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Shona Noun Classes

Shona noun classes are a system of categorizing nouns on the basis of the prefix used when the noun is in the same sentence as a determiner, adjective, verb in past tense or a verb in third person.

For a native Shona speaker, in the Shona language, the pattern of noun classes is natural, in the same way a French speaker is accustomed to feminine and masculin nouns in the French language.

If you are a beginner or you have not been speaking Shona for a while, it is profitable to be aware of the correct prefix to use with determines.

Shona adjectives

When using adjectives in Shona, a sentence will take the form noun + -aka + adjective . On the dash is were the prefix in placed.

An example would be the sentence, "Girls are beautiful". In Shona this translates to "vasikana vaka naka". This sentence takes the form noun + -aka + adjective

'v' is the prefix for noun class 2, in which the noun vasikana belongs.

noun + -aka + adjective , this template will work for all the nouns when using adjectives.

Shona determiners

Shona English Example
-angu my Chingwa changu, ch from noun class 7
-ake his/hers zvake, zv from noun class 8
-ino this rino, r from noun class 5 or 21

You can use other prefixes from other noun classes.

Conclusion

The modifier prefix modifies the determiner, adjective infix, verb in past tense or a verb in third person.

Noun Class Noun prefix Noun example Modifying Prefix
1 mu musikana w-
1a tezvara v-
2 va vasikana v-
2a va vatezvara v-
2b amai v-
3 mu muti w-
4 mi miti y-
5 ri ruva r-
6 ma maruva -
7 chi chikoro ch-
8 zvi zvikoro zv-
9 i imba y-
10 dzi dzimba dz-
11 ru rubatsiro rw-
12 ka kakomana k-
13 tu tukomana tw-
14 u utunga hw-
15 ku kudya kw-
16 pa pamberi p-
17 ku kunhu kw-
17a ku mhiri kw-
18 mu mukati m-
19 svi svi sv-
21 zi zambanenje r-

Shona Word of the day

Kudzipwa neganda nyama iripo.

Shona Idiom