From Linguifex
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Kola (Native: ጅቆለ /d͡ʒɨˈkʼolə/, Arabic script: جقوله, Ethiopicist Latin script: Jïqolä, Bantuist Latin script: Jïkolä) is a Bantu language spoken by the Kola people (ወቆለ wäqolä).

Created byShariifka
Native toEthiopia, Eritrea
This article contains IPA phonetic symbols. Without proper rendering support, you may see question marks, boxes, or other symbols instead of Unicode characters. For an introductory guide on IPA symbols, see Help:IPA.


Kola is a Bantu language spoken in northwestern Ethiopia and Eritrea.



Ge'ez abugida

IPA ə u i a e ɨ/- o ʷə ʷi ʷa ʷe ʷɨ/-
IPA ə u i a e ɨ/- o ʷə ʷi ʷa ʷe ʷɨ/-


1 The base forms for non-labialized guttural (uvular, pharyngeal, and glottal) consonants are not normally used, since they do not occur with the vowel /ə/ except in ideophones, interjections, and loanwords.

2 Gemination and tone are not normally indicated, and the vowel /ɨ/ is not distinguished from a null vowel. If absolutely necessary (e.g. in texts meant for learners/foreigners), gemination can be indicated with a overdot, stress with an underline, and unstressed /ɨ/ with an underdot.

Arabic abjad

Arabic script IPA Notes
Final Medial Initial Isolated
ـأ أ ʔ Here hamzah is shown on alif, but it may occur on wāw (ؤ), yā' (ئ), or by itself (ء).
ـب ـبـ بـ ب b
ـپ ـپـ پـ پ
ـڀ ـڀـ ڀـ ڀ
ـت ـتـ تـ ت
ـث ـثـ ثـ ث θ In Arabic loanwords. Often pronounced /s/ or /t/.
ـج ـجـ جـ ج d͡ʒ
ـچ ـچـ چـ چ ɡ
ـح ـحـ حـ ح ħ
ـخ ـخـ خـ خ χ
ـد د d
ـذ ذ ð In Arabic loanwords. Often pronounced /z/ or /d/.
ـر ر r
ـز ز z
ـژ ژ ʒ
ـس ـسـ سـ س s
ـش ـشـ شـ ش ʃ
ـص ـصـ صـ ص s In Arabic loanwords.
ـض ـضـ ضـ ض d In Arabic loanwords.
ـڞ ـڞـ ڞـ ڞ t͡sʼ
ـط ـطـ طـ ط
ـظ ـظـ ظـ ظ ð In Arabic loanwords. Often pronounced /z/ or /d/.
ـڟ ـڟـ ڟـ ڟ t͡ʃʼ
ـع ـعـ عـ ع ʕ
ـغ ـغـ غـ غ ʁ
ـف ـفـ فـ ف f
ـڤ ـڤـ ڤـ ڤ v
ـق ـقـ قـ ق
ـك ـكـ كـ ك
ـڭ ـڭـ ڭـ ڭ t͡ʃʰ
ـل ـلـ لـ ل l
ـم ـمـ مـ م m
ـن ـنـ نـ ن n
ـڹ ـڹـ ڹـ ڹ ŋ
ـݧ ـݧـ ݧـ ݧ ɲ
ـه ـهـ هـ ه h Used word-finally as an "empty" consonant for words ending in /ə/.
ـو و w
ـي ـيـ يـ ي j
Arabic script IPA Notes
ــَـ ə; a When occurring word-finally, is followed by ـهْ.
Represents /ə/ except after gutturals, where it is /a/.
ــُـ ɨ; u Normally used for rounded allophone of /ɨ/ before /w/ and after labialized consonants.
In Arabic loans and some common morphemes may represent /u/.
ــِـ ɨ; i Normally used for non-rounded allophones of /ɨ/.
In Arabic loans and some common morphemes may represent /i/.
ــَـا a
ــُـو u
ــِـي i
ــَـيْ e
ــَـوْ o
ــٰـ a Used in some common morphemes and a few Arabic loans.
ــًـا ən; an Occurs word-finally in some Arabic loans. Pronounced /an/ after gutturals and /ən/ otherwise.
ــْـ C Indicates a consonant not followed by a vowel.
ــّـ Indicates a geminate consonant. Also used on و and ي for /uwV/ & /ijV/ respectively.
آ ʔa Used in some Arabic loans instead of أَ.

Labialized consonants are represented as follows (/k/ is used as an example):

Arabic script كُوَ كُوِي كُوَا كُوَيْ كُ
IPA kʷə kʷi kʷa kʷe kʷɨ

Latin alphabet

There are two standardized Latin alphabets: a more common one based on the Semitic and Cushitic languages of Ethiopia ("Ethiopicist"), and a less common one based on other Bantu languages ("Bantuist"). The biggest difference between them is in the treatment of voiceless stops and affricates. In the Ethiopicist alphabet, the aspirated versions are treated as the unmarked forms and the ejective versions are treated as marked (as they are in Semitic and Cushitic languages). In the Bantuist alphabet, however, the ejectives are treated as unmarked and the aspirates as marked (as they are in Bantu languages). Since Kola is Bantu, the Bantuist alphabet more accurately represents the phonemes' status in the language; however, this article uses the more common Ethiopicist alphabet.

In both alphabets, clusters that can be confused with digraphs are separated with an apostrophe - e.g. s'h /sh/ vs sh /ʃ/. Labialization is indicated with a following w. Stress is not normally indicated in writing, but this article uses an acute accent.

Ethiopicist Bantuist IPA
A a A a a
Ä ä Ä ä ə
B b B b b
C c Ch ch t͡ʃʰ
Ch ch C c t͡ʃ’
D d D d d
E e E e e
F f F f f
G g G g ɡ
Gh gh Q q ʁ
H h H h h
Hh hh Xh xh ħ
I i I i i
Ï ï Ï ï ɨ
J j J j d͡ʒ
K k Kh kh
Kh kh X x χ
L l L l l
M m M m m
N n N n n
Ethiopicist Bantuist IPA
Ny ny Ny ny ɲ
Ng ng Ng ng ŋ
O o O o o
P p Ph ph
Ph ph P p p’
Q q K k k’
Qh qh Qh qh ʕ
R r R r r
S s S s s
Sh sh Sh sh ʃ
T t Th th
Th th T t t’
U u U u u
V v V v v
W w W w w
X x Ts ts t͡s’
Y y Y y j
Z z Z z z
Zh zh Zh zh ʒ


Consonant phonemes
Labial Coronal Palatal/
Velar/Uvular Pharyngeal Glottal
plain labialized plain labialized
Nasal m n ɲ ŋ ŋʷ
Stop ejective kʷʼ
aspirated kʷʰ ʔ
voiced b d ɡ ɡʷ
Affricate ejective t͡sʼ t͡ʃʼ
aspirated t͡ʃʰ
voiced d͡ʒ
Fricative voiceless f s ʃ χ χʷ ħ ħʷ h
voiced v z (ʒ)1 ʁ ʁʷ ʕ
Approximant l j w
Tap/Trill r


1 The distinction between /d͡ʒ/ and /ʒ/ has been lost in the standard language (except in a few loanwords), but is still present in some dialects.

2 "Guttural" refers to everything post-velar - i.e. uvular, pharyngeal, and glottal.

3 All consonants have labialized allophones before the rounded vowels /o/ and /u/. The distinction between plain and labialized velars/gutturals is neutralized in this position.


Vowel phonemes1
  Front Central2 Back
High i ɨ u
Mid3 e ə o
Low a


1 The vowels /ɨ, ə/ are considered "weak", and the rest are considered "strong". Strong vowels are slightly lengthened when accented in open syllables - e.g. ምጢ mïthí [mɪ̈tʼíˑ].

2 The central vowels /ɨ, ə, a/ are actually pronounced closer to [ɪ̈, ɜ ~ ɐ, ä] respectively. They have front allophones [ɪ, ɛ ~ æ, a] after palatal/postalveolar consonants and rounded allophones [ʊ̈, ɞ ~ ɞ̞, ɒ̈] after labialized consonants and adjacent to /w/.

3 The mid vowels /e, o/ are generally pronounced [e̞, o̞].

4 The weak vowel /ə/ becomes /a/ after guttural consonants, and the two vowels often alternate with each other when followed by a guttural consonant (especially if said guttural is followed by a central or null vowel).



Kola has a stress accent system. A word normally has one accented vowel (usually in one of the last three syllables), though some words may be unaccented. The accented vowel is generally pronounced with a higher pitch. Stress is not normally indicated in writing, but this article uses an acute accent.



The maximum allowed syllable structure is CRVC word-internally and CRVCC word-finally (C = consonant, R = glide/liquid, V = vowel). Labialized consonants cannot occur before. Consonant clusters with more than two consonants are broken up by inserting the epenthetic vowel /ɨ/. /ɨ/ is also added (in speech only) after a word-final consonant cluster when the following word begins in a vowel.

Not all clusters are allowed word-finally. The following are allowed:

  • Any geminate consonant (except uvular, pharyngeal, and glottal consonants, which cannot geminate in any position)
  • Sonorant + non-glottal obstruent - e.g. /nt, mpʼ, lf, rg/
  • Velar/guttural or labial obstruent + coronal obstruent or /ʃ/ - e.g. /bd, kʼt, ħʃ, ʔs/ (some speakers may separate these with /ɨ/)
  • Fricative + stop - e.g. /st, ftʼ, ʃkʼ/

Any other word-final cluster is broken with /ɨ/. Alternatively, a word-final /i/ may be added, especially in loanwords - e.g. ዓቅሊ qháqli /ˈʕakʼli/ "reason, common sense" (from Arabic عقل /ʕaql/). Many loanwords ending in two consonants add an -i even when not the cluster does not violate phonotactics - e.g. ከልቢ kä́lbi "dog" (from Arabic كلب /kalb/).

Word-initially, a non-glottal stop can cluster with r, a non-glottal and non-coronal stop can cluster with l, and a non-guttural obstruent or nasal can cluster with y or w. Still, these clusters may be separated with /ɨ/ in careful speech.

Within a word, most two-consonant clusters are allowed (in theory). Some clusters do not occur due to coalescence (e.g. l + rrr; t + ddd) Guttural consonants do not normally cluster with each other, except in some loanwords (where they often fuse anyway) - e.g. ማዕሃድ máqh'had /ˈmaʕhad/ "institute" (also ማሓድ máhhad /ˈmaħad/).

Three-consonant clusters are allowed word-medially if they fulfill one of the following conditions:

  • The first two can cluster in word-final position and the last two can cluster in word-initial position - e.g. ጅንግሊዚ Jïn'glízi /d͡ʒɨŋˈɡlizi/ "English (language)".
  • Cluster allowed in word-final position preceded or followed by a glide.
  • Sonorant + homorganic obstruent + non-homorganic obstruent - e.g. /mpt, ŋks, nt͡ʃk/

All three-consonant clusters may be separated with /ɨ/ in careful speech.

Vowels cannot occur in hiatus. When this would happen, they are separated with epenthetic consonants such as /j/, /w/, or /ʔ/.



The following changes occur at morpheme boundaries:

  • ï + w, y > u, i / _C / w or y is geminated
  • ä + w, y > o, e / _C / w or y is geminated (this rule is optional)
  • ï > Ø / C_C whenever possible
  • ï > Ø / _V, V_
  • u > w / K_V (i.e. labializes velars/gutturals)
  • u > Ø / C_V (otherwise)
  • i > Ø / C_V
  • ä/a + a, e, i, o, u > a, e, e, o, o
  • front/central vowel > Ø / e_
  • back/central vowel > Ø / o_
  • When a stressed vowel is lost due to sandhi, the absorbing/displacing vowel takes the stress.

Allophony and variation

  • When the vowel "ä" occurs after non-labialized guttural (uvular, pharyngeal, or glottal) consonants, it becomes "a". This can also occur optionally before gutturals, especially if the guttural is followed by a central or null vowel.
  • All consonants are labialized before the vowels o and u. The distinction between plain and labial velars/gutturals is lost in this circumstance.
  • Labiovelar consonants followed by ä or ï can be written and pronounced as their non-labialized counterparts followed by o or u respectively. The inverse is also true. Note that w has no non-labialized counterpart and therefore remains w regardless (but the vowel alternations still apply).
  • The vowels ä or ï can alternate with e or i respectively after palatal consonants.
  • Word-initial vowels are pronounced with a preceding glottal stop.

Consonant mutations


p’, pʰ > f

b, w > v

t’, tʰ, t͡s’ > s

d, l, r > z

t͡ʃ’, t͡ʃʰ > ʃ

(dialectal: d͡ʒ > ʒ)

k’, kʰ, g > χ, ħ, ʕ (dialectal: f, f, v)

ŋ > ʁ (dialectal: v)


p’, t’, t͡s’, t͡ʃ’, k(ʷ)’ > pʰ, tʰ, s, t͡ʃʰ, k(ʷ)ʰ

w, l, r, j, ŋ(ʷ) > b, d, d, d͡ʒ, g(ʷ)

χ(ʷ), ʁ, ʁʷ > ħ(ʷ), ʕ, w

Ø > ɲ / _V


ŋ, ʔ > j

k’, kʰ > t͡ʃ’, t͡ʃʰ

χ, ħ, h > ʃ

g > d͡ʒ

ʁ, ʕ > d͡ʒ (dialectal: ʒ)


ŋ, k’, kʰ, g, χ, ħ, ʁ > ŋʷ, kʷ’, kʷʰ, gʷ, χʷ, ħʷ, ʁʷ

ʔ, ʕ > w

Historical phonology

Grand master plan

(Proto-Bantu reconstruction taken from Wikipedia.[1] To avoid confusion, Proto-Bantu *j is written ɟ)

ɟ > Ø / V_a, ɲ_a

ɟ > Ø / (ɪ/i)_(ɪ/i) - for class 5/6 nouns, the *ɟ is also dropped from the plural by analogy

b, d, ɟ, g > _ / sporadic (mostly in common words)

Meinhof's Law: NCVVN(C)V > NNVN(C)V (where CV = voiced consonant)

p, b > p͡f, b͡v / _i, _u

t, d > t͡s, d͡z / _i, _u

velar > palatal / before front vowel

c, ɟ > c͡ç, ɟ͡ʝ / _i, _u

k, g > k͡x, g͡ɣ / _u

{in some dialects: k͡x, g͡ɣ > k͡f, g͡v}

ɪ, ʊ > i, u

i, e, u, o > j, j, w, w (transfers high tone to following vowel) / _V

V́, VV > V: (VV = doubled vowel)

ie, ei > e:

uo, ou > o:

ai, ae, au, ao > e:, e:, o:, o:

b, d, ɟ, g > β̞, l, j, ɰ / not preceded by nasal

p͡f, b͡v > f, v / not preceded by nasal

t͡s, d͡z > s, z / not preceded by nasal

c͡ç, ɟ͡ʝ > ç, ʝ / not preceded by nasal

k͡x, g͡ɣ > x, ɣ / not preceded by nasal

{k͡f, g͡v > f, v / not preceded by nasal}

Dahl's Law: (N)CUVCU > (N)CVVCU / in roots (where CU = unvoiced consonant, CV = voiced consonant)

[-voiced +prenasalized +stop/affricate] > [-prenasalized +aspirated] (i.e. mp, nt, etc > pʰ, tʰ, etc for all voiceless stops and affricates)

[-voiced -aspirated +stop/affricate] > [+voiced] / in grammatical affixes

[-voiced -aspirated +stop/affricate] > [+ejective] / otherwise

[+voiced +prenasalized +stop/affricate] > [-prenasalized] / #_, V:_ (i.e. mb, nd, etc > b, d, etc)

[+voiced +prenasalized +stop/affricate] > [-prenasalized +geminate] / V_

NN > N / #_, V:_

c͡ç’, c͡çʰ, ɟ͡ʝ > t͡ʃ’, t͡ʃʰ, d͡ʒ

c’, cʰ, ɟ > t͡ʃ’, t͡ʃʰ, d͡ʒ

ç, ʝ > ʃ, ʒ

k͡xʰ, g͡ɣ > qʰ, ɢ

p͡fʰ, b͡v > f, v

{k͡fʰ, g͡v > f, v}

ɰ > ŋ / all environments / in grammatical prefixes and some roots

qʰ, ɢ > χ, ʁ

Kw > Kʷ (where K = kʼ, kʰ, ɡ, ŋ, χ, ʁ, x, ɣ)

Kʷ > K / _VKʷ, _VP (where P = labial consonant)

χ(ʷ), ʁ > ħ(ʷ), ʕ (not in all dialects)

ʁʷ > w (not in all dialects)

x(ʷ), ɣ(ʷ) > χ(ʷ), ʁ(ʷ)

{ʒ > d͡ʒ}

β̞ > w

ɰ > w / before rounded vowel

ɰ > j / otherwise

a > ə

e, o > ə / _

a:, e:, o: > a, e, o

i, u > ɨ (u sometimes labializes velar consonants, especially in grammatical prefixes)

i:, u: > i, u

wɨ, jɨ > u, i / C_C, C_#

wə, jə > o, e / C_C, C_#

ɨ > Ø / _#, VC_C (starting from beginning of word) / disallowed by phonotactics

j > Ø / C_V (not always)

w > Ø / C_V (not always)

(due to the above two changes, many stems beginning in semivowels drop them and become vowel-initial)

l > r / sporadic

χ, ħ > h / sporadic

ə > a / after non-labialized guttural consonant

Kola used to have a pitch accent system with two distinctive tones: high/rising (indicated with an acute accent) and low/falling (indicated with a grave accent). This distinction has been lost in most modern varieties. The general development of tone was as follows (after taking tone shifts due to vowel reduction into account):

  • á, áá, àá > á
  • à, àà, áà > à
  • ultimate or penultimate syllable of root accented; other tones dropped
  • distinction between tones lost

Dialectal features

Some dialectal features not present in the standard language:

  • Maintaining distinction between /ʒ/ and /d͡ʒ/.
  • Maintaining distinction between dental and alveolar stops, and between sibilant and non-sibilant alveolar fricatives. The alveolar stops/affricates (/t͇’ ~ t͡ɬ’, t͇ʰ ~ t͡ɬʰ, d͇ ~ d͡ɮ/) and non-sibilant alveolar fricatives (/θ͇ ~ ɬ, ð͇ ~ ɮ/) correspond to Proto-Bantu palatals before non-front vowels, which in the standard language merged with other palatals.

Below is a table showing how these sounds are represented in the different writing systems:

IPA t͇’ ~ t͡ɬ’ t͇ʰ ~ t͡ɬʰ d͇ ~ d͡ɮ θ͇ ~ ɬ ð͇ ~ ɮ
Arabic ۻ تٜ ڊ ݑ ذٜ
Latin (Ethiopicist) tl tlh dl sl zl
Latin (Bantuist) tlh tl
  • Maintaining tone distinction in stressed syllables. Depending on the dialect, there are three main tone systems:
    • 2-tone: High and low.
    • 3-tone: High, low, and falling.
    • 4-tone: High, low, rising, and falling.
  • Maintaining full tonality in all syllables.
  • Labialized/palatalized consonants where the standard has plain consonants.
  • Devoicing of voiced fricatives.
  • Reduction of guttural consonants in various ways. Some examples:
    • /ħ/ > /χ/ (actually a merger of earlier /χ/ & /x/)
    • /ħ/, /χ/ > /h/
    • /ħ/, /χ/ > /f/ (due to alternative pathway of spirantization)
    • /ʕ/, /ʁ/ > Ø
    • /ʕ/ > /ʁ/ (actually a merger of earlier /ɣ/ & /ʁ/)
    • /ʕ/, /ʁ/ > /ɰ/
    • /ʕ/, /ʁ/ > /ʔ/
    • /ʕ/, /ʁ/ > /ɦ/
    • /ʕ/, /ʁ/ > /v/ (due to alternative pathway of spirantization)
    • /ħ/, /χ/, /ʕ/, /ʁ/ > Ø



Noun classes

Kola preserves many of the Proto-Bantu noun classes.

Noun classes
Class Noun prefix Concord prefixes1 Typical meaning(s)2
pronominal extended
relative subject object adjective
1 mï-/ïm-3; - yï- ye- ya- ya- mï- mï- Humans*, kinship terms, personification*, animate*
2 wä- wä- wo- wa- wa- wä- Plural of class 1
3 mï-/ïm-3 wï- wo- wa- wu- mï- Plants (and derivatives)*, natural phenomena, non-paired body parts, various*
4 mï-/ïm-3 jï- jo- ja- ji- mï- Plural of class 3
5 zï-/ïz-3; - lï- lo- la- li- zï- Augmentatives*, amelioratives*, paired body parts, natural phenomena, expanses, individual things found in groups, various*
6 mä- yä- yo- ya- ya- mä- Plural of classes 5 & 14, mass nouns, collectives, collective actions
7 jï-/ïj-3 shï- sho- sha- shi- jï- Tools/artefacts, diminutives*, languages*, resemblance, amelioratives*, derogatives*, disabilities/diseases, various*
8 vï-/ïv-3 vï- vo- va- vi- vï- Plural of class 7
9 ⁿ-; -4 yï- yo- ya- yi- ⁿ- Animals, inanimate, loanwords*, various*
10 ⁿ-; -4 ĵï- ĵo- ĵa- ĵi- ⁿ- Plural of classes 9 & 11
11 lï-/ïl-3 lï- lo- lwa- lu- lï- Abstract, manner/way/culture*, localized mass nouns, long or broad objects
12 gä- gä- go- ga- ga- gä- Diminutives*, derogatives*, amelioratives*, various
13 dï-/ïd-3 dï- do- dwa- du- dï- Plural of class 12
14 wï-/ïw-3 wï- wo- wa- wu- wï- Abstract*, countries/lands*, location terms*
15 g(w/ï)-5/ïg(w)-3 g(w/ï)- go- gwa- gu- g(w/ï)- Infinitives & verbal nouns*
16 bä- bä- bo- ba- ba- bä- Specific/definite location*, "at/on/by"*, "from"*, "against"*, "to the detriment of"*, ablative*, instrumental*
17 g(w/ï)-/ïg(w)-3 g(w/ï)- go- gwa- gu- g(w/ï)- Nonspecific/approximate location*, direction/destination*, recepient*, "for/to"*, "to the benefit of"*, plural of class 16
18 mu- mu- mo- mwa- mu- mu- Internal location*, "in"*


1 Subject and object concords are used for the subject and object of a verb respectively, and adjective concords are used with adjectives. Most other words use pronominal concords. The extended pronominal concords are used to form pronouns (see pronouns) and with quantifiers - e.g. ዎቸ wócä "all (animate pl.)" (stem: -cä) . The relative concords are used for relativized verbs and possessives.

Using the full set of concord prefixes is considered formal and old-fashioned, and they are normally replaced with animacy-based concords. Words agreeing with animate nouns use classes 1/2, while those agreeing with inanimate nouns use classes 9/10 (used by this article), 5/6, or some combination (e.g. 9/6). When a modifier is used with a noun, the concord prefix may be omitted in colloquial contexts.

The locative classes (classes 16-18) most often behave as prepositions, with the prefix appearing at the beginning of the noun phrase. However, there are some nouns inherently in these classes; these behave as nouns in any other class - e.g. በት bä́tt "place", ግት gḯtt "places, general area" (plural of bä́tt), ሙት mútt "interior".

2 Productive meanings are marked with an asterisk.

3 Class prefixes of the form Cï- are metathesized to ïC- before stems beginning in C- (where C refers to the consonant in the prefix). Note that for the purposes of this metathesis, labialized velars are treated as their plain counterparts and vice versa - i.e. metathesis of the class 15 and 17 prefixes occurs whether the stem begins in g- or gw-, and in both cases the stem consonant merges with the stem-initial consonant. Note that the class 17 prefix does not metathesize when it is used as a preposition/case prefix.

4 ⁿ- = initial fortition

5 (w/ï) = -w- added before vowels

Additional notes:

Inanimate nouns (especially those whose plural form is identical to their singular) can form an alternative plural by adding the class 6 prefix mä- to either their singular or plural. Similarly, animate nouns (especially those not already in class 1) can add the class 2 prefix wä-.

e.g. class 3 ምጢ mïthí "tree" (stem: -thí) → class 4 ምጢ mïthí or class 6 መምጢ mämthí "trees"
class 5 ዚጨ zíchä "eye" (stem: -íchä) → class 6 ሜጨ méchä or መሜጨ mäméchä / መዚጨ mäzíchä "eyes"
class 5 ዝት zḯtt "giant; great person" (stem: -́tt) → class 6 መት mä́tt or class 2 ወመት wämä́tt / ወዝት wäzḯtt "giants; great people"

Younger speakers tend to add the prefixes to the noun's singular form, while older speakers add them to the plural forms or don't add them at all. In this article, the traditional plurals are used.

Diminutive and augmentative prefixes may be added before the prefix of the base noun or directly to the stem. Locative prefixes are always added to the beginning of the noun phrase before any other prefixes and/or modifiers.

e.g. gä- + zíchä → ጌጨ géchä or ገዚጨ gäzíchä "little eye"
bä- + zíchä → በዚጨ bäzíchä (NOT *ቤጨ béchä) "in (an) eye"
bä- + lä- "the" + inanimate concord + -ngólä "red" + zíchä → በለጎለ ዚጨ bälägólä zíchä "in the red eye"

Case marking

Case is marked on the full nominal phrase. Prefixes occur at the beginning of the phrase and suffixes occur at the end.

  • Absolutive: Unmarked. Used as the citation form, for nominal complements, for objects of adpositions, for the direct object of verbs, and for focused nominals.
  • Nominative: Marked with -ni. Used for the subject of verbs and the copula (even when dropped) except when focused.
  • Genitive: Formed with the possessive prefix a- (with the appropriate concord prefix).
  • Dative: Class 17 prefix (g(w/ï)-). Used for indirect object, destination, "to/for", "to the benefit of".
  • Ablative: Class 16 prefix (bä-). Used for source, "against", "to the detriment of".
  • Instrumental: Class 16 prefix (bä-). Used for instrument, means.
  • Locative: Class 16/17/18 prefix (bä-/g(w/ï)-/mu-). Used for location.
  • Comitative: Marked with nä-. Means "with" (not instrumental).


The definite article is ለ- lä- (invariant), which attaches to the beginning of the noun phrase, immediately after any locative prefixes or other prepositions - e.g. ለዚጨ läzíchä "the eye"; በለዚጨ bäläzíchä "in the eye".

Kola does not have an indefinite article, though the numeral ሙ "one" can be used.


Personal pronouns

In this table, only animate (class 1/2) and inanimate (class 9/10) third person pronouns are shown. Other classes form pronouns analogically from their respective extended pronominal prefixes (see noun classes).

When taking a prefix or suffix, the clitic pronoun forms are used. For example, possessive pronouns/adjectives are formed by prefixing the relativizing particle to the clitic pronouns. The absolute pronouns can be used more or less interchangeable with the corresponding referential demonstratives (formed by reduplicating the clitic pronouns; see demonstratives).

The impersonal can be used to form passives and pseudopassives - e.g. ቴደ téddä "one walks"; ቱልዪዙጘ tulyizúngä "one is cooking it; it is being cooked" (the latter meaning can also be expressed with the passive extension: ዪልዙጟ yilzúngwa "it is being cooked").

Kola personal pronouns
Person Independent Concord prefixes
absolute clitic extended
relative pronominal subject object
1S እሚ ïmí ሚ mí ኜ- nye- ኛ- nya- ኝ- nyï-
2S እዌ ïwé ዌ wé ዌ- we- ዋ- wa- ው- wï- ግ/ጕ- g(ï/w)-
3SA እዬ ïyé ዬ yé ዬ- ye- ያ- ya- ይ- yï- ያ- ya- ም- mï-
3SI እዮ ïyó ዮ yó ዮ- yo- ያ- ya- ይ- yï- ዪ- yi-
1P እሲ ïsí ሲ sí ዶ- do- ዳ- da- ዲ- di-
2P እኒ ïní ኒ ní ኖ- no- ና- na- ኒ- ni-
3PA እዎ ïwó ዎ wó ዎ- wo- ዋ- wa- ወ- wä- ዋ- wa-
3PI እጆ ïĵó ጆ ĵó ጆ- ĵo- ጃ- ĵa- ጅ- ĵï- ጂ- ĵi-
IMP እቶ ïtó ቶ tó ቶ- to- ቷ- twa- ት- tï- ቱ- tu-
REF እጦ ïthó ጦ thó ጦ- tho- ጧ- thwa- ጡ- thu- ጡ- thu-


There are three demonstratives in Kola: proximal, referential, and distal. Demonstratives can function as pronouns or adjectives.

  1. Proximal: -ኖ -́no (pronominal concord)
    • Used for things near the speaker ("this/these").
    • Can be used in contrast with the referential for something that were mentioned earlier ("the former").
  2. Referential: formed by reduplicating clitic pronoun (with stress on the first)
    • Used for things far from the speaker but near the listener ("that").
    • Also used for something that was mentioned earlier without reference to its distance.
    • Can be used in place of personal pronouns.
    • Used in contrast with the proximal for something that was mentioned later ("the latter").
  3. Distal: -ላ -́la (pronominal concord)
    • Used for things that are far from both the speaker and listener ("that over there").


  • The proximal and distal demonstratives can either take regular or extended pronominal concord prefixes. The extended prefixes provide extra emphasis.
  • The referential pronoun generally uses the non-reduplicated form (identical to the clitic pronoun) in the presence of a prefix.


  • Without concord prefixes:
    • : "what"
    • : "where", "which", "where from"
    • gwí: "around where", "where to"
    • : "who"
    • ቤማኛ bemánya: "when"
    • ግጂ gïjí: "why"
    • ደጂ däjí: "how"
  • With promnominal concord:
    • -ቃ -́qa: "which"
  • With adjectival concord:
    • -ልገ -lḯggä: "how much, how many"

Indefinite pronouns

The indefinite pronouns are identical to the corresponding nouns.

  • ምት mḯtt (pl.: ወት wä́tt): someone, anyone; person
  • ጅት jḯtt (pl.: ቭት vḯtt): something, anything; thing
  • በት bä́tt (pl.: ግት gḯtt): somewhere, anywhere; place, (plural) general area
  • ማኛ mánya (pl : ማኛ mánya): some time, any time; time


Adjectives agree with the noun they modify, taking the appropriate adjective concord prefixes (see noun classes). However, except in very formal language, the full set of prefixes is not used and is replaced with animacy concords. Adjectives modifying animate nouns use class 1/2 prefixes (for the singular/plural repectively), and those modifying inanimate nouns use class 9/10 or 5/6 or 9/6 prefixes (9/10 is the most common and is used by this article). In very informal language, the concord prefixes can be dropped entirely.

Adjectives precede the noun they modify. They can be used independently without a noun, in which case the concord prefix is obligatory and cannot be dropped.


In the below table, like the rest of this article, animacy concord is used (with 9/10 for inanimate). Class 7/8 forms are also given in order to demonstrate the effects of sandhi, particularly in the forms for "two". Note that 10 and higher numbers do not take concord prefixes.

Ordinal numbers are formed with the relativizing particle a- and therefore are technically possessives. For example, አቁም aqúm "tenth" literally means "of ten". አጓዘ agwázä "first" literally means "of the beginning" (from ጓዘ gwazä "beginning; to begin", stem: -azä).

Kola numbers
Cardinal Ordinal
Counting Adjective no prefix singular plural animate
stem animate (1/2) inanimate (9/10) 7/8
1 መሲ mä́si ሙ mú ምሙ mïmú ሙ mú ሽሙ shïmú አጓዘ agwázä ያጓዘ yagwázä ዋጓዘ wagwázä
2 ውሊ wḯli ውሊ wḯli ዎሊ/ወውሊ wóli/wä́wli ብሊ bḯli ቩሊ vúli አውሊ áwli ያውሊ yáwli ዋውሊ wáwli
3 ዳጥ dáth ዳጥ dáth ወዳጥ wädáth ዳጥ dáth ቭዳጥ vïdáth አዳጥ adáth ያዳጥ yadáth ዋዳጥ wadáth
4 ኔ né ኔ né ወኔ wäné ኔ né ቭኔ vïné አኔ ané ያኔ yané ዋኔ wané
5 ጫን chán ጫን chán ወጫን wächán ቻን cán ቭጫን vïchán አጫን achán ያጫን yachán ዋጫን wachán
6 ቃጘ qángä ቃጘ qángä ወቃጘ wäqángä ካጘ kángä ቭቃጘ vïqángä አቃጘ aqángä ያቃጘ yaqángä ዋቃጘ waqángä
7 ጦሎ thólo ጦሎ thólo ወጦሎ wäthólo ቶሎ tólo ቭጦሎ vïthólo አጦሎ athólo ያጦሎ yathólo ዋጦሎ wathólo
8 ናኔ náne ናኔ náne ወናኔ wänáne ናኔ náne ቭናኔ vïnáne አናኔ anáne ያናኔ yanáne ዋናኔ wanáne
9 ሰጛን sängán ሰጛን sängán ወሰጛን wäsängán ሰጛን sängán ቭሰጛን vïsängán አሰጛን asängán ያሰጛን yasängán ዋሰጛን wasängán
10 ቁም qúm ቁም qúm አቁም aqúm ያቁም yaqúm ዋቁም waqúm
11 ቁምነ መሲ qúmnä mä́si ቁምነ ሙ qúmnä mú ቁምነ ምሙ qúmnä mïmú ቁምነ ሙ qúmnä mú ቁምነ ሽሙ qúmnä shïmú አቁምነ ሙ aqúmnä mú ያቁምነ ሙ yaqúmnä mú ዋቁምነ ሙ waqúmnä mú


Structure: Pre-SM + SM + NEG2 + TA + OM + root + extension + FV + Post-FV

  • Pre-SM (pre-subject marker): see prefixes below.
  • SM (subject marker): subject concord prefixes - dropped in the imperative, obligatory otherwise.
  • NEG2 (secondary negation prefix): si-, used for infinitives and other derived nouns.
  • TA (tense/aspect marker): see prefixes below.
  • OM (object marker): object concord prefixes.
  • root: base form of verb.
  • extension: see verb extensions below.
  • FV (final vowel): indicates tense/aspect and mood. The default FV is unaccented -ä/a (see suffixes).
  • Post-FV (post-final vowel): includes negative suffix -m.

There are four classes of verbs based on conjugation (not counting derived verbs):

  1. Regular verbs: Present stem ends in unaccented (or -a after gutturals). The final vowel is dropped upon the addition of suffixes.
  2. Variable vowel stems: Includes many monosyllabic verbs whose present stems end in . These verbs change their final vowel upon the addition of suffixes.
  3. Invariable vowel stems: Present stem ends in an accented vowel or a vowel other than -ä/a (including some monosyllabic verbs in ). These verbs keep their stem-final vowel upon the addition of suffixes.
  4. Irregular verbs: Verbs that do not fit in any other class.

Non-finite forms

Nominalization prefixes occur at the beginning of the verb unit (in the pre-SM position).

Infinitive is a class 15 noun. It is formed by adding the class 15 prefix to the verb stem - e.g. ጔደ gwéddä "to walk" (root: -édd-), ግዙጘ zúngä "to cook (trs.)" (root: -zúng-).

Agent nouns are class 1/2. They are formed by adding the class 1/2 prefix to the verb stem. An older agent noun with a spirantized final consonant may also exist, often with a specialized meaning.

e.g. ሜደ méddä "walker; traveller; stranger" (pl: ዌደ wéddä); ሜዝ mézz "companion; traveller" (pl: ዌዝ wézz).

Negative and interrogative

Negation is accomplished with the circumfix ከ-ም kä-m in main clauses, the prefix ከ- kä- for subjunctive verbs, and the post-subject prefix -ሲ- -si- for relative verbs and derived nouns.

e.g. ኜደ nyéddä "I walk" → ከኜደም nyéddäm "I do not walk"
ከዌዴ weddé "do not walk", ያያሴዴ yayaséddä "who does not walk"
ግሴደ séddä "to not walk", ምሴደ séddä "one who does not walk"



Pre-SM prefixes occur at the beginning of the verb before the subject prefixes. They include:

  • nominalization prefixes (see non-finite forms above)
  • አ- -ä-: relativizer
  • ን- nï- (with subjunctive): "that" - e.g. ንኜዴ nïnyeddé "that I walk"
    • Can be used for necessative (must, should), often in combination with the applicative of the copula - e.g. ንኜዴ (ዪኝዋለ) nïnyeddé (yinywálä) "I must walk" (literally: "(there is on me) that I walk")
  • ን- nï- (with indicative): places focus on verb - e.g. ንኜዴ nïnyédde "I did walk" (i.e. "(it is true) that I walked")
  • ስ- sï-: negative counterpart of nï- - e.g. ስኜዴ sïnyeddé "that I do not walk", ስኜዴ (ዪኝዋለ) sïnyeddé (yinywálä) "I must not walk", ስኜዴ sïnyédde "I did not walk" (i.e. "(it is true) that I did not walk")
  • ከ- kä-: primary negation prefix
  • በ- bä-: "when, if; because"
  • ደ- dä-: "like, as if"
  • ግ/ጕ- g(w)ï-: "so that, in order that"
  • ሙ- mu-: "while" (functions as participle)

Tense/aspect prefixes occur between the subject and object concords (after the non-finite negation morpheme si-). They include:

  • -ገ- -gä-: itive - motion away from speaker/frame of reference, "go and -, go to -"
  • -ሜ- -me-: anterior - event that occurred before the frame of reference and has present relevance, "have -ed"
  • -ል- -lï-: progressive - "be -ing"
  • -ቩ- -vu-: habitual - event that occurs/occurred regularly
  • -ላ- -la-: future - event that will occur after frame of reference, "will, going to -"
  • -ሌ- -le- (with perfect): avertive - event that almost occurred, "almost -ed"
  • -ኡል- -ul-: frustrative - "fail to -; stop trying to -", event that occurred but without the intended outcome
  • -አል- -äl-: conative - "try to -, put effort to -"

Note: The suffixes for class 2 and class 3 verbs, when they differ from regular verbs, are shown in round and curly brackets respectively.

Perfect is formed with the ending -e (-íre) {-re}. Suffix-derived verbs may form it irregularly (see verb extensions).

e.g. ጔዴ gwédde "to have walked", ግዙጜ gïzúnge "to have cooked"

Subjunctive is formed with the ending {}. There is no perfect subjunctive.

e.g. በዬዴ bäyeddé "if he/she/it walks"

The singular imperative is formed with the ending {} in the absence of prefixes, and identically to the subjunctive in the presence of object prefixes. The plural imperative is formed with the ending -(ä)ní. In both the singular and plural, the second person subject prefix is dropped in the absence of object prefixes and maintained in their presence. Both singular and plural imperatives are replaced with the corresponding subjunctives when negated.

e.g. ኤዳ eddá "walk", ውዪድሌ wïyeddïlé "walk to it", ኤድኒ eddï "walk (pl.)", ኒዬድለኒ niyeddïlä "walk (pl.) to it"
ከዌዴ weddé "do not walk", ከውዬድሌ wyeddïlé "do not walk to it", ከኔዴ neddé "do not walk (pl.)", ከኒዬድሌ niyeddïlé "do not walk (pl.) to it"

Special imperative forms only exist in the second person; other persons use the subjunctive. In the second person, the subjunctive can be used to make a command softer.

Verb extensions


  • When verb extensions (other than the passive and intensive) are added, the verb always ends in the vowel in the present.
  • -S and -P represent spirantization and palatalization of the preceding consonant (if applicable) respectively. Recent loans might not be affected.

Passive is formed with the ending -́wa (-íwa) in the present and -́we (-íwe) in the perfect. With stems ending in a velar or guttural, labialize the final consonant and add -́a (present) / -́e (perfect).

e.g. ጔድሏ gweddḯlwa "to be walked to", ጔድልዌ gweddḯlwe "to have been walked to".
ግዙጟ gïzúngwa "to be cooked", ግዙⶕ gïzúngwe "to have been cooked".

Causative is formed with the suffix -SPísh- (-ísh-) {-́sh-}, which becomes -SPíz- (-íz-) {-́z-} before the perfect ending.

e.g. ጔዚሸ gwezzíshä "to cause to walk", ጔዚዜ gwezzíze "to have caused to walk".
ግዙጂሸ gïzujíshä "to make (someone) cook", ግዙጂዜ gïzujíze "to have made (someone) to cook".

Applicative is formed with the suffix -P(ï)l- (-íl-).

e.g. ጔድለ gwéddïlä "to walk to", ጔዲሌ gwéddïle "to have walked to".
ግዙይለ gïzúylä "to cook for", ግዙይሌ gïzúyle "to have cooked for".

Reciprocal is formed with the suffix -än- (-án-) {-n-}.

e.g. ጔድለነ gwéddïlänä "to walk to each other", ጔድለኔ gwéddïläne "to have walked to each other".
ግዙጘነ gïzúngänä "to cook each other", ግዙጘኔ gïzúngäne "to have cooked each other".

Extensive is formed with the suffix -äng- (-áng-) {-ng-}. It indicates a large quantity.

e.g. ጔደጘ gwéddängä "to walk a lot", ጔደጜ gwéddänge "to have walked a lot".
ግዙጘጘ gïzúngängä "to cook a large amount", ግዙጘጜ gïzúngänge "to have cooked a large amount".

Intensive is formed by reduplication (-V́C(C)- → -VCV́C(C)-; -CV́ → -CVCV́). The intensive indicates that an action is performed repeatedly and/or intensively. The intensive and extensive are very similar in meaning and are often more or less interchangeable.

e.g. ጔደደ gwedéddä "to walk all over the place", ጔደዴ gwedédde "to have walked all over the place".
ግዙጙጘ gïzungúngä "to cook intensively/repeatedly", ግዙጙⶕ gïzungúnge "to have cooked intensively/repeatedly".

Middle is formed with the suffix -(ï)g- (-úg-). It has various uses including: forming the anticausative of lexically causative verbs (e.g. ግዙጘ gïzúngä "to cook (trns.)" → ዪዙጝገ yizúnggä "it cooks (intr.)"); forming de-agentivized passives (e.g. ግጝለ gï̀nglä "to sell" → ዪጝልጌ yingï̀lge "it was sold"); and forming potentials (e.g. ግላ gïlá "to eat" → ዪሉገ yilúgä "it is edible"; ግላለ gïlálä "to sleep" → ዪላልገ yilálgä "it can be slept on").

Suffixes can be stacked. The general order is intensive-middle-causative-applicative-reciprocal-extensive-passive, but this may change depending on meaning.

e.g. ጔዴዚሽለነጟ gwedezzishlänä́ngwa "to extensively be made to walk repeatedly to each other".

Some important verbs

  • -ል -́l (class 4, highly defective): used only in affirmative present indicative, no final vowel, can be dropped when clear from context.
  • -ዋ -wá (class 3, defective): "to exist, be present, to be (locative, temporary), etc" - not used in perfect, used suppletively in negative and subjunctive for -́l.
  • -ቃ -qá (class 3): "to stay, to be (locative, permanent), to live (at), etc" - occurs in all tenses and moods, perfect is used suppletively for -́l and -wá.
"To have"
  • -ና -ná (class 3): "to have"



Focus particles

  • ን- nï- :
    • (with nominals): places focus on the nominal - e.g. ንሚ ኛዬዴ nïmí nyayédde. "It is I who walked." (compare: ሚኒ ኜዴ míni nyédde. "I walked.")
    • (with verbs in the indicative): places focus on the verb - e.g. ንኜዴ nïnyedde "I did walk" (i.e. "(it is true) that I walked")
    • (with verbs in the subjunctive): "that" - e.g. ንኜዴ nïnyeddé "that I walk". Can be used for necessative (must, should), often in combination with the applicative of the copula - e.g. ንኜዴ (ዪኝዋለ) nïnyeddé (yinywálä) "I must walk" (literally: "(there is on me) that I walk")
  • ስ- sï- : negative counterpart of nï-
    • (with nominals): negates and places focus on the nominal - e.g. ስሚ ኛዬዴ sïmí nyayédde. "It is not I who walked." (compare: ንሚ ኛያሴዴ nïmí nyayasédde. "It is I who did not walk."; ሚኒ ከኜዴም míni känyéddem. "I did not walk.")
    • (with verbs in the indicative): negates and places focus on the verb - e.g. ስኜዴ sïnyédde "I did not walk" (i.e. "(it is true) that I did not walk")
    • (with verbs in the subjunctive): "that not" - e.g. ስኜዴ sïnyeddé "that I do not walk". Can be used for negative necessative (must not, should not), often in combination with the applicative of the copula - e.g. ስኜዴ (ዪኝዋለ) sïnyeddé (yinywálä) "I must not walk" (literally: "(there is on me) that I do not walk")


  • -ነ -nä: "and" - joins components in a clause
  • na: "and" - joins clauses


  • Locative prefixes (with all their meanings)
  • Possessive prefix
  • ደ- dä-: "like; in the same way as"
  • ነ- nä-: "with"
  • Circumfixes formed from prefix + noun:
    • ግ- ሙት g(w/ï)- mútt: "into"
    • ግ- በዬ g(w/ï)- bäyé: "out of"
    • በ- ግት bä- gḯtt: "in the general area of"
    • በ- ገጢ bä- gäthí: "inside of; in the middle of; (with plural) between, among"
    • በ- ሙት bä- mútt: "inside of"
    • በ- በዬ bä- bäyé: "outside of"
    • በ- ማኛ bä- mánya: "when, at the time when"
    • በ- ግጊሰ bä- gïgísä: "because; because of"
    • በ- ኝማ bä- nyïmá: "before; behind"
    • በ- በል bä- bä́l: "after; in front of"


Constituent order


Noun phrase

Modifiers precede noun

Verb phrase


Adpositional phrase

Prepositions, postpositions, circumpositions.

Sentence phrase

Dependent clauses

Follow the same word order as main clauses (SOV, etc). Subordinating particles directly precede the verb, unless they are used for other functions (such as possession).

Relative clauses and possession

Relativizing particle: a- (combines with pronominal concord prefixes, sometimes irregularly - see noun classes and personal pronouns)

When used with a verb, the relativizing particle takes pronominal concord prefixes (with some irregularities) and precedes the subject concord prefix. The verb occurs in the indicative. When the subject is first/second person, either first/second or third person subject prefixes can be used - e.g. ኛኝልዪዙጘ ኘመ nyanyïlyizúngä nyämä or ኛያልዪዙጘ ኘመ nyayalyizúngä nyämä "meat that I cooked" (more literally, "that-I-cooked-it meat"). It is negated with the post-subject secondary negation morpheme -ሲ- -si-.

The relativizing particle is also used with nouns/pronouns for the possessive, in which case it attaches to the possessor. With possession, concord prefixes agree with the possessed. The concord prefix is generally dropped in the presence of a preposition.

Like most modifiers, relative clauses and possessors precede the noun they modify.


Time - ማኛ (mánya)

Seasons - ቫቀ (váqä)
English Kola Remarks
spring ጅሌሌ jïléle (7, pl.: ቭሌሌ vïléle) lesser rainy season
summer ጅቩለ jïvúlä (7, pl.: እቩለ ïvvúlä, 8) main rainy season
fall ጅኹጥ jïkhúth (7, pl.: ቭኹጥ vïkhúth, 8) lesser dry season
winter ጅቃለ jïqálä (7, pl.: ቭቃለ vïqálä, 8) main dry season


  1. The seasons in Kola do not exactly correspond to the seasons in English due to the tropical climate of the areas where Kola is spoken. In the above table, they were matched according to the time of year in which they occur.
Months - ሜዝ (méz)
English Kola
January ጃንዩዌሪ jan'yuwéri
February ፌብሩዌሪ februwéri
March ማርች márc
April ኤፕሪል épril
May ሜይ méy
June ጁን jún
July ጁላይ juláy
August ኦገስት ógäst
September ሴፕቴምበር septémbär
October ኦክቶበር októbär
November ኖቬምበር novémbär
December ዴሴምበር desémbär
Days of the week - ጃገጣለ መሹቅ (ĵagäthálä mäshúq)
English Kola
Sunday ገጣለሙ gäthalämú (12, pl.: ድጣለሙ dïthalamú, 13)
Monday ገጣለውሊ gäthalä́wli/ገጣሎሊ gäthalóli (12, pl.: ድጣለውሊ dïthalä́wli/ ድጣሎሊ dïthalóli, 13)
Tuesday ገጣለዳጥ gäthalädáth (12, pl.: ድጣለዳጥ dïthalädáth, 13)
Wednesday ገጣለኔ gäthaläné (12, pl.: ድጣለኔ dïthaläné, 13)
Thursday ገጣለጫን gäthalächán (12, pl.: ድጣለጫን dïthalächán, 13)
Friday ጁምዓ júmqha (7, pl.: ቩምዓ vúmqha, 8)
Saturday ገጣለጓዘ gäthalagwázä (12, pl.: ድጣለጓዘ dïthalagwázä, 13)
Parts of the day - ጃውሹቅ ቭጵድ (ĵawïshúq vïphḯdd)
English Kola
daytime ምጂች mïĵíc (3, pl.: ምጂች mïĵíc, 4)
dawn ምጬ mïché (3, pl.: ምጬ mïché)
morning ምጬለ mïchélä (3, pl.: ምጬለ mïchélä, 4)
noon ምጨና mïchäná (3, pl.: ምጨና mïchäná, 4)
afternoon በምጨና በል bämïchäná bä́l
evening ዙለ zúlä (5, pl.: ሞለ mólä, 6)
dusk ውዝቀ wḯzqä (14, pl.: መዝቀ mä́zqä, 6)
night ውሲቅ wïsíq (14, pl.: መሲቅ mäsíq, 6)
midnight ውሲቅጢ wïsíqthi (14, pl.: መሲቅጢ mäsíqthi, 6)
Units of time - ጃማኛ መመሲ ĵamánya mämä́si
English Kola
second ሴኮንድ sékond (9, pl.: ሴኮንድ sékond, 10)
minute ደቂቃ däqíqa (9, pl.: ደቂቃ däqíqa, 10)
hour ሳዓት saqhát (5, pl.: መሳዓት mäsaqhát, 6)
day ውሹቅ wïshúq (14, pl.: መሹቅ mäshúq, 6)
week ገጣለ gäthálä (12, pl.: ድጣለ dïthálä, 13)
month ሜዝ méz (3, pl.: ሜዝ méz, 4)
season ጃቀ jáqä (7, pl: ቫቀ váqä, 8)
year ማቀ máqä (3, pl.: ማቀ máqä, 4)
Time adverbs - ጃማኛ ተውሳከ-ግስ ĵamánya täwsákä-gïss
English Kola
now ኖማኛ nománya
then ጆማኛ jománya
recently, a short time ago
earlier በኝማ bänyïmá
soon, shortly
later በበል bäbä́l
always ማኛቸ mányacä
often ጂጂ ማኛ ĵíji mánya
sometimes ሙሙ ማኛ mumú mánya
never ስማኛ sïmánya
ever ማኛ mánya
still, yet
today ቸና cäná (9)
tonight ሌሎ lélo (5)
yesterday ዝሎ zïló (5, pl.: መሎ mäló, 6)
last night ዝሎ ውሲቅ zïló wïsíq
tomorrow (9, pl.: ቼ , 10)

Colours - መቀለም (mäqä́läm)

Colours - መቀለም (mäqä́läm)
English Kola
white ዌል wél (-ኤል -él)
grey ወላ wálä (-ኣለ -álä)
black ውፊፊ wïfífi (-ፊፊ -fífi)
red ውጞለ wïngólä (-ጞለ-ngólä)
orange ወቡርቱካን wäburtukán (-አቡርቱካን -äburtukán)
brown ወቡን wäbunn (-አቡን -äbunn)
yellow ውብጫ wḯbcha (-ብጫ -bḯcha)
green ዎጃን woján (-ኦጃን -oján)
blue ወዙል wäzúl (-አዙል -äzúl); ወሰማይ wäsämáy (-አሰማይ -äsämáy)
pink ወወርዲ wäwä́rdi (-አወርዲ -äwä́rdi)
purple ወወይን wäwä́yn (-አወይን -äwä́yn)
golden ወወርቂ wäwä́rqi (-አወርቂ -äwä́rqi)

Example texts

Universal Declaration of Human Rights (Article 1)

Ge'ez script: ወት ዎቸኒ በዋቫሏ ወናጻ ዋል ና በክብሪነ በሓቂ ዋልገነ። ሕልናነ ዓቅሊ በዋሜጂጳሏ፣ ባውልጙ መንፈስ ንዋጅለኔ ዪዋዋለ።

Phonetic Ge'ez script: ት፞ ቸኒ በዋሏ ወል ና በብሪነ በቂ ዋገ፞ነ። ል̣፞ናነ ቅሊ በዋሜጂሏ፣ ባውጙ መንስ ን̣ዋ̣ለ፞ ዪዋለ።

Vowelless Arabic script: .وت ووڭني بوڤالوا وناڞا ول نا بكبري نبحق ولچنه. حلنا نعقلي بوميجڀالوا، بولڹو منفس نوجلني يوواله

Vowelled Arabic script: .وَتّْ وَوْڭَنِي بَوٰڤَالُوَا وَنَاڞَا وٰلْ نَا بَكِبْرِي نَبَحَقِّ وَلِچَّنَهْ. حِلِّنَا نَعَقْلِي بَوٰمَيْجِڀَالُوَا، بٰوْلِڹُو مَنْفَسْ نُوٰجِلَّنَيْ يِوَوَالَهْ

Ethiopianist script: Wätt wocäni bäwavalwa wänaxa wal na bäkïbrinä bähhaqqi walïggänä. Hhïllïnanä qhaqli bäwamejiphalwa, bawlïngu mänfäs nïwajïlläne yiwawalä.

Bantuist script: Wätth wochäni bäwavalwa wänatsa wal na bäkhïbrinä bäxhakki walïggänä. Xhïllïnanä qhakli bäwamejipalwa, bawlïngu mänfäs nïwajïlläne yiwawalä.

This article's script: Wä́tt wócäni bäwaválwa wänáxa wál na bäkḯbrinä bähháqqi walḯggänä. Hhḯllïnanä qháqli bäwameĵiphálwa, bawlḯngu mänfä́s niwaĵïlläné yiwawálä.

IPA (phonemic): /ˈwətʰː ˈwot͡ʃʰəni bəwəˈvalʷa wəˈnat͡sʼa ˈwal na bəˈkʰɨbrinə bəˈħakʼːi waˈlɨgːənə || ˈħɨlːɨnanə ˈʕakʼli bəwaˌmed͡ʒiˈpʼaˑlʷa | bawˈlɨŋu mənˈfəs nɨwaˌd͡ʒɨlːəˈne jiwaˈwalə/

IPA (phonetic): [ˈwɞ̞tʰː ˈwo̞ˑt͡ʃʰæni bɞ̞wɒ̈ˈväˑlʷɒ̈ wɞ̞ˈnät͡sʼä ˈwɒ̈l nä bɐˈkʰɪ̈brinɐ bɐˈħäkʼːi wɒ̈ˈlɪ̈gːɐnɐ || ˈħɪ̈lːɪ̈nänɐ ˈʕäkʼli ˈkʷʰo̞ˑlɐ bɞ̞wɒ̈ˌme̞d͡ʒiˈpʼäˑlʷɒ̈ | bɒ̈wˈlɪ̈ŋʷu mɐɱˈfɐs nʊ̈wɒ̈ˌd͡ʒɪlːɐˈneˑ jiwɒ̈ˈwɒ̈ˑlɐ]

Gloss: C2.people AGR2-all-NOM when-SM2-give_birth-PASS-PRES AGR2-free SM2-be-PRES and C16-C9.dignity and C16-C10.rights SM2-be_equal-PRES. C9.conscience and C9.reason because-SM2-ANT-OM10-give-APP-PASS-PRES, with-POSS-C14.brotherhood C3.spirit that-SM2-OM10-act-APP-REC-SUBJ SM9-OM2-be-APP.PRES.

Literal translation: All people, when they are born, are free and are equal in dignity and rights. Because they have been given conscience and reason, there is on them that they act to each other in a spirit of brotherhood.

Other resources