  • 50 = mirong'itanu
  • 60 = mirong'itandatu
  • 70 = mirong'indwi
  • 80 = mirong'umunani
  • 90 = mirong'icenda

100 - 900
  • 100 = ijana
  • 200 = amajana abiri (pl. "amajana")
  • 300 = amajana atatu
  • 400 = amajama ane
  • 500 = amajama atanu
  • 600 = amajama atandatu
  • 700 = amajama indwi
  • 800 = amajama umunani
  • 900 = amajama icenda

over 1000

  • 1000 = igihumbi
  • 100,000 = iraqi/ilaki


Days
  • kuwambere - Monday
  • kuwakabiri - Tuesday
  • kuwagatatu - Wednesday
  • kuwakane - Thursday
  • kuwagatanu - Friday
  • kuwagatandatu - Saturday
  • kuwamunga - Sunday (also used kuwa imana, i.e. God's day)

Time
  • umwaka (pl. imyaka) - year
  • uyu munsi - today
  • ejo - yesterday, tomorrow (depends on context)
  • ubu - now
  • ubunyene - right now
  • hanyuma - later, after
  • buhoro - slowly
  • vuba - soon (tuzobonana vuba - see you soon)
  • umusi, kumurango - day
  • mwijoro - night (Ijoro ryiza - good night)
  • munkoko - morning, dawn
  • umugoroba - evening (umugoroba mwiza = have a nice evening!)
  • igicu - midnight
  • isaha - hour, a watch


Sources & useful links

Posted by Eva